NA TIG Week: Conducting a Labor Market Assessment for Youth Employment Programs: Three Resources by Sylvia Otieno

Hi, my name is Sylvia Otieno and I am a Research Assistant at Higher Ed Insight, we work with nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities to help develop, implement, research and evaluate programs and efforts to improve education and workforce outcomes.

In this blog, I highlight three resources on conducting a labor market assessment for youth employment programs.

Labor market assessments help identify the needs of the local employers and environment. Success in youth employability programs greatly depends on their ability to understand and respond to the unique needs of the employers and job-seeking youth.  Youth employability programs, in government and non-governmental organizations, rely on labor market assessments to inform the development and implementation of their programs. These assessments are becoming more important as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create challenges for employers and youth seeking employment. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the global youth employment rate dropped by 8.7 per cent in 2020. ILO attributes this significant decrease in employment rates to challenges that COVID-19 brought on to the labor market.

Organizations may consider adapting the resources below to their local context, as they work to identify the current labor needs. 

In the guide titled, Ensuring Demand-Driven Youth Training Programs: How to Conduct an Effective Labor Market Assessment, USAID and the International Youth Foundation (IYF) provide rationale and methodology for conducting a robust labor market assessment. This assessment intentionally focuses on identifying the employer needs. It does not extend the discussion to assessing the needs of youth. The guide identifies the following eight steps to assessing the needs of employers: 

  1. Assemble Advisors
  2. Set Goals
  3. Devise Key Research Questions
  4. Identify Target Sectors
  5. Conduct Field Research
  6. Review and Vet Findings
  7. Design the Program
  8. Recheck (and Redesign)

The technical noted titled, Guidelines and Experiences for Including Youth in Market Assessments for Stronger Youth Workforce Development Programs, complements the guidance provide by USAID and IYF by focusing methodologies to assess youth needs. In this technical note, the SEEP Network highlights how youth enterprise and work force programs from the Education Development Center (EDC), Save the Children, and International Rescue Committee (IRC) conducted youth-centered market assessments. There is a great deal to learn about how each organization adapted its assessments to various local contexts.

A number of tested labor market assessment tools are available through the Mercy Corps website. The tools available to use before, during and after the implementation of the assessment. They also have been tested in a number of developing countries, including Haiti, Colombia and Ethiopia. Tip sheets on addressing common challenges are also provided.

Understanding the needs of the youth and employers in the labor market continues to be important to addressing youth employability, especially in the wake of COVID-19 challenges. The provided labor market assessment tools are good starting points for those who are working on this issue.

The American Evaluation Association is hosting Needs Assessment (NA) TIG Week with our colleagues in the Needs Assessment Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our NA TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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