Youth Employment Programs – A guide to an integrated approach

This guide aims to provide general guidance to project managers and project teams on the design and implementation of integrated, cross-sectoral youth employment programs.

Traditionally, youth employment programs have focused primarily on supply-side interventions—that is, those dealing with individual constraints to accessing or moving between jobs. Many of these programs have had limited labor market impacts. On the other hand, most interventions on the demand side, which focus on providing support to firms, do not specifically target job creation—and fewer still specifically target youth. Governments and development institutions too often implement activities and programs that target either the supply side or the demand side of the labor market without coordination or an explicit intent to create linkages that will maximize the impact of their interventions and improve job opportunities for youth.


The aim of the integrated programs described in this guide is to bring together supply- and demand- side interventions to simultaneously address three interrelated objectives:

  • Promote job creation for the target population
  • Improve the quality of jobs young people already have, many of which are in the informal sector
  • Help prepare young job seekers for jobs or to move from low- to higher-quality jobs

The components of this new integrated approach have been tried and tested; pilot testing of the integrated approach in different employment contexts will broaden the evidence base.
Youth employment can yield positive social externalities, whose costs should be considered in intervention design and financing. These societal benefits—such as lower crime rates and increased social stability—increase the value of youth employment and may require special incentives for firms (as discussed in, e.g., Robalino and Walker 2017). Programs can be implemented through self-standing, cross-sectoral, lending operations or through multiple lending operations coordinated through a joint results framework. Following are further principles to be kept in mind in designing integrated employment programs for youth:

  • Engaging youth and the private sector in all phases of project design, development, implementation, and evaluation is vital to program effectiveness.
  • Comprehensive programs that address multiple barriers faced by youth and multiple constraints experienced by the private sector with interventions customized for each segment of beneficiaries have a higher probability of success.
  • Investing in building youth resilience and private sector competitiveness can have long-term benefits.
  • Sustainability of project outcomes over time, scalability of project interventions and results, and replicability of project design to other geographies and/or target groups should be considered throughout the project design cycle.
  • Project design must consider gender and the needs of individuals with disabilities and of different cultures; the design must be intentional, consistent, and managed.
  • Every project should build on lessons learned from past projects, while pushing the boundaries and exploring innovative approaches.


Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @  Integration: a new approach to youth employment programs: general guidelines for project teams


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