To what extent does information and communication technologies (ICT) training enhance the ability of underserved youth to learn employability skills and find a job? According to a recent study conducted in three Latin American countries on behalf of the International Youth Foundation (IYF), quite a bit. Because of the growing influence of ICT in the area of job training, in particular, IYF required organizations applying for grants in phase II of its entra21 program to specify how they would apply ICT-based strategies to strengthen their youth employability training programs. The resulting two-and-a-half year study looks at the different ways technology was used in entra21 programs in Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador—and identifies which strategies were most effective in helping young people acquire job skills.

The Role of Technology in Preparing Disadvantaged Youth for the World of Work: Findings from Three Latin American Projects is the latest publication in IYF’s Latin America learning series. The series was launched in January 2012 to identify and share experiences and best practices relating to youth employment initiatives in the region.

The report made the following conclusions:

  • ICT contributed to the development of young people’s basic competencies in Ecuador and was a motivating factor in recruiting and retaining disadvantaged youth in short-term job training programs in all three projects studied.
  • Technology helped many Chilean youth with their job seeking efforts by enabling them to create e-portfolios and sharing vital data with employers.
  • Social media enriched the training process, facilitated the management of internships and placement of youth in formal jobs, and strengthened links between youth, trainers and employers. 

This study was financed by the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank, a founding partner of entra21, and International Centre for Development Research in Canada.