1.4 Where Do We Go from Here?

The prior State of the Field’s workforce development chapter defined five key areas of focus that had emerged from Making Cents’ 2010 GYEOC discussions and from key thinkers and practitioners. These were: (1) tools for assessing labor market demand; (2) anticipating future skills needs; (3) connecting practice and policy to achieve greater scale; (4) getting the incentives right for public and private investment in workforce development; and (5) more effectively measuring impact. While significant progress was made in the first two areas, much work remains to consolidate and standardize the tools and methods for understanding the demand side of the labor market. Some progress is also apparent in stimulating greater private sector involvement in workforce development, and excellent practical examples of how to make the business case for employer involvement were also showcased at the 2011 GYEOC.

Yet, while the youth employment crisis has elevated youth employment and skills on the development agenda, neither analysis of the field as a whole, nor the program examples presented at the 2011 Conference demonstrate much progress in connecting policy and practice to achieve impact at scale or drastically improving impact measurements, both of which represent critical ongoing needs. Practitioners did articulate the strategies for enrolling governments in multi-stakeholder partnerships and touched upon the question of incentives, but not much was revealed regarding encouraging re-deployment of government resources to more effective workforce development.

At the same time, new technological developments and changes in multilateral institution policy and strategy, in addition to the high profile that youth skills and workforce development are currently assuming on the world stage promise to deliver exciting and unexpected opportunities for innovation and creativity in program design and implementation. This section outlines some of the key challenges and opportunities that will frame the context of workforce development innovation in the coming year(s).

Additional Resources

  • For additional information on workforce development, visit Making Cents’ 2010 State of the Field publication, pages 40-50.