Lessons from a Job Guarantee

The Youth Incentive Entitlement Pilot Projects

| Judith M. Gueron

The Youth Incentive Entitlement Pilot Projects (YIEPP) was the nation’s largest demonstration to test the feasibility and effectiveness of a new approach to solving the employment problems of disadvantaged youths. Youth Entitlement was not “business as usual” for programs operating under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA), but a bold $240 million experiment in which 76,000 youths were employed in a research study to determine whether this new idea would correct what seemed an irreversible deterioration in the employment position of poor youths.

As described in the report, Youth Entitlement tested three major innovations. The test was a major challenge to the CETA prime sponsors charged with operating the program since it combined an early attempt to link schooling and work with the country’s first effort to deliver on a job guarantee, which also involved private sector cooperation.

Youth Entitlement was one of the four major programs initiated under the 1977 Youth Employment and Demonstration Projects Act (YEDPA). YEDPA had mixed goals: to learn about the long-term effectiveness of different approaches to reduce youths’ high unemployment rates and low labor force participation and to provide jobs directly in an immediate attack on the problem. It was the most research-oriented, the most experimental, and the most targeted of the four YEDPA efforts.