Published on Jobs and Development

Vocational Training for Vulnerable Youth in Colombia

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Jessica Owens is a Consultant at Colombia's Ministry of Labor.

With youth unemployment extremely high in Latin America, numerous government efforts have been under way to help the poorest individuals. In Colombia, the "Jóvenes en Acción" or "Youth in Action" program was introduced in the mid-2000s to provide job training to about 4,300 unemployed youth (ages 18-25) who lived in urban areas and fell into the two lowest deciles of the income distribution.

We spoke with Jessica Owens, a consultant with Colombia's Ministry of Labor on active labor market programs about Jóvenes en Acción. She says that the evaluations show that women fared the best with both employment and earning gains, mostly transitioning from unemployment to formal jobs. While the program didn't have an impact on employment or earnings for men, it did increase the likelihood of their having a formal sector job (rather than an informal one). In addition, on a cost-benefit basis, the vocational training program was a worthwhile investment.

This post was first published on the Jobs Knowledge Platform.


Jessica Owens

Ministry of Labor, Columbia

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