Examining the Evidence in Youth Workforce Development – A State of the Field Report
This evaluation report was produced for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2013. The paper is based on a literature scan of 54 publicly available studies that were published between 2001 and 2012 on the topics of youth employment, workforce development, livelihoods development, school to-work transition, youth entrepreneurship, and micro-enterprise development. Information was also compiled from 10 interviews with key thought leaders in the field of youth workforce development, consultations with USAID staff experts, and a desk review of 23 major donor organizations that support the field. The majority of the studies in the literature review focus on workforce projects for out-of-school youth using non-formal education and training in youth workforce programs.
Evidence of the following outcomes from such programs were examined:
- earnings and benefits (overarching, end impact)
- employment (overarching, end impact)
- continued education (intermediate impact)
- behaviour (intermediate impact)
- attitudes (intermediate impact)
- skills and knowledge development (initial impact).
While the terms career guidance and career development were not used by the authors of the report, certain measurements/indicators of these outcomes in the report are also learning outcomes from career guidance and fit in the realm of career management skills. These include:
- More confidence in securing and applying skills to jobs
- Higher level of interest in entrepreneurship
- Life skills – defined here as social-emotional skills (empathy, perspective taking, self-control, coping, social problem solving, decision making, utilization of resources) and technical skills (computer literacy, money management).
- Employability skills (resume, interviewing).
The relevant program inputs and activities mentioned include:
- job skills training
- life skills training
- Employment services – These are ongoing job referral (i.e. “help desk”) services that bring employers and workers together through print and on-line job postings, job fairs, job shadowing, job placement, resume preparation, and coaching.
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