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Original article
School-sponsored work programs: a first look at differences in work and injury outcomes of teens enrolled in school-to-work programs compared to other-working teens
  1. Kristina M Zierold1,
  2. Savi Appana2,
  3. Henry A Anderson3
  1. 1Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, School of Public Health and Information Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  2. 2Department of Biostatistics, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, USA
  3. 3Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Division of Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kristina M Zierold, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, School of Public Health and Information Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40202, USA; kmzier02{at}


Objectives To evaluate work experiences among teens enrolled in school-sponsored work (SSW) programs and compare the findings to other-working teens. This study, the first to assess work-related safety and health for teens in SSW programs, includes teens working one job and teens working multiple jobs.

Methods A survey was conducted among 6810 teens in school districts in five public health regions in Wisconsin. Information on demographics, work characteristics, injury and school performance was collected.

Results Of 3411 high school teens (14–18 years old) working during the school year, 461 were enrolled in SSW programs. SSW teens were more likely to hold multiple jobs, work over 40 h per week, and work 2 or more days per week before 8:00 h compared with other-working teens. SSW teens working only one job were no more likely to be injured than other-working teens. However, SSW teens working multiple jobs were significantly more likely to be severely injured compared to other-working teens (AOR 3.49; 95% CI 1.52 to 8.02).

Conclusions SSW programs were created to prepare youth for transition into the workforce after high school. This first study suggests that students in SSW programs working only one job are no more likely to be injured at work compared with other-working teens. However, being enrolled in SSW programs is not protective against work injury, which would have been expected based on the philosophy of these programs. Furthermore, when students work multiple jobs, those enrolled in SSW programs are more likely to be severely injured. Possible explanations are provided.

  • School work programs
  • injury
  • young workers
  • work and school
  • child labour
  • training and education

Statistics from


  • Funding The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided funding for this study.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of Louisville.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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