A summer work-study program and an evaluation of some of its effects upon socio-economically deprived paroled youth
Under a contract with the Office of Manpower Policy, Evaluation, and Research, United States Department of Labor, this study was undertaken to show that summer work experience of a responsible nature, individual educational tutoring, and personal guidance can change antisocial values held by socio-economically deprived youth on parole from a state training school, so the youth can stay in school, return to the classroom, or enter the labor market. The youngsters were referred by the Texas Youth Council and selected on the basis of economic need, amount of academic and cultural deprivation encountered, and degree of anti-social behavior. There were thirty-two subjects in the sample group, both males and females. They ranged in age from sixteen to nineteen years old. All had poor academic records. They came from families whose yearly income per person was less than $880. They had been sent to the state training school for offenses ranging from theft to assault to murder. The subjects worked as recreation aides in a federally funded program., known as 'Operation Champ'. Most were in charge of game development and leadership for a particular age group. They were paid $1.25 an hour for thirty-two hours of work each week. They were required to attend school for one-half day a week. The academic assignments were based on individual deficits and accomplishments. In addition to instruction, the subjects received counseling and guidance from their teacher-counselors and work supervisors. Eight youngsters failed to finish the full work-study phase of the program. A battery of tests were given at the beginning and the end of the program. The California Achievement Test was used to estimate the grade level at which each youth was functioning in order to outline an individual academic program. Another form was given at the end of the program but the scores were not considered valid enough to compare with the first tests results. The Survey of Interpersonal Values was given to determine what the subjects considered important and if their values were changed by the program. Both the boys and the girls scored highest in conformity. No significant difference was found between the means of the first test and the means of the second test for either the boys or the girls. Two months after the close of the program, the parole officers rated each subject who had completed the work-study phase. Twenty-two of the twenty-four were considered to have good progress in adjusting their attitude and behavior to conform with socially acceptable patterns. An investigation was made at the end of two months to determine whether the subjects were in school or in the labor market. Nineteen were able to return to school, begin further training, or enter the labor market full time. The project might be termed successful since no law violations were committed by any of the youth while in the program, and only one subject was returned to the state training school within two months. Another factor was that nineteen, or 82.5% of those who completed the project were able to return to school, begin further training, or enter the labor market.