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Phalanx Family ServicesThese Chicago teenagers participated in the One Summer Plus jobs program. Policymakers have tried for decades to curb the amount of teen violence that plagues many U.S. The research, by Sara Heller of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), found that a summer jobs program significantly reduced violent crime by African-American teenagers for as long as a year after they stopped working and returned to school. The regular summer jobs program consists of working 25 hours a week for 8 weeks at a public sector job, such as being a camp counselor or tending a community garden. Illinois is facing the loss of 18,000 jobs for teenagers as a result of cuts in federal stimulus funds.
Teens hoping to land a job this summer should look early and be prepared to face competition.
Despite low teen employment rates, four teens from North Chicago said the Lake County Youth Employment Program has helped them land summer jobs.

This year, about 850 teens across the county applied for 215 positions, which Everett said are funded by the Lake County Board.
Such persistence, she says, suggests that the teenagers retained whatever it was they had learned.
But she suspects that both the job and the social-emotional learning somehow gave the teenagers the ability to deal with interpersonal conflicts without resorting to violence. Last summer, teens saw the worst summer employment market in decades and available positions went to older workers. Teens have to work harder to stand out and be more open to positions that may not be necessarily their first choice. The initiative helps local teens secure part-time, minimum-wage jobs at schools, libraries, park districts, municipal governments and community nonprofits.With the number of teen jobs offered in each community tied to poverty rates and high school populations, the Lake County Youth Employment Program is most active in Waukegan, North Chicago and Zion, program manager Jennifer Everett said.
But Heller wondered if giving the teens jobs could also lower sky-high crime rates among a group in which one in five has an arrest record and a similar proportion has been the victim of a crime.

The slow recovery and high unemployment rate has forced mature workers to work in entry-level positions, displacing teen workers. For instance, the City of Chicago will hire 4,000 teens less this summer, down from 18,000 to 14,000. An attitudinal survey of the teenagers could also shed light on the reasons for their altered behavior, he says. Times reported that dozens of Chicago teenagers on Monday told a small group of elected officials about their need for summer jobs to save for college, pay for food and, in some cases, avoid homelessness.

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