Every year, 2 million young Bangladeshis join the labor force, but too few have the essential education or technical skills to match that employers need. Overcoming that mismatch is critical not only to improving the lives of those workers and their families. It can also build on Bangladesh’s impressive efforts to overcome poverty.
That’s the aim of the Skills and Training Enhancement Project (or STEP), an initiative helping poor, undereducated students – especially women – acquire new skills that can lead to paid work domestically and abroad.
Launched by the Government of Bangladesh in 2009, STEP offers workers vocational training, and it gives development grants to 33 public and private polytechnic institutions to improve quality of skills-training programs. STEP also provides stipends to all diploma-level female students, while adopting a poverty-targeting stipend for male students.