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Job Skills and Minority Youth
New Program Directions


  • Date Published: November 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107075009

£ 69.99

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About the Authors
  • Minority youth unemployment is an enduring economic and social concern. This book evaluates two new initiatives for minority high school students that seek to cultivate marketable job skills. The first is an after-school program that provides experiences similar to apprenticeships, and the second emphasizes new approaches to improving job interview performance. The evaluation research has several distinct strengths. It involves a randomized controlled trial, uncommon in assessments of this issue and age group. Marketable job skills are assessed through a mock job interview developed for this research and administered by experienced human resource professionals. Mixed methods are utilized, with qualitative data shedding light on what actually happens inside the programs, and a developmental science approach situating the findings in terms of adolescent development. Beneficial for policy makers and practitioners as well as scholars, Job Skills and Minority Youth focuses on identifying the most promising tactics and addressing likely implementation issues.

    • Studies programs that are designed both for students who will go on to college and those who will not seek further education
    • Written in an extremely accessible style
    • Takes an interdisciplinary approach, making it relevant to a wide audience
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Clearly written and accessible to a wide audience, Job Skills and Minority Youth is an original and valuable contribution to two fields that are ordinarily separate: youth development and employment training. One of the most distinctive and promising aspects of the program described in this book is its enlistment of representatives from 'primary' labor market firms - HR officers - to aid in training and testing disadvantaged youth. This is a bridge few programs build. The 'backward mapping' scheme laid out by Hirsch serves as both a succinct summary of the logic of the program and a clear rationale for focusing efforts on what matters most in helping to open opportunities for young people from Chicago's poorest neighborhoods and for others from comparable communities.' Stephen F. Hamilton, Cornell University, New York

    'This book presents a brilliant evaluation of two programs that seek to increase minority youth employment. The integration of quantitative and qualitative analyses provides an exemplary model for mixed-methods research. The development of a mock job interview for high school students, administered by experienced human resource professionals, is especially innovative and of enormous, immediate use for practitioners … Practical implications are discussed extensively from an implementation perspective. This highly readable book is a major contribution to the literature on positive youth development and I recommend it with my highest and most unqualified enthusiasm. It advances theory-predicated applications of developmental science as no other book has done. It will be the standard against which future contributions will be measured.' Richard M. Lerner, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and Director, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University

    'This is amazing and important work and a very well written book. Hirsch deserves kudos from researchers, policy makers, practitioners, advocates and, in particular, young people … [He] zooms in on a pivotal and concrete step towards increasing youth employment: the job interview. The development of a mock job interview for teens allows everyone involved to focus on something concrete and relatively controllable. Hirsch works with professional HR interviewers to deconstruct their scoring criteria and actually do the mock interviews. He offers cogent and practical descriptions of what separates the best- and worst-hire sites, with special attention to the soft skills that are so important to the HR interviewers. He identifies the theories behind the two most successful approaches and recommends the approach that most youth development and youth employment practitioners can master. In short, Hirsch nailed it. Read the book. Take notes. Ask for the tools. This is really terrific work.' Karen Pittman, President and CEO, The Forum for Youth Investment

    'Every employer could benefit from reading this book. It helps business look at what high school students from economically challenged areas have to offer in the way of practical skills to perform jobs. It changes the way employers might develop programs for internships, summer jobs and full-time entry-level employment.' Cheryl Berrington, President, Berrington Group, Inc.

    'This book provides an exceedingly rich exemplar of applied social science research, invaluable guidance for the administrators of youth development and job training programs, and inspiration for education and labor force policy-makers.' Jeylan Mortimer, University of Minnesota

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107075009
    • length: 204 pages
    • dimensions: 237 x 160 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.46kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus. 6 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Preparing youth for work
    2. Do youth in After School Matters have more marketable job skills?
    3. A comparison of the strongest and the weakest apprenticeships
    4. Which apprenticeship has the best model for scaling up?
    5. What human resource interviewers told us about youth employability
    6. A program for teaching youth how to do well in job interviews
    7. Guidelines for the future
    Appendix 1: the impact of After School Matters on positive youth development, academics, and problem behavior
    Appendix 2: the Northwestern mock job interview.

  • Author

    Barton J. Hirsch, Northwestern University, Illinois
    Barton J. Hirsch is Professor of Human Development and Social Policy at Northwestern University, Illinois. He has written two previous books on youth programs, A Place to Call Home: After-School Programs for Urban Youth and After-School Centers and Youth Development: Case Studies of Success and Failure (with Nancy L. Deutsch and David L. DuBois), which both received the Social Policy Award for Best Authored Book from the Society for Research on Adolescence.

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