An estimated 73.3 million youth between the ages of 15 and 24 were unemployed in 2014. Moreover, more than one-third of employed youth in the developing world were living on less than US$2 per day. Many developing countries are now facing a paradox with high rates of youth unemployment alongside large numbers of unfilled jobs. We take a systems approach to this multidimensional problem, using economic analysis and business strategy tools to deliver quality workforce development programming.
Bridging to careers in health care
For thousands of 14- to 18-year-old students in 19 sites in seven countries, the Bridge to Employment project has fostered interest in health care careers and aspirations that reach far beyond the classroom. Volunteer mentoring from Johnson & Johnson employees and job shadowing give disadvantaged and at-risk students the chance to witness the demands and excitement of health care careers. Course enrichment, peer support and college tours bring these careers within reach. In 2015, Bridge to Employment students had a 98 percent secondary school graduation rate, and 75 percent of these graduates have knowledge of the skills required for the health care workforce.
Strengthening bridges between higher education and the labor market
Decades of violence and unrest in Afghanistan have disrupted the country’s ability to produce skilled workers to meet employer needs. FHI 360’s University Support and Workforce Development Program is building the capacity of Afghanistan's Ministry of Higher Education and 11 public universities to improve quality assurance, align academic programs with workforce needs and produce graduates with the knowledge and skills to secure employment. In 2015, five universities established university industry advisory councils to promote better engagement between education and industry. Student centers at eight public universities now provide forums where students share knowledge, network and develop skills for employment.
Soft skills for employment success
Five soft skills can increase the likelihood that youth and young adults will succeed in the workplace, according to the report Key ‘Soft Skills’ That Foster Youth Workforce Success: Toward a Consensus Across Fields. Social skills, communication skills, high-order thinking, self-control and positive self-concept encompass the behaviors, attitudes and personal qualities that enable people to navigate their environment effectively. FHI 360’s publication explores the relationship between soft skills and four workforce outcomes: getting a job and remaining employed, performance on the job, wages and entrepreneurial success.
Gaining experience and confidence through Bridge to Employment