Building a Future: Interim Impact Findings from the YouthBuild Evaluation

« Back to Publication Search Results
Release Date

Building a Future: Interim Impact Findings from the YouthBuild Evaluation

Download Report

Publication Info

Building a Future: Interim Impact Findings from the YouthBuild Evaluation

This report presents program implementation findings from the national evaluation of YouthBuild, a program providing a mix of academics, vocational training, leadership development, community service, and other activities to high school dropouts facing an array of challenges to educational and employment success. YouthBuild distinguishes itself from many other programs serving young people through the stipend it pays to participants and a culture that emphasizes youth development and leadership, capitalizing on participants' strengths and empowering participants to take responsibility for their lives. Primary funders of YouthBuild programs include the U.S. Department of Labor, the Corporation for National and Community Service, private foundations, and states and localities.

The evaluation was launched in 2010, and uses a random assignment design to examine the impacts of YouthBuild as implemented by 75 programs operating the program nationwide. For the evaluation, eligible applicants in the 75 sites were assigned at random either to a program group, which was eligible to participate in YouthBuild, or to a control group, which was not eligible to participate in YouthBuild. Both groups had access to all other services available in the community. Between August 2011 and January 2013, 3,929 young people were enrolled into the study. The evaluation is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, with initial support from the Corporation for National and Community Service. It is being conducted by MDRC and its partners, Social Policy Research Associates and Mathematica Policy Research, Incorporated.

The study's first report documented the implementation of programs participating in the evaluation. This report presents the effects of the YouthBuild program 12 and 30 months after young people applied to participate in YouthBuild. The findings show that participation in YouthBuild led to a number of positive effects on the participants, including a notable increase in the rate at which they earned alternative high school credentials and a small, positive effect on college enrollment, despite the fact that more than half of participating youth had completed 10th grade or less when enrolled into the evaluation. YouthBuild also led to a small, positive effect on wages and earnings.


Affiliation: MDRC, Social Policy Research Associates, Mathematica Policy Research, Incorporated.

Authors: Miller, Cynthia; Millenky, Megan; Schwartz, Lisa; Goble, Lisbeth; Stein, Jillian

Key Words: YouthBuild, youth, high school dropout, second chance program, youth leadership development, and randomized control trial of at-risk youth program, evaluation, impact findings, impact of youth program on employment and earnings.