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

How Employers Can Lead on Youth Unemployment

Originally posted on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation blog. 

Employers need to improve their ability to measure, manage, and raise the skill level of their employees in order to remain competitive and achieve their business goals.

How can we fix ‘DIS’ system? Approaches to the Demand, Intermediation and Supply Nexus of Youth Employment Projects (Part 2)

Part 2: How to reach the masses: using mainstream media to inform young Albanians and their parents about the labour market

Introduction

The Training Game: Using Gamification to Train a New Generation

Our workforce is changing.

By 2020, 1 out of every 2 employees in the workforce will be a millennial. It is a generation that will have played over 10,000 hours on a gaming platform before 21 years of age. It is a generation that has grown up not only playing, but mastering the skill of gaming. From Pac-Man to Angry Birds, the generation entering our workforce has grown up in a make believe world that has changed the way that they engage and interact.

It is a fact that the face of our workforce is different. The question is how do companies adapt to this reality?

Training and Development at Both Ends of the Workforce Continuum: Opportunities and Recommended Actions

In the United States, the youth unemployment rate was more than 14% in July 2014, and has been in double-digits for the last 7 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014). During recessions and in weak job markets, youths are usually the first to be fired and the last to be hired. Subsequently, they tend to stay in school longer and experience a significant drop in labor force participation rate. Currently, these difficulties are likely to persist for youths aged 16 to 24 as they face increased competition from other age groups for the entry-level jobs they traditionally would fill.

Resource Type: 
Report

Unemployment Among Young Adults: Exploring Employer-Led Solutions

Younger workers consistently experience higher unemployment and less job stability than older workers. Yet the dramatic deterioration in employment outcomes among younger workers during and since the Great Recession creates new urgency about developing more effective bridges into full-time employment for young people, especially those with less than a bachelor’s degree.

Putting Youth Employment at the Heart of Growth

The demographic divide is stark: while industrial nations are aging, the face of the developing world is overwhelmingly young. In Africa for example, nearly 70% of the population is under the age of 30. Tapping the potential of this emerging generation is a critical challenge. According to the International Labour Organization, two-thirds of working-age youth in some developing countries are either unemployed or trapped in low-quality jobs. 

Resource Type: 
Report