How Can Job Opportunities for Young People in Latin America be Improved?
Feb 2012
Job training programs for vulnerable youth are the main response of Latin American governments to address the problem of inadequate employment opportunities for young people. Despite its importance, knowledge about these programs is scarce. This study contributes to filling this gap in the literature by presenting new evidence on the effectiveness of six of these programs operating or that were implemented in Colombia, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru and Dominican Republic. This analysis uses the results of impact evaluations of these programs and the results of qualitative surveys of young participants and employers, and in-depth interviews to training centers, employers and policy makers. The main results confirm the limited evidence available, namely, that these programs have little impact on the probability of getting a job (although there is a high heterogeneity in these impacts), but a significant impact on job quality. From this analysis, we propose a research agenda to improve knowledge on the functioning and impact of these programs, and provide a series of recommendations to improve the design and increase the effectiveness of youth training programs.