Poverty Solutions pilot offers employment, life skills, mentorship to local youth

August 15, 2017

In “A job well done: Youth employment program offers mentors, life skills,” the University Record highlights Poverty Solutions’ Summer Youth Employment Program. The pilot program, launched this summer, is pairing more than three-dozen local youth--the majority of them from families with financial need--with faculty and staff across the University of Michigan. The goal: To offer work experience, mentorship, and life skills training.

“This program, in many ways, embodies everything that Poverty Solutions wants to do,” says Julia Weinert, assistant director of Poverty Solutions and a Ford School staff member. “We are conducting research on an important topic that has the potential to alleviate poverty or increase economic mobility. We’re engaging with the community, which is something that is also an important priority.”

The Summer Youth Employment Program is run by Poverty Solutions, a University of Michigan initiative directed by Luke Shaefer of the Ford School and School of Social Work. University partners include the Youth Policy Lab, directed by Susan Dynarski, Brian Jacob, and Robin Tepper Jacob; the Ginsberg Center; and the office of University Human Resources. Community partners include Washtenaw County government and Michigan Works! Southeast.

It is hoped that results from the pilot, which is expected to continue (and perhaps to expand) in the summer of 2018, will inform a best practices guide that other institutions can use to launch their own summer employment programs for students from economically disadvantaged families.

Poverty Solutions leverages the University of Michigan's intellectual assets and academic scope to inform and test innovative solutions for the prevention and alleviation of poverty. Poverty Solutions drives change by focusing on collaborative, action-based research partnerships with communities, policymakers, and stakeholders.