State of the Evidence: Youth Workforce Development
Part of the USAID Learning Series: Youth Workforce Development in 2022: What Have We Learned?
After four years of advancing learning through its Youth Workforce Development Learning Agenda, USAID initiated a process in 2022 to review new evidence related to the learning questions.
In addition to a desk review, consultations were held with stakeholders involved in youth skills development, employment, and entrepreneurship programming in low- and middle-income countries. This process resulted in a series of State of the Evidence Updates. Each brief offers a short synopsis of learning around one of USAID’s current learning agenda themes and is intended to support evidence-based decision-making in youth workforce development.
State of the Evidence Update: Soft Skills Measurement
This brief summarizes recent evidence around measuring soft skills, including the how choice of methodology, particularly performance-based methods, shapes research outcomes. It also discusses which instruments are most effective for working with adolescents of different ages, as well as the importance of selecting the right tools and approaches for each unique circumstance. This body of evidence is a clear call for USAID to further advance the democratization of soft skills measurement, particularly across various local contexts.
State of the Evidence Update: Soft Skills Interventions
What interventions are most effective at fostering soft skills among youth? This brief advances learning around the different types of soft skills and related implementation interventions that have led to gains in skills, employment, and earnings, as well as other cross-sectoral youth outcomes. Research confirms that targeted soft skills instruction and support can lead to improvements in a number of social-emotional skills and wellbeing outcomes across sectors and sub-populations.
State of the Evidence Update: Are Workforce Development Programs Effective at Preventing Violence?
To strengthen the evidence base around the effects of youth workforce development (YWD) on violence, this brief disaggregates common components of typical YWD programs (e.g., vocational training, soft skills training, relationship building), reviews the evidence for each component, and disaggregates it by type of violence. Program designers and implementers can draw on this work to choose key components when designing a YWD intervention, as well as refer to a set of recommendations for researching and implementing YWD in a range of contexts where violence is a concern.
State of the Evidence Update: Work-based Learning in Youth Workforce Development
This brief examines the impact of work-based learning on youth and employers and supplies practitioners with findings around interventions and/or approaches that support successful work-based learning programs in low- and middle-income countries. For example, how work-based learning programs, when paired with education and training, have a positive impact on youth employment outcomes.
State of the Evidence Update: Access to Capital for Young Entrepreneurs
This brief focuses on youth’s access to capital and how this contributes to youth self-employment outcomes. In particular, the evidence outlines the extent to which access to business capital contributes to youth self-employment outcomes in integrated programs. Program designers can draw on a proposed set of promising practices in capital assistance for youth self-employment, microenterprise performances, and inclusive economic growth.