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Effective Programs

Researchers have identified common characteristics of effective programs for teens (Hall, Israel and Shortt, 2004):

  • Youth feel a sense of independence through participation in the program, including financial independence (wages or stipend).
  • Programs offer job skills, job preparation, job training, and actual employment opportunities.
  • Schools and principals are active partners.
  • Youth are supported as they work to navigate life after high school.
  • Youth voices are incorporated into decision making, and participants feel that the time they have dedicated counts.
  • Youth interact with peers and adults, including community and business leaders.
  • Youth are exposed to life outside of their immediate neighborhood.
  • Programs are flexible.


Hall, G., Israel, L., & Shortt, J. (2004). It’s about time! A look at out of school time for urban teens. Wellesley, MA: The National Institute on Out-of-School Time.


youth.gov Program Directory
The youth.gov Program Directory features evidence-based programs whose purpose is to prevent and/or reduce delinquency or other problem behaviors in young people.

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