Home | 2011 Workshop

Life Skills and Work Readiness
August 20, 2009 – 1:30 p.m.

Presenters:Alisa Phillips, World Vision
Patricia Hartasanchez, World Vision
Kate Raftery, International Youth Foundation
Jane Casewit, Creative Associates International

Moderator: Seema Agarwal-Harding, USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia

For this session World Vision and the International Youth Foundation presented on their life skills and work readiness programs for youth globally. The main topic of discussion was how to address the gap in what’s taught in school from the skills necessary to join the workforce.

World Vision emphasizes a life cycle approach that starts as early as pre-natal care and carries through young adulthood. Their approach utilizes the community as a base, building safety nets, mobilizing communities, and strengthening economic standing with parents to improve income on the family level. Their curriculum for life skills includes critical thinking, managing emotions, assertive communications, building affirmative mutual relationships, and assuming responsibility for the collective good.

The World Vision focused the majority of its presentation on their rights and assets-based approach which emphasizes the four R’s- Relationships, Respect, Reciprocity, and Responsibility. Successful programs were discussed such as in Laos where World Vision focused on children’s opinions, utilizing children as facilitators and asking them what they wanted from their communities. World Vision’s program in Mexico was also viewed as a success, focusing on developing health leaders and promoters, motivational education guides, as well as human rights leaders and promoters. Other focuses of their programs include labor capacities, entrepreneurship, micro finance support, and job training centers.

Jane Casewit, a former member of USAID Morocco’s education team, discussed her experience with life skills programming while working at the Morocco Mission. She noted how employers of graduates from USAID’s life skills program were very pleased with graduates’ attitudes and sense of responsibility. But what struck Casewit was the necessity of programming to teach these life skills, that children were not learning these skills at home or at school. Participants agreed that the lack of life skills in these communities was an area requiring further attention.

Key take away points from this session included the importance of utilizing teacher training as a means of disseminating life skills to youth and improving workforce development. If teachers are trained to be communicative, respectful, and innovative, they are more likely to transfer these skills to their students. Additionally, integrating life skills standards, private sector engagement, and monitoring and evaluation into life skills training programs is critical. Recommendations included additional research on the topic to guide future programming and a survey of all workforce development projects and evaluations worldwide. Finally, a type of “masters’ life skills program” bringing together best practices and follow up trainings could become a vital tool in the development of new life skills programs.

To view the presentations, please click on link below:
IYF, Raferty : Open
World Vision : Open

For questions related to the 2009 Education Workshop,
please contact Rebekah Levi at rlevi@jbsinternational.com