6.4 Multilateral Investment Fund

The September 2012 release of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF)’s new youth strategy, Give Youth a Chance: An Agenda for Action 2012, takes stock of the most important lessons learned in youth employment since 1993 and sets the MIF’s priorities for its next generation of youth workforce development projects in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region.

This strategy was informed by the analysis and recommendations presented in RTI International’s evaluation, Thematic Study of MIF Youth-related Projects in LAC. An important conclusion of what works with youth employment programs is a comprehensive model that combines technical and life skills training with internships and job placement services. Of the lessons learned, a number are worth highlighting: (1) define training goals early in project design and identify job pathways in traditional sectors that hire youth as well as growth-oriented industries; (2) conduct rigorous labor market assessments to identify labor market trends, composition of youth workforce, and skills in demand; (3) when possible, programs should offer skills certification of graduates by recognized certifying bodies; (4) life skills are key for building youth employability and are highly valued by employers; and (5) internship and job placement services are the critical link from training to employment.

Going forward, the MIF is interested in testing new models in workforce development including better understanding what works in competency-based standards and skills certification, innovations in labor market assessments, tailoring life skills training to specific job sectors, strengthening job placement and career counseling services, and building stronger employer relationships and private sector alliance strategies.