According to the recently released United Nations report (“World Urbanization Prospects”), more than half of humanity now lives in cities. Today, 54% of the world’s population, 3.9 billion people, resides in urban areas, compared to only 30% back in 1950. The report predicts that cities will add an additional 2.5 billion people by 2050, with nearly 90% of this increase happening in Asia and Africa.
This year’s Workforce Development Track of the Making Cents conference saw more than a tenfold increase in proposal submissions and will feature a record number of panelists across nine distinct workforce themed panels. The lineup of proposals and participants provides terrific insight into the range and diversity of workforce issues that the development community and countries at large are grappling with, including public private partnerships, work-based learning interventions, soft-skills measurement, technology applications, career development practices and mentorship programs.
Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
President Obama’s Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) empowers entrepreneurs and innovative civil society leaders to strengthen their capacity to launch and advance their entrepreneurial ideas and effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities. In fall 2016, 250 YLAI Professional Fellows from Latin America and the Caribbean will expand their leadership and entrepreneurial experience through fellowships at businesses and civil society organizations across the U.S.
First person accounts of “lived experience” have the power to change global narratives and effect real change, as seen in movements as diverse as marriage equality, Black Lives Matter, eliminating extreme poverty, fighting climate change, and promoting girls education. Would better first person accounts counter unfair youth development narratives? i.e. Blame youth, fear youth, give up on youth…
Germany boasts a highly skilled industrial labor force, thanks in large part to a system of vocational training that the U.S. abandoned. The dual education system also contributes to the low levels of youth unemployment in Germany relative to other advanced economies. And while it’s hardly the only factor, the combination of vocational education and apprenticeships ensures the country a steady supply of superbly trained workers—which is one reason why German industries have dominated the development of the Chinese infrastructure, for instance.
Today more than 3.5 billion of the world’s population are under the age of 30. The sustainable development goals (SDGs) came into force on 1 January 2016, giving us the biggest opportunity yet to improve living conditions for the next generation. But if we don’t harness the incredible power and agency of young people now, we risk missing these targets. The events of 2015 teach us that to achieve these goals, there needs to be a clear space for child and youth development – supporting young people and their organizations and enabling them to play an active role in their communities.
Scaling what works—taking effective solutions to social problems to a scale that truly transforms society—has become a powerful catchphrase in the nonprofit world, and for good reason: It is our best chance for far-reaching change in international development and the social impact sector more broadly. A lot has been written about the big questions surrounding scale: What does it mean to create transformative scale? How do we do it, and when? Which programs are worth scaling in the first place?
A young person’s first job is a critical developmental step toward adulthood. A first job provides an opportunity for youth to engage with the financial system and also infuses earnings into the local economy. In cities across the nation, youth employment programs are the single most significant way that hundreds of thousands of teens are introduced to the working world each year. With municipal ingenuity as well as private sector and philanthropic support, some city leaders and partners have developed innovative, locally-financed summer employment programs in recent years. Related year-round programs complement summer efforts, typically for smaller numbers of youth.
Positive Youth Development (PYD) is recognized as a paradigm shift for international programs. This approach pivots youth programs fixated on “No”—don’t leave school, don’t have risky sex, don’t join a criminal gang—toward activities that strengthen youth competencies and assets and support positive life choices. Important components of these affirming youth programs are a strong sense of belonging for youth and supportive relationships with peers and adults in their communities.
Oil and water? Seemingly, that’s how youth and agriculture programs have evolved—as separate entities that resist being mixed together. The resistance comes from both sides. Traditional agricultural programs often focus on adults, throwing in youth targets only if required. And traditional youth programs often shy away from agricultural livelihoods, which are seen as holding no appeal for young people. Instead of oil and water, Making Cents likens youth and agriculture programs to oil and vinegar. These mix remarkably well in the right combination, creating a new and unique product and nourishing results.