October 2017 Feature Story Banyan Global

GCYE Featured Member October 2017

Let’s start with a success story – Do you have one you would like to share?

Eduin Banegas, youth leader and Empleando Futuros Life Skills Facilitator

Eduin Banegas is a youth leader and Empleando Futuros Life Skills Facilitator. Eduin lives in Villafranca, considered to be one of the most violent places in Tegucigalpa. 

Banyan Global is implementing the Honduras Workforce Development (WFD) Activity under USAID's YouthPower IDIQ contract. The project, Empleando Futuros, targets at-risk youth living in the Honduran municipalities most affected by violence and crime with the overarching goal of providing at-risk youth with realistic, sustainable opportunities for youth employment.

Eduin completed the one-week certification training for the Empleando Futuros Life Skills Facilitators. During the workshop, Eduin was chosen by his fellow facilitators as the top group leader because of his patience and teamwork. Marcial Garcia, Empleando Futuros Life Skills Specialist, commented, “Eduin is the type of youth that leads by example. He is dedicated to serving others and the type of leader that gives credit to his team instead of taking credit for himself.” 

Are you experiencing barriers in your implementation of workforce projects for youth?

Several barriers exist in WFD project implementation. It can be challenging to motivate youth to participate and follow through to the end. Workforce training requires time, hard work and dedication. Youth need to learn to believe in themselves and believe that their commitment to training will eventually pay off. Another barrier is the strong stigma associated with high-violence communities. Youth from these communities have experienced discrimination based on their community identity, which negatively impacts their motivation and outlook on the future. In Positive Youth Development (PYD) terms, it means that their Agency is near the bottom of the barrel. Youth also face limited mobility due to gang borders, which are both a physical and psychological barrier.

What are some of the best practices or key lessons learned you have developed as a result of these barriers?  

To address motivation, our team continually uses positive youth development messages. We also track and celebrate milestones within training to help youth see and celebrate their accomplishments. To address the stigma related to where one lives, we openly address the issue from the point of view of both youth and employers. We confront it with youth in an aspirational sense with the intention to overcome the stigma. With employers, we stress the importance of giving youth a chance. We remind employers that whenever they tell us about the characteristics of their best employees, they never mention where the employee comes from. We look for champions who can help us show others what is possible.

To address the gang border issue, Empleando Futuros is taking as much of the training to the community as possible.  Our life skills, basic labor competencies and cognitive behavioral therapy trainings take place within the high-violence communities led by facilitators and mentors from the same communities. 

How do you determine your target population?

Our target beneficiaries must be youth, ages 16-30, from the most violent communities in the five Honduran municipalities with the highest murder rates. These youth must have at least a primary school education but have completed no more than high school. Because males are more often the perpetrators and victims of crime in Honduras, Empleando Futuros has set a target with USAID to include between 60-65% males in the project. Furthermore, at least 30% of the 7,500 youth to be trained in our Result 1 must be Secondary Prevention youth.  Our Result 3 specifically targets youth from the same communities who have been in conflict with the law, such as former gang members. These youth must be tertiary prevention youth. 

Do you have any advocacy or communications platforms that highlight youth employment challenges? 

Check out our recent publications:

May 2017 Feature Story – Children International

GCYE Featured Member May 2017

What is Children International and how does the organization tackle the issue of youth employment?

Children International's Into Employment tourism training

Children International works with underprivileged children and youth in ten countries through support and services in health, education, youth empowerment and employability. Our Into Employment program combines life skills, job readiness skills and technical training with job placement assistance. Of particular note is our community center in the city of Copán Ruinas, Honduras. The nearby archeological ruins are a big tourist attraction that is complemented by hotels, restaurants and other services. Children International, in partnership with the Honduran and Swiss governments created a hospitality training facility at our community center in Copán Ruinas. Since 2012 over 230 youth have been trained for jobs in local hotels, restaurants and related businesses.

Through the same partnership in Copán Ruinas we created a small engine repair school to train local youth to repair motorcycles and other machines, opening opportunities for youth with different aptitudes.

Are you experiencing barriers in your implementation of workforce projects for youth (ages 15-35)?

Underprivileged youth face multiple barriers in completing their training and later landing a job. Our youth sometimes start school late due to poor access or lack of available space in the schools. The quality of instruction is often deficient and employers set increasingly high standards for a minimum level of education, even for entry-level jobs. Oftentimes, the demands of their households require them to stay in informal jobs with low pay, no social benefits or protections and no future. These young people in many cases also have to overcome the stigma associated with low-income neighborhoods and high crime rates.

What are some of the best practices or key lessons learned you have developed as a result of these barriers?  

In many cases a young person will need reinforcement in basic literacy and numeracy. Skills in basic computer operations are required for a lot of jobs and must be taught. Mostly, though, Children International as an organization works hard at building good relationships with local businesses, chambers of commerce and local government units. Raising our profile as a reliable partner in meeting human resource needs and reducing unemployment gives these young people a chance to at least compete for the jobs that offer some potential for them.

Mary is a recipient of training from Children International's Into Employment program

What has created your environment for successful implementation?

Program success largely results from paying consistent attention to program fundamentals. We conduct a rigorous selection process to ensure the youth are motivated and committed to completing the training and later entering the workforce. We involve the parents in the selection process as well as their support for their son or daughter is crucial. And we need to understand and align the interests of the business community with our training curriculum. This helps to ensure that the skills the youth acquire will be marketable.

What current tools or measures, if any, are you using to target youth in program implementation? How and where are these tools being used?

We select our trainees from the youth who have participated in other Children International programs. All of them are from low-income families and communities and we know them all from the above-mentioned programs.

Is this tool being used differently in developing vs developed countries?  

Children International’s employability programs operate only in developing countries.

Does your organization have an advocacy or communications platform that highlights youth unemployment challenges? (Please include links)

We highlight several of our youth and the challenges they have overcome on our website. Check out Melvin’s story of growing up in poverty in Honduras and how thanks to CI’s Into Employment program he is significantly increasing his family’s income as a barista. 

 

April 2017 Feature Story – Harambee

GCYE Featured Member April 2017

What is Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator and how does the organization tackle the issue of youth employment?

Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator is a South African non-profit organization that uses impact sourcing to connect employers looking for entry-level talent to young work-seekers who are struggling to find work. Only 5 years old, the organisation has made a massive impact on youth employment by placing more than 30,000 candidates with over 300 employers.

Our sourcing teams reach the youth by going into the communities to tell them about opportunities and show them how to register on our mobile site.

Are you experiencing barriers in your implementation of workforce projects for youth (ages 15-35)?

Employers are generally concerned about the risks of employing first-time workers. To reduce these risks, Harambee has developed a bespoke model that, on scale, sources, trains and places unemployed young people into first-time jobs. By working collaboratively with employers, Harambee has been able to change the mind-set of employers.

What are some of the best practices or key lessons learned you have developed as a result of these barriers?

Harambee scientifically matches candidates to suitable jobs by using a combination of psychometric, qualitative and learning potential assessments. To date the organization has conducted more than 1 million assessments, and this methodology has resulted in higher staff retention and ongoing success for candidates and employers.

What current tools or measures, if any, are you using to target youth in program implementation? How and where are these tools being used?

Candidates learning valuable computer skills at Harambee.

Harambee candidates who pass the initial phases enter into bridging programmes that are specifically targeted at demand led employment opportunities. The different bridges are based on employer requirements and are designed to provide candidates with the knowledge and skills required to perform the work that would be expected of them.

Harambee also provides work-seeker support in an effort to encourage and teach the skills required by a young person to look for work, prepare for an interview and essentially be able to self place.

 

Is this tool being used differently in developing vs developed countries?

The Harambee model is currently only being rolled out in South Africa.

Does your organization have an advocacy or communications platform that highlights youth unemployment challenges? (Please include links)

Harambee has a rapidly growing social media footprint. Our Facebook page - aimed at candidates - has over 300 000 followers, while our Twitter and LinkedIn profiles speak more to employers.

Do you have any recent publications or upcoming events you would like to have featured to other member organizations for calendar year 2017?

Keep an eye on Harambee’s social media platforms for upcoming events. Here’s a link to the Harambee overview video .

The Harambee YouTube channel houses numerous candidate success stories as well as employer and funder partnership videos.

Should you like us to send you further information on Harambee, please email marketing@harambee.co.za.

March 2017 Feature Story – MercyCorps

GCYE Featured Member March 2017

What is Mercy Corps and how does the organization tackle the issue of youth employment?

Gaza has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world at 60 percent. Even though the education system is pumping out university graduates, job opportunities are few and far between. Understanding that the job shortage is a significant constraint, Mercy Corps has sought creative solutions. Through a freelancing model (virtual consulting), we have helped young people overcome local labor market barriers by taking on short-term work opportunities around the world. From their laptops, young Gazans are taking on jobs such as designing logos and translating medical texts with clients from Sydney to Los Angeles to Dubai. They are doing so from their homes, co-working spaces and internet cafes. We are enabling youth to access work by facilitating linkages across borders.

Mercy Corps’ global youth employment programs are more than just training: We promote relevant, demand-driven skills and ensure linkages to safe, decent, and equitable work. Beyond focusing on basic supply and demand, we also address the enabling environment and the informal norms that influence young people’s participation in labor markets through a ‘Making Markets Work for Youth’ (M4Y) approach.

Mercy Corps sees youth as a strategic priority, rather than viewing them as a demographic challenge. We seek to change the narrative around youth and highlight the ways in which young people are driving their economies forward. Since 2010, Mercy Corps has worked with 3.5 million young people across 33 countries. We work across diverse contexts, in some of the most complex labor markets in the world including Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Gaza, and Iraq.

One cohort of 54 Gaza freelancers earned over $62,000 USD from more than 700 freelancing jobs over a six month period. More than 37% of the freelancers secured long-term jobs (contracts longer than one-month) and open-ended contracts.

Are you experiencing barriers in your implementation of workforce projects for youth (ages 15-35)?

Globally, one of the primary challenges we face in our employment programs is the availability of appropriate job opportunities for youth. We often find that the number of youth seeking employment far outweighs the number of existing available work positions in a given economy. We can’t link young people to jobs if those jobs don’t exist.

What are some of the best practices or key lessons learned you have developed as a result of these barriers?

Mercy Corps also focuses on demand-side interventions, particularly those that stimulate job creation. In addition to a supportive enabling environment, we believe that strengthening both the supply (skills building, etc.) and demand (SME strengthening, job creation, etc.) sides of labor markets is critical in ensuring positive employment outcomes.

What current tools or measures are you using to target youth in program implementation?

Mercy Corps’ youth-led labor market analysis process ensures that programs are demand-driven, enables young people to develop a firsthand understanding of the needs of local employers, and builds youth skills in interacting with the private sector. This process enables us to identify safe, decent, and equitable work opportunities by gender and age.

Is this tool being used differently in developing vs developed countries?

Yes, Mercy Corps’ youth-led labor market assessment process has been implemented in diverse contexts across the globe, from urban areas in Kenya to informal markets in Syria. The assessment tools are finalized by young people in each geography and are contextualized for each specific labor market.

Mercy Corps operates youth employment programs in fragile contexts and in some of the most complex labor markets in the world including South Sudan.

Does your organization have an advocacy or communications platform that highlights youth unemployment challenges? 

Mercy Corps facilitates an internal community of practice to ensure that our global teams have a platform to communicate, share, and learn from one another. Individual programs also manage open learning platforms, including the Promoting Sustainable Partnerships for Economic Transformation (PROSPECTS) program in Liberia.

Do you have any recent publications or upcoming events you would like to have featured to other member organizations for calendar year 2017?

Mercy Corps will be publishing an agency Youth in Agriculture strategy in Spring 2017 and will be hosting a series of webinars to share our approach. Additionally, the Youth Empowered for Success employment program in Africa will be launching a learning blog and digital platform in February 2017.

February 2017 Feature Story – BRAC

GCYE Featured Member February 2017

Each month, the Global Center for Youth Employment (GCYE) highlights the work of one of its members in tackling the issue of youth employment. This month, we have chosen BRAC as our featured member. BRAC was recently ranked the #1 NGO in the world for 2017 by NGO Advisor, an independent media organization that scores, ranks, and rates nonprofit organizations based on their impact, innovation, and sustainability. Below is a summary of an interview conducted with BRAC. The interview provides an overview of the organization and highlights some of their current workforce projects targeting youth.

What is BRAC and how does the organization tackle the issue of youth employment?

BRAC was founded in Bangladesh in 1972 and now reaches a majority of the country’s population with diverse anti-poverty programs. With two million young people entering the labor market every year in Bangladesh, most end up with irregular and low-paying informal jobs.

Through the Skills Training for Advancing Resources (STAR) program, which is in line with the National Skills Development Policy 2011, BRAC is providing Competency-Based Training (CBT) that follows the National Technical Vocational Qualification Framework (NTVQF) in the informal market. The STAR project offers a dual apprenticeship model that supports entrepreneurship development and provides on-the-job skills training to youth through apprenticeship in the informal market. Each learner is placed under a Master Crafts Person (MCP) (an experienced shop owner or worker within a particular trade) for six-months of hands-on training.

Additionally, the project provides classroom-based soft-skills training once a week. Training sessions focus on financial literacy, market assessment, basic communicative English, and other core skills. After the training, the project links participants with potential employers. For those interested in self-employment, BRAC offers information, guidance, and technical assistance.

Ten percent of STAR program participants are persons with disabilities (PWD). Inclusion of persons with disability at the work place is rare in Bangladesh. PWDs are selected for the STAR program and are provided specialized assistance needed to complete the training. For example, 17-year-old Shormila was given a hearing aid to enable her to complete a 6-month apprenticeship in tailoring.

Shormila, 17, lives in Dhaka, Bangladesh and will never forget the day that changed her life. “I was in the second grade when my teacher slapped me hard across my face.” Shormila developed a high fever the next day and became deaf. “My family knew there was treatment for me, but we didn’t have the money,” she said.

Are you experiencing barriers in your implementation of workforce projects for youth (ages 15-35)?

At the onset of the program we had a difficult time establishing consistency across the apprenticeship program. This was due to the varying relationships between the shop owners and their apprentices. In some cases, the shop owners did not understand the extent of their role as a mentor to the apprentices, while in others they expressed difficulty in building trust.

As noted above, we are also using a Competency-Based Training (CBT) that follows the National Technical Vocational Qualification Framework (NTVQF) to help our learners become certified in specific competencies and allow their skills to be more widely recognized. Unfortunately, many of our learners are still uncertified, due to an enormous backlog in the government certification process. We are working with the government to address this bottleneck, but the delay is frustrating for the learners.

What are some of the best practices or key lessons learned you have developed as a result of these barriers?

Early on in the program, we determined that it was not enough to place young people in the apprenticeships, because they were not gaining the soft skills they needed through the technical training. To address this, BRAC launched a soft skills development component. Today, the learners are trained through an apprenticeship model five days a week and spend one day a week at a BRAC training center, where they work on soft skills development.

We also realized that the MCPs themselves needed additional guidance on how to deliver the curriculum in their shops, and particularly in how to mentor the learners. Accordingly, we developed a tailored training program for the MCPs and coached them on the importance of mentorship and building trust with their apprentices.

What has created your environment for successful implementation?

The STAR program began in 2012 and to date, about 12,000 underprivileged youth have been trained. Another 7,500 will complete their training by the end of 2016.  Denied other opportunities, BRAC supplied these promising young people with on-the-job training through apprenticeships. This was augmented by theoretical classroom training on various trades, life skills, and workplace-based English-language classes. Preliminary findings show the intervention succeeded in its aim to increase labor market participation and earnings of participants, leading to a 46 percent increase in employment—about six times above the baseline. At the same time, interventions led to increased earnings and greater self-confidence among participants, and time devoted to earning activities increased by four hours per day.

During her six-month apprenticeship with the Skills Training for Advancing Resources (STAR) project, BRAC provided Shormila with an artificial hearing device. “My family needs me. My new device gives me the feeling I can achieve anything,” she said. Her trainer is also proud. “She works very quick and concentrated. She tailors trousers, her work is considered excellent by our customers," her trainer said. "She has a real talent.”

By the end of the pilot program, 95 percent of graduates were employed within one month of training, a figure that rose to 99 percent with the first 2015 graduates of the expanded Skills Development Program. About 15 percent of female graduates were employed in non-traditional jobs, including professions previously considered off-limits for Bangladeshi girls, such as motorcycle repair, graphic design etc.

Case studies show that there has been a significant decrease in child marriage, which is one of the most common consequences of young girls dropping out of school, particularly for girls from poor families. Access to income and the possibility for entrepreneurship opportunities have also motivated trained youth to start saving for investments.

Evidence showed that increased earnings of adolescents translated mostly into household welfare – as proxied by food expenditures and durable asset holdings. It also showed that the project positively impacted empowerment, self-confidence and the prevention of substance abuse. Furthermore, the intervention led to an improved work place environment and greater job satisfaction.

Are you using any current tools or measures target youth in program implementation? How and where are these tools being used?

We use the World Bank’s poverty map of Bangladesh to identify implementation sites. Most youth in the program come from marginalized families identified by BRAC’s Targeting the Ultra-Poor (TUP) program, which uses a “graduation” approach to lift people out of destitution. This way, BRAC can ensure that the STAR program is addressing the needs of the most marginalized in Bangladesh. BRAC uses household surveys to assess the needs of individuals and communities, as well as survey-based questionnaires to capture qualitative aspects of the program.The STAR program will also launch a Randomized Control Trial early in 2017 which will measure other likely impacts of the program, including a reduction in child marriage and delayed pregnancy.

Does your organization have an advocacy or communications platform that highlights youth unemployment challenges? 

We have a webpage where we share information about the STAR program. It can be found here: http://www.brac.net/sdp. We also regularly update our medium account with stories from the field: medium.com/@BRACWorldAdditional stories about the impact of the STAR program can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6hfNe39ifM&t