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Abstract

Every summer, thousands of young people in Chicago participate in the city’s summer youth employment program, One Summer Chicago (OSC). Through this program, youth are matched with a paid summer experience where they develop key job readiness skills and explore various potential careers. The youth participating in this program are often minorities from low-income communities, with limited access to financial services that many of their more affluent peers have. For example, youth from these underserved communities rely on expensive services like check cashing that discourage savings, to gain access to their summer earnings. To combat the problems facing these unbanked youth, OSC can serve as a natural intervention point to help develop “financial capability” and provide access to safe and appropriate traditional financial resources. Most of the existing research on summer youth employment focuses on the impact of participation on crime rates, school performance, and long-term employment, but not financial capability. This paper examines the information and resources OSC provides to its participants to become more financially independent with a focus on savings, and suggests specific changes OSC can implement to make financial capability delivery more effective to its youth participants.

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