3.4.5 Life skills and vocational training appear to impact early pregnancy
Co-sponsored by the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, the Juventud y Empleo program addressed a key issue facing the Dominican Republic (as well as other countries): high levels of youth unemployment and early pregnancy. Specifically, 34 percent of youth, ages 18 to 29, are neither working nor studying and 70 percent of females, ages 15 to 19, have children. The youth unemployment rate is 2.3 times the rate of adult unemployment. Youth participants in the RCT were divided into treatment and control groups based on a lottery. They had to be between 16 and 29 years of age, with incomplete schooling and not enrolled in school, without an ID, and not currently working.
After an impact evaluation in 2004-2005 revealed little impact on employability (though some impact on the quality of jobs and earnings for those that found a job), the program was restructured to include more systematic soft skills training and more connection with the private sector. A second round of training began in 2008. About 18 to 24 months after graduation, evaluators looked at a random sample of 10,309 individuals and found the following:
- A positive impact on the quality of employment for men (18 percent national and 52 percent for Santo Domingo), which was likely due to the availability of quality employment in Santo Domingo
- Positive impact on monthly income
- Life skills enable young people, especially young girls, to plan and think about their future in a more serious manner, become more optimistic about their future, and realize the importance of making good decisions
- In contexts of high pregnancy, a focus on providing life skills and vocational training for young girls can have positive outcomes on pregnancy
See also “Integrate programs in order to improve girls’ economic capacity and their capacity to resist violence.”