Youth and women in the 21st century workforce: Technology may be key, but only a part of the answer

Digital Opportunity Trust

Blog #3 in a special series for the 2012 Youth Economic Opportunities Conference
September 11-13, 2012 | Washington, DC

Business Labs

Young Americas Business Trust

The concept of the Business Labs emerged from a Trinidadian project undertaken by the Organization of American States, the Ministry of Education in Trinidad and Tobago. The Minister of Education thought that the way in which schools utilize laboratories to provide practical experience in the areas of science, could be applied to business education, thus adding a new dimension to the current theoretical approach.

Video Interview with Nick Cain, Vittana, USA

Making Cents International

Nick Cain, International Partnerships Manager for Vittana, discusses the dual roles of Vittana as an engine for developing financial products (student loans), and as a person to person funder via its website, vittana.org. Specifics of how “risk-tolerant” capital provided by individual social investors around the world provide the capital Vittana’s microfinance partners need for making student-centered education loans in the developing world is outlined with examples from actual students.

Resource Type: 

El Salvador Access to Employment (ESEN) aka Joven360

Carana Corp

This project will bridge the gap between the country's labor supply and private sector demand. Through partnerships with public agencies, private businesses and organizations, the project will create alliances with key employers, training institutions, pivotal public agencies and NGOs to improve occupational training programs, establish consumer/employer-based employment information system and career counseling initiatives. Likely industries include aeronautics, energy, construction, software development, logistics, tourism and ICT.

11.4 Know Your Audience; Know They Might Surprise You

Knowing your audience is critical to all entertainment, social media, and social marketing campaigns. It is important to involve members of the audience (e.g., young people) in the process of designing the messages and delivery mechanisms since they are the real experts when it comes to knowing how to engage their peers. Mike Rios, Creative Director at 17 Triggers, emphasized at the 2011 GYEOC that it’s critical to know how to position an idea in order to make it appealing and achieve the behavior change you’re seeking.

11.3 Prepare to Interact

Social media demands interaction. The audience, especially young people who have come of age in a digital world, are accustomed to responding, discussing, commenting, and participating in whatever cause or organization you are promoting. This places the burden on those utilizing social media to entertain, engage and educate. It is important to tell a story in a compelling way. Box 11.3.1 features a social campaign that uses a variety of media, in-person activities, retail sales, and physical objects to engage and interact with their target audience.

11.2 Social Media Strategies Require a Long-Term Commitment to Building a Cohesive Identity and Interacting with the Audience

Utilizing social media may not be as easy as posting a Twitter feed after an event or developing a Facebook page for an organization. Social media requires a long-term commitment to developing an identity, communicating with an audience, and continuing a two-way conversation with them (see Box 11.2.1). Given the fast-paced nature of social media, the messaging has to be clear and concise.

10.4 Technology can Lead to Net Job Creation and Allow Young Entrepreneurs an Entry Point to the Business World

Intel has found that introducing youth to technology at the same time as showing how their newly acquired skills can be used in employment and entrepreneurship is an effective way to promote entry into the business world. For example, Intel® Learn Technology and Entrepreneurship is a thematic training course that introduces youth to technology skills by introducing concepts of entrepreneurship, then showing youth how the use of various technologies can help them develop their business idea and build a business plan.

10.3 Effective Expansion of Technology for YEO Promotion will Require Adult, as Well as Youth Buy-In for Success

Effective promotion of youth economic opportunities through technology will require buy-in from adults as well as young people. Adults need to realize two truths: young people can be qualified candidates for jobs, and technology can be an effective medium to recruit youth for these positions. Souktel has found that in many emerging markets, newspaper and social networks are still thought of as the only way to recruit for open positions—despite the fact that new technologies, like mobile phones, can be far more efficient tools for linking labor supply and demand.

10.1 Mobile Technology Improves Access to Financial, Employment and Entrepreneurial Services, Especially for Rural or Other Hard-to-Reach Populations

Internet access remains out of reach to millions of young people. Connectivity issues, energy challenges, high costs, and geographic or social isolation all prevent young people from accessing the Internet. Mobile phone ownership though has seen astronomical growth in the past six years. Seventy-six percent of the developing world now uses cell phones, and there are almost six billion mobile-cellular subscriptions around the world.78 Many people can now access banking, news, and market information through their phone.