FULL LIST OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

Workforce development initiatives build the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that youth need to obtain and participate in productive work. Activities in this area strive to bring the private and public sector together to ensure that education improves both the workforce readiness and technical skills necessary for youth to participate in the world of work effectively.

Where are we now?

Workforce development as a field is hard to generalize due to its many different providers, approaches, and target populations, which range from universities educating highly-skilled medical personnel to community organizations providing basic literacy skills to out-of-school youth.  However, increasing global unemployment and events, such as the Arab Spring, have highlighted a common problem of these providers - their services have not kept pace with changes in the private sector, leading to widespread mismatches between skills available and those demanded. Practitioners are responding through a renewed emphasis on collaboration with the private sector to ensure that educational institutions and community organizations are providing demand-driven skills to students, while employers invest in improved on-the-job training to build the skills of new employees quickly and cost-effectively.

Trends and Best Practices

  • Private sector buy-in is critical in developing the programs that link young people to formal employment opportunities. When the private sector is an invested party with donors and social organizations, there is greater possibility for young people to access employment opportunities as they continuously develop their skills and knowledge.
  • Young people and their families are looking for programs that offer practical and hands on opportunities, such as apprenticeships with trade based companies or internships with companies or NGO's. Some programs offer voucher systems that cover the cost of the internships, which have been particularly successful for young women seeking employment in more conservative countries. Participation in workforce development programs often increases when these practical opportunities for relevant skills application are included.
  • Many vocational institutions are not best placed to develop the technical skills of young people given the high rate of change in technology and the challenges for these institutions to keep pace. The private sector, on the other hand, has to keep pace with the market to remain competitive and therefore offers an alternative housing of skills development offerings.
  • Historically, workforce development focused primarily on building technical skills required for a given trade. However, most programs now recognize the importance of incorporating work-readiness skills, including basic literacy, numeracy, and job conduct. If these skills are lacking, it will make their ability to function in the workplace and learn more specialized vocational skills very weak.
  • Creating employment opportunities is just as important as skills building and should encompass all types of employment – formal, informal, and self-employment. The latter two are particularly important for vulnerable populations, such as women and youth, who may be excluded from formal employment.

BLOG: Cities as Drivers of Economic Opportunity for Youth

Making Cents International

According to the recently released United Nations report (“World Urbanization Prospects”), more than half of humanity now lives in cities. Today, 54% of the world’s population, 3.9 billion people, resides in urban areas, compared to only 30% back in 1950. The report predicts that cities will add an additional 2.5 billion people by 2050, with nearly 90% of this increase happening in Asia and Africa.

BLOG: Workforce Development: A shift into high gear

RTI

This year’s Workforce Development Track of the Making Cents conference saw more than a tenfold increase in proposal submissions and will feature a record number of panelists across nine distinct workforce themed panels. The lineup of proposals and participants provides terrific insight into the range and diversity of workforce issues that the development community and countries at large are grappling with, including public private partnerships, work-based learning interventions, soft-skills measurement, technology applications, career development practices and mentorship programs.     

Roll Call: Getting Children into School

Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)

There has been a dramatic rise in the number of children enrolled in school. From 2000 to 2015, the portion of primary school age children (6–12 years old) enrolled in school worldwide rose from 83 to 91 percent. For those aged 12–16, enrollment rose from 55 to 65

Rising to the youth employment challenge: New evidence on key policy issues

International Labour Organization

Young women and men today face an ever more difficult task in finding their place in the world of work. In low- and middle-income countries, informal employment has come to dominate young people’s labour market experiences, while in high-income countries, work for youth increasingly means temporary and other non-standard forms of employment.

Positive Youth Development: What is it? And does it impact youth employability?

Results for Development

On Tuesdays, my colleagues and I take a break from assessing health and education challenges to strategize on the soccer field instead. We’re very good at strategizing, but we’re awful at scoring goals. Soccer, of course, is a sport that requires thoughtful strategy, but a game plan is not very useful without clear communication to execute it, the stamina to run across the field toward the goal, or the skills to kick the ball on target. If we’re going to score, win games and fulfill our goal of making the playoffs, we need that whole package.

Africa's Defining Challenge

UNDP

Africa has the youngest population in the world, and it’s growing fast. By 2055, the continent’s youth population (aged 15-24), is expected to be more than double the 2015 total of 226 million. Yet the continent remains stubbornly inhospitable – politically, economically, and socially – to young people. The success of African governments’ efforts to address this will be the single most important factor determining whether the continent prospers or suffers in the coming decades.

Gainful Employment Regulations Will Protect Students and Taxpayers. Don't Change Them.

Brookings Institute

In the past decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of American student-loan borrowers leaving college with high debt and low earnings. The resulting unsustainable debt burdens impose substantial costs on students and on federal taxpayers.

Future of Work Blog Series | To Lower Youth Unemployment, Play the Matchmaker

Emet Mohr, Chemonics International

Youth unemployment is a huge issue in the developing world. According to the International Labour Organization, 71 million youth were estimated to be unemployed in 2016 and 37 percent of working youth live in poverty, suggesting underemployment. Yet, this doesn’t necessarily mean that jobs don’t exist — often, a mismatch between the market’s labor needs and the skills of unemployed youth prevents young people from finding work.

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