Latin America has the world’s biggest skills gap. Apprenticeships could close it

World Economic Forum

Latin America holds a promising richness: youth. A quarter of its 163 million people are aged between 15 and 20. With such a huge working age population, Latin America has a massive demographic bonus, especially in comparison to ageing Europe and Asian countries such as Japan. The challenge is to transform the concept of “working age population” into “talent” and “human capital”. That’s not yet happening. On the contrary, about a fifth of Latin America’s young people – or nearly 30 million individuals – are “NEET”, either not employed or not engaged in education or training.

The Youth Employment Crisis- A Perspective from Mexico


Young people play a vital role in fostering global economic development.In the face of weak prospects for global economic growth, their involvement in the formal economy becomes increasingly relevant and urgent. In recent years, there has been much talk about the demographic dividend in most emerging economies and less-developed countries, a scenario where a larger proportion of the overall population is of working age. 

For At-Risk Salvadoran Youth, Marketable Skills and Jobs Are Lifelines

Creative Associates International

Ever Antonio Iraeta Cubias dreamed of becoming a chef and owning a successful restaurant. Like other youth living in the Salvadoran town of San Vicente, dreams more often stay in a young person’s head. Fortunately, his aunt heard about a vocational education program in San Vicente that included classes on cooking and running a small restaurant.

The Future of Work for Youth in Latin America

International Labour Organization
ILO (International Labour Organization) News talked to José Manuel Salazar, ILO Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, about opportunities and challenges waiting for young people in the world of work in the region.
How do you see the future of work?
When we talk about the future of work , a determining factor is demography and this tells us that the young population (15 to 29 years) in Latin America and the Caribbean has declined since the late 1990s. This reduction has become more pronounced since 2010. 

Can Arts-Based Interventions Enhance Labor Market Outcomes among Youth? Evidence from a Randomized Trial in Rio de Janeiro

RUHR Economic Papers

This paper provides findings of a small-scale, innovative labor training program that uses expressive arts and theatre as a pedagogical tool. The corresponding life skills training component is combined with a technical component teaching vocational skills. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to rigorously evaluate the effectiveness of a training program constructed around expressive arts.

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PROJECT: Nicaragua Technical Vocational Education and Training Strengthening for At-Risk Youth

Creative Associates International
Brief Background
Nicaraguan youth complete an average of six years of schooling. Along the Caribbean coast, youth average less than three years of schooling. This not only results in a youth population with low levels of productivity and high unemployment rates, but also constrains economic development.

Innovations in Youth Employment: Insights from the NEO Initiative

Apr 25, 2017 (All day)

Please save the date to attend a one-day event in Washington, D.C.

 "Innovations in youth employment: Insights from the NEO initiative” on April 25, 2017.

PROGRAM: Youth Champions Initiative, Jan 2017

Rise Up

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Public Health Institute have partnered to launch a second cohort of the Youth Champions Initiative – an exciting initiative to advance innovation and quality in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights globally. The Youth Champions Initiative (YCI) invests in visionary young champions who lead the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) movement now and for the next generation. Following a competitive selection process, YCI will select 18 visionary young people working in Packard Foundation priority geographies – India (BiharUttar Pradesh, New Delhi), Ethiopia (Oromiya and Addis Ababa), Pakistan (Karachi), and the United States (Louisiana and Mississippi).

REPORT: Bridging the Skills Gap: Insights from Employers, Educators, and Youth in Latin America & The Caribbean, October 2016

FHI 360, Results for Development (R4D)

Bridging the Skills Gap: Insights from Employers, Educators, and Youth in Latin America and the Caribbean presents the findings of a 10-month investigation of the secondary education school-to-work transition and trends in youth employability in Colombia, El Salvador, and the Dominican Republic. These three countries were selected to ensure representation of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. With support from the FHI Foundation, FHI 360 and Results for Development Institute (R4D) led this study to advance an understanding of the skills gap that prevents companies from finding qualified candidates to employ. 


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PRESENTATION: The Importance of the Process and the Context When Developing Young People's Soft Skills Evidence from Africa and Latin America, Sep 2016

Child Trends, nter-American Development Bank / Multilateral Investment Fund, The MasterCard Foundation

Case studies are an important method of applied and empirical research. They can provide a clear understanding of how a sequence of events happened, and help to untangle cause and effect. The MasterCard Foundation and the Inter-American Development Bank / Multilateral Investment Fund commissioned case studies to get an in-depth understanding of the process and contextual factors at play when implementing interventions aimed at strengthening soft skills for youth in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), respectively. The purpose of the session is to provide governments, foundations, donors, and private sector  concrete knowledge on what works and what doesn't work when supporting scale up of soft skills interventions.