Guillermo Cruces is the deputy director of the Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS) at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina.
Over the past decade, numerous studies have been done on youth training programs, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. However, there is little evidence on the mechanisms through which they operate and their effects on outcomes beyond the labor market. Guillermo Cruces, Maria Laura Alzua and Carolina Lopez – of the Center for Distributive, Labor and Social Studies (CEDLAS) at the Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Argentina – are trying to fill this gap by studying the Entra21 program in Cordoba in 2011-2012.
This program – one of the largest regional initiatives and typically run by business associations – is aimed at low-income youth. It combines life-skills and vocational training, along with internships with private sector employers.
Cruces, the Deputy Director of CEDLAS, tells us they found sizable gains in the short term for the first cohort – about a 10 percentage-point increase in formal employment (32% higher than that for the control group) – although these effects dissipate in the medium-term (36 months after implementation). The participants also exhibit earnings up to 50% higher than those in the control groups. And they show a higher probability of requesting consumer credit and holding bank debts in good standing. According to Cruces, the results suggest that the program succeeded in boosting human capital, rather than (or in addition to) providing contacts or formal intermediation.