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

Taking Another Look at Youth and Migration

Originally posted by CSIS, December 18, 2014.

Cities as Drivers of Economic Opportunity for Youth: Three Critical Elements of Success

In collaboration and with the support of the Citi Foundation, Making Cents International brought together an expert stakeholder group to discuss challenges and opportunities at the nexus of urbanization and youth economic opportunity development.

Knowledge Management Platform for Increasing the Scale and Sustainability of Youth Economic Opportunity Programs

Meeting the needs of the global youth population requires evidence-based, scalable, and sustainable initiatives. In response, Making Cents International offers a demand-driven Knowledge Management (KM) platform that builds the capacity of positive youth development stakeholders worldwide to design, implement, and evaluate high-impact youth economic opportunity programs, policies, and partnerships.
 
Resource Type: 
Report

Policy in Focus: Youth and Employment in the BRICS

The issue is dedicated to the analysis of the usage of social programs to promote youth employment in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries. The 2014 BRICS Academic Forum officially transferred the responsibilities of host country, South Africa to Brazil, providing an impetus to understand how the BRICS countries have made use of their extensive expertise in social policies and programs to go beyond mitigation of crisis, towards the realization of young people’s ambitions.
 
Resource Type: 
Report

Job Creation and Local Economic Development

This publication highlights new evidence on policies to support job creation, bringing together the latest research on labour market, entrepreneurship and local economic development policy to help governments support job creation in the recovery. It  also includes  a set of country pages featuring, among other things, new data on skills supply and demand at the level of smaller OECD regions (TL3).

Resource Type: 
Book