Working with youth
How are countries around the world helping youth stay in school, build skills and careers? What are they doing about youth unemployment? The case studies below provide a starting point for those looking not only to learn about the problems facing youth today, but how to solve them.
Helping youth stay in school
Working with young people before they drop out of school is a priority - working with young people when they have already left the education system can be significantly more challenging and costly. Network DYNAMO in Vienna works with both young migrants who have dropped out of the school system and those at risk of dropping out, helping them to complete education and attain basic qualifications. Read more.
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The City of Antwerp in Flanders, Belgium is seeking to counter the negative long-term consequences for young people who drop out of school by emphasising the value of informal learning. Since 2004 it has sought to become a laboratory for innovative practices in the validation and recognition of non-formal learning in youth work. Read more.
The Steps to College Program was developed in response to low graduation rates of Hispanics in Georgia. The programme aims to help local Hispanic students pass the Georgia High School Graduation Tests to increase high school completion rates. It also seeks to cultivate an interest in attending college and to encourage the target group to contemplate their employment paths from a young age. Read more.
In 2002 the Junior Achievement (JA) of Georgia Hispanic Outreach Program was developed in response to a report that found that Georgia had the lowest high school graduation rate among Latino students in the nation. The original JA Program was founded in 1919 by a worldwide, non-profit organisation whose mission is to “educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, business, and economics to improve the quality of their lives”. Read more.
Helping youth build careers and skills
BladeRunners was conceived in downtown Vancouver in 1994 and a unique system of 24/7 support was subsequently developed. BladeRunners is an employment programme that helps youth (ages 15-30) with multiple barriers to employment build careers in construction and other industries throughout the province of British Columbia, Canada. Although the programme has since expanded to more than 20 other communities in British Columbia, the original Vancouver site continues to operate and build and recognise skills, and work on job retention, progression and work-based learning. Outcomes are successful; the data (2007-08) show an 88% job placement rate for all programmes, as well as a reduction in the homelessness rate and income assistance rate. Read more.
The “burning platform” – population decline, youth exodus, and a diminishing workforce: a local case study from Denmark
As an island situated in the Baltic Sea, quite far from the Danish mainland and with a relatively small population, Bornholm provides an interesting and unique case study locality. The island has a low employment participation rate, a relatively high unemployment rate and many of its enterprises are occupied in low productivity sectors. The net outflow of human capital has contributed to a skills shortage in the island.Read more.
Low retention rates are a particular problem in Germany, with a growing number of youths without, or with poor, school qualifications failing to complete vocational training courses and acquire recognised qualifications. A scheme in North Rhine-Westphalia has been working to offer this target group a more flexible vocational training scheme developed in collaboration with local colleges. Approximately 800 youth are involved in the pilot. Read more.
Many people moved to Japan from Brazil and Peru following a revision of the Japanese Immigration Control Act in 1990, at a time of high demand for labour. Many of those who moved are descendents of Japanese emigrees to Latin America in the 19th and 20th centuries - Nikkeijin. Young Nikkeijin arriving in Japan often face difficulties in school integration, with many dropping out of school or not attending at all due to difficulties in adjusting to a new school environment and language problems. Several government-led policies for Nikkeijin have been implemented in a time of growing unemployment, high drop out rates and poor school attendance. Read more.
Rotterdam is known internationally as a city with an active social policy and progressive initiatives in such areas as participation, dialogue, citizenship. The city’s port offers direct work to approximately 90 000 people and has a workforce profile of mainly male, white and older workers. Because of economic growth and an ageing working in the port, demand for new personnel is rising. Read more.
In the United States, local and regional government agencies have increasingly adopted sectoral strategy approaches to economic development and a similar approach is surfacing in the workforce-development field. As partnership between workforce and economic-development agencies becomes more common in regions and communities, the role of education and workforce agencies in mapping and building skills pipelines for key industries becomes more critical to economic-development practitioners. Public education and workforce systems organise their work through pathways and cluster models. For high schools and community colleges, establishing career-pathway models helps to connect them to the economy, and to produce workers with the appropriate skills for jobs in the region. Read more.
In 2009, the jobless rate in Pittsburgh increased at a fast pace, with the biggest losses in manufacturing and service jobs. Nevertheless, the city continued to do relatively well in terms of unemployment and remained below the national rate. In 2009 it was announced that almost USD 3 million in stimulus money from the Pennsylvania Department of Labour and Industry had been given to the Pittsburgh region for workforce investment. Most of the money was planned for additional training programmes and for an expanded summer youth programme.
Los Angeles responded to the economic crisis and rising unemployment levels among young people in 2009 by introducing a strategy to put 16 500 young people in job placements. Community colleges across the locality will become home to WorkSource Centers which aim to connect students to jobs and education to job placement. The city secured USD 1 billion in funds (derived from a 2.5% increase in tourist occupancy taxes), which will enable the construction of satellite campuses focused on job training. Read more.
Tackling youth unemployment
Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest country with an estimated population of 228 million people. The country has experienced competitive growth rates over the past four to five years, nevertheless this has not been sufficient to absorb the growing numbers coming into the labour market. More worrying are high unemployment and underemployment rates for young people. Read more.
Related report: OECD Skills Outlook 2015: Youth, Skills and Employability