Workforce Development

Overview

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.1
  • 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.

 

Workforce Development: Blogs

Kenya, U.S. Can Help Youth Get Jobs

Originally posted by The Rockefeller Foundation on July 25, 2015

When the African youth population doubles to 400 million, there will be more young people entering the workforce than there are jobs waiting for them.

In Kenya, up to 80% of their 2.5 million youth are unemployed, while youth unemployment in the U.S. is three times the jobless rate.

#YouthEO Twitter Chat: Scale in Practice

There are over 1.1 billion young people in the world who need to be able to find good jobs, start and grow businesses, gain access to appropriate financial services and overall, participate in the global economy.But how can development practitioners and private and public sector actors meet the growing demand for youth economic opportunity? 

Global Competence Amongst Youth is Critical to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals

To succeed in today’s global workforce, youth must have a wide variety of competencies, some of which are dependent on their career path.  In addition to functional job skills, which vary from position to position, there are, however, common competencies that all young people need to develop regardless of thei

July E-Bulletin: Smart Investments to Expand Youth Economic Opportunity

Making Cents International offers this newsletter for the donors, policy makers, corporations, researchers, implementers and youth leaders increasing the scale, sustainability and effectiveness of youth economic inclusion programming. 

Youth Entrepreneurship in Europe: Values, Attitudes, Policies

The level of youth unemployment remains very high in several EU Member States, and there is increased awareness of the economic and social consequences associated with long‑term disengagement from the labour market. In light of the high potential of entrepreneurs to create employment and sustainable growth, promoting youth entrepreneurship and making Europe more entrepreneur‑friendly has recently become a priority on the EU policy agenda.

Resource Type: 
Report

Youth at Work: Building Economic Opportunities for Young People in Africa

Generating viable employment for young people remains a serious global problem. This situation is particularly acute in Sub-Saharan Africa, where some 600 million people are currently under the age of 25. Many still do not have access to quality and reliable economic opportunities, either through self- or formal employment. The economic and social costs of this challenge are too high. It is time for the global youth jobs movement to take its work to a new level—a level that will create new economic opportunity for millions of young people.

Resource Type: 
Report