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.

Bringing It All Together: Coordinated, Scaled Solutions

Global Development Incubator, YouthBuild International, Aspen Institute for Community Solutions

In many countries across the globe youth unemployment remains at critical levels. While we see progress with a diverse array of programmatic innovations, most interventions are not unable to scale up quickly enough to support rapidly growing working age populations and/or help young people develop relevant skills fast enough to meet private sector demand.  How might collaborative, systems change strategies, supported by innovative finance, be deployed in key geographies to make a step-change in the scale and impact on youth unemployment and in a leaner, faster, and more coordinated way?

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Presentation

Are In-Demand Jobs in the Hospitality Sector, In-Demand for Opportunity Youth?

International Tourism Partnership, YouthBuild International, Marriott, Hyatt, Youth Career Initiative (YCI)

A familiar theme in a “changing world of work” is the fear of job loss to automation, matched by insufficient job creation to meet the demands of youth unemployment. Despite these fears, the hospitality industry continues to grow: Demand for workers, the large number of entry-level jobs, combined with low barriers to entry, transferable customer service skills, and a tendency to promote existing and long-term employees to management-level positions, make the hospitality sector ideal for workforce development efforts that target young people.

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Presentation

Sharing Results from USAID’s Youth Policy Implementation Assessment

USAID

It has been five years since USAID first launched its Youth in Development Policy.  To better understand how this policy has been operationalized, USAID’s Policy Office, in the Bureau for Policy, Planning and Learning, led an in-depth assessment that took stock of accomplishments, lessons learned, and emerging needs for future work in youth development.  In particular, the assessment contributes to understandings about changes that have since taken place since 2012 in youth programming, mainstreaming, and organizational support.  The research process included interviews with over 300 indivi

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Presentation

The Gig Economy: Challenges and Opportunities for Latin American Youth

IADB, Fundacion CAATEC, Freelancer.com

This session examined the opportunities and challenges for promoting Latin American youth participation in global online labor markets. It addressed key challenges such as identifying and developing skills that promote employability, as well as opportunities related to virtual labor migration and the mitigation of spatial mismatch between labor demand and supply.

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Presentation

Is It a Good Gig? How Digital Platforms Help Youth Thrive in the Gig Economy

Mercy Corps, Mryati, LinaGAS Inc., Youth Impact Labs, Jordan

In both Jordan and Kenya youth are increasingly propelled into the gig-economy, thereby effectively becoming micro-entrepreneurs. But being an entrepreneur in the gig-economy is no easy feat: it requires skills and knowledge that most youth do not possess.

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The Ideathon: How IRI Promotes Social Enterprise, Economic Opportunities and Youth-led Solutions to Local Governance Challenges

International Republican Institute, EMPRO

The International Republican Institute (IRI) launched its citizen security program in Panama in 2015. The program focused on supporting local governments to find new ways to engage youth from at-risk and low-income communities to help develop solutions to citizen security and local development challenges.

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Presentation

Developing Models of Youth Employment Pathways in a Fragile Environment: Case Study of the Niger Delta Region

Partnerships Initiative for the Niger Delta (PIND)

The Partnership Initiative for the Niger Delta (PIND) highlighted practical challenges in preparing youth for jobs in an oil-rich environment plagued by the wealth illusion and unrealistic expectations that most youth will find employment in the oil industry.

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Presentation

Early Childbirth: An Uncharted Barrier to Expanding Girls' Economic Pathways

MarketShare Associates, CARE USA, CARE Bangladesh

Early childbirth among married adolescent girls can be a key barrier to many economic development and youth empowerment programs reaching scale. Often, this issue is not considered in economic programming even though it is often a key constraint for girls and women in capitalizing on potential economic pathways. This presentation covers experiences on how to ensure early childbirth does not limit program success and how girls’ economic opportunities can be supported to reduce early childbirth.

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Presentation

Cognitive Behavioral Curriculum Prepares Youth for Second Chances: The Experience of “I am READY” with Central American Inmates and At-Risk Youth

Catholic Relief Services, YouthPathways Project

"I am READY" is a cognitive behavioral curriculum specifically designed for use with at-risk youth in employability programs, incorporating both content as well as instructional delivery.

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Presentation

Beyond Employer Engagement: How to Meaningfully Involve Industry in Identifying a Skills Mismatch and Aligning Curricula for Entry-level Positions

International Youth Foundation, Cisco Latin America, FedEx Express Mexico

The demand for workers in a changing world of work is continuously evolving. More than ever, schools and employment programs need to be able to detect skills needs from industry in an iterative fashion to ensure they are preparing young people for the jobs of today and the future. Businesses have an important role to play in this process and are often engaged through participation in advisory committees or offering internships/apprenticeships.

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Presentation

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