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The Right Skills for the Job? Rethinking Training Policies for Workers

  • Rita Almeida
  • Jere Behrman
  • David Robalino

This book addresses the question of how to build and upgrade job relevant skills. Specifically, the authors focus on three types of training programs relevant for individuals who are leaving formal general schooling or are already in the labor market: pre-employment technical and vocational education and training (TVET); on-the-job training (OJT); and training-related active labor market programs (ALMPs). ALMPs are usually of shorter duration and target individuals who are seeking a second chance and who do not have access to TVET or OJT; these are often low-skilled unemployed or informal workers. Contrary to training-related ALMPs, pre-employment TVET is usually offered within the formal schooling track and tends to be administered by the ministries of education. The book discusses the main justifications for these programs and how they relate to market failures that can lead to underinvestment in training and misalignment between supply and demand for skills. Unfortunately, governments are also prone to failure and many of the programs that countries have adopted today are part of the problem and not the solution. This book proposes options to improve the design and implementation of current skills development systems. Clearly, the authors cannot cover all issues in detail. Training methods among TVET, OJT, and ALMP programs are quite different, ranging from classroom instruction, laboratory research, TVET workshops, and apprenticeship arrangements and internships in firms. All have different challenges and specificities. The report highlights the most important design features of the different programs and points to the main knowledge gaps and areas for future research and analysis. The book is organized into five chapters. Following this overview, chapter two introduces the policy framework that guides the analysis in the book. This framework describes the main market and government failures that require attention and identifies potential interventions to address them. Chapter's three to five then discuss the main challenges facing, respectively, TVET, OJT, and training-related ALMP programs and outlines recommendations to address them. The rest of this overview summarizes the main messages from each of the chapters and in the last section outlines the main knowledge gaps and proposes an agenda for future research and policy analysis.

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This book is provided by The World Bank in its series World Bank Publications with number 13075 and published in 2012.
ISBN: 978-0-8213-8714-6
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:13075
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  1. Helena Ribe & David A. Robalino & Ian Walker, 2012. "From Right to Reality : Incentives, Labor Markets, and the Challenge of Universal Social Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6008, December.
  2. Núria Rodríguez-Planas & Jacob Benus, 2007. "Evaluating Active Labor Markets in Romania," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 699.07, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  3. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin, 2003. "Social protection in a crisis - Argentina's Plan Jefes y Jefas," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3165, The World Bank.
  4. David Card & Jochen Kluve & Andrea Weber, 2009. "Active Labor Market Policy Evaluations – A Meta-analysis," Ruhr Economic Papers 0086, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  5. Lechner, Michael & Miquel, Ruth & Wunsch, Conny, 2005. "Long-run effects of public sector sponsored training in West Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 200503, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  6. Pablo Ibarraran & David Rosas Shady, 2009. "Evaluating the impact of job training programmes in Latin America: evidence from IDB funded operations," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 195-216.
  7. Jochen Kluve & Hilmar Schneider & Arne Uhlendorff & Zhong Zhao, 2007. "Evaluating Continuous Training Programs Using the Generalized Propensity Score," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 752, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  8. Betcherman, Gordon & Olivas, Karina & Dar, Amit, 2004. "Impacts of active labor market programs : new evidence from evaluations with particular attention to developing and transition countries," Social Protection Discussion Papers 29142, The World Bank.
  9. Ninno, Carlo del & Subbarao, Kalanidhi & Milazzo, Annamaria, 2009. "How to make public works work : a review of the experiences," Social Protection Discussion Papers 48567, The World Bank.
  10. Dorsett, Richard, 2006. "The new deal for young people: effect on the labour market status of young men," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 405-422, June.
  11. Pia Peeters & Wendy Cunningham & Gayatri Acharya & Arvil Van Adams, 2009. "Youth Employment in Sierra Leone : Sustainable Livelihood Opportunities in a Post-conflict Setting," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2599, December.
  12. Kluve, Jochen, 2010. "The effectiveness of European active labor market programs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 904-918, December.
  13. Diego Angel-Urdinola & Amina Semlali, 2010. "Labor Markets and School-to-Work Transition in Egypt : Diagnostics, Constraints, and Policy Framework," World Bank Other Operational Studies 13050, The World Bank.
  14. Brewer, Laura, 2004. "Youth at risk : the role of skills development in facilitating the transition to work," ILO Working Papers 373389, International Labour Organization.
  15. John Van Reenen, 2003. "Active Labour Market Policies and the British New Deal for the Young Unemployed in Context," NBER Working Papers 9576, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Blom, Andreas & Saeki, Hiroshi, 2011. "Employability and skill set of newly graduated engineers in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5640, The World Bank.
  17. Marito Garcia & Jean Fares, 2008. "Youth in Africa's Labor Market," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6578, December.
  18. Richard K. Johanson & Arvil V. Adams, 2004. "Skills Development in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15028, December.
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