Video: Meeting Youth Where They Are
In a lightning talk at the Summit on Data-Smart Government, Alicia Roualt discussed the efforts of the Boston Metropolitan Area Planning Council’s (MAPC) Digital Services Team to improve the city’s process for offering summer employment to youths.
While summer employment has many positive long-term outcomes including a decrease in risky violent behavior and higher graduation rates, youth employment has been on a steady decline. Seeking to change this, Boston worked to change its process for recruiting and hiring the 3,000 kids the city employs each year.
The Digital Services team mapped the application and hiring process end-to-end, working with kids to develop a user-centered design. The outcome was the Youth Jobs Boston platform, an overhaul of the online hiring interface that allows youths to search for and request specific jobs and city staff to see interested candidates. Thanks to this system and a change from email to a text-message offer for employment, 56 percent more kids accepted offers for summer jobs.
Data-Smart City Solutions is working to catalyze adoption of data projects on the local government level by serving as a central resource for cities interested in this emerging field. We highlight best practices, top innovators, and promising case studies while also connecting leading industry, academic, and government officials. Our research focus is the intersection of government and data, ranging from open data and predictive analytics to civic engagement technology. We seek to promote the combination of integrated, cross-agency data with community data to better discover and preemptively address civic problems. This website and our broader work are housed at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School, the preeminent voice for innovation in government.