Keeping Young People Attached to Jobs Amid the Pandemic

Strategies to keep young people in jobs and training during the pandemic
Gretchen Cheney
Gretchen Cheney

Strategies to keep young people in jobs and training during the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has made it harder for young people to remain connected to the labor market. Businesses were forced to scale back hiring or lay off workers, and those with the least experience were often most at risk. To help young people stay on track in their careers, jurisdictions across the globe are developing strategies to enable businesses to keep workers on staff and provide on-the-job training to help them continue to build their skills. For example, in March of this year, Germany increased incentives for firms offering vocational training and apprenticeships to young people to help keep a pipeline of skilled labor in place. Small and medium-sized companies that do not reduce in-firm training positions have access to a one-time 4,000 EUR (US$4789.40) bonus; those that offer additional vocational positions than they have previously qualify for larger bonuses. Canada has taken a different approach to address its high youth unemployment rate. It is extending its 2021 Summer Jobs Program for youth to run for almost a full year. It will start this month and go through February 2022 and provide up to 120,000 jobs to workers between the ages of 15 and 30. Private sector small businesses and public sector employers will receive funding for up to 75 percent of the provincial or territorial minimum wage (previously the limit was 50 percent), and non-profits will be fully reimbursed as was true previously. The program helps younger workers develop the skills and gain paid work experience to assist their successful transition into the labor market. To read more about how top-performing countries are preparing young people for today’s competitive job market, see NCEE’s Vocational Education and Training for a Global Economy.