World Bank report highlights Dominican Republic Youth Employment Program

December 12, 2013

Since 2001, 75,000 young people who neither worked nor studied have been trained

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, December 12, 2013 - In the Dominican Republic a youth-at-risk oriented program which combined classroom training and in the workplace through internships , proved to have impact on reducing teen pregnancy, gang membership , violence and other risky behaviors , according to the World Bank World Development Report 2013 entitled JOBS and presented today at the Country by the Ministry of Labor with the support of the World Bank.

Since 2008 the Youth and Employment Program (JyP) of the Ministry of Labor received funds through a World Bank project, and has included more than 41,000 at-risk youth throughout the country. Also under the project, the Ministry of Labor conducted a temporary employment program called 'Santiago Works ' which employed and trained 4000 poor people in the country’s Northern Region called Cibao. These programs are implemented in coordination with the National Institute of Technical Training (INFOTEP), private training centers and civil society.

According to the World Bank report, young women who received vocational training with life skills through the JyP program had greater chances of getting jobs, better wages and greater job satisfaction.

Labor Minister, Maritza Hernandez, revealed that in the first year of program implementation 70 percent of young people entered the labor market and 30 percent of these graduates returned to formal education system through basic adult education.

"It's an achievement reducing 36 percent of pregnancies in young female beneficiaries of the program relative to the control group not receiving training, which is the greatest precedent of this nature in the country, surpassing preventive public health programs in this matter,” said Hernández.

Another sign of success of the project is that the country displaced Brazil as the largest exporter of handmade shoes to the United States, due to the training received by a group of 399 young people who were inserted in industrial free zone parks located in the cities of Santiago, Navarrete and la Vega.

The global report , which takes into account the experiences of almost all countries, also highlights that employment highlights the role of strong economic growth associated with the development by creating jobs, and describes how the work that contributes more to development can stimulates a virtuous circle.

“The report finds that poverty falls as people work their way out of hardship and as jobs empower women to invest more in their children. Efficiency increases as workers get better at what they do, as more productive jobs appear, and as less productive ones disappear. Societies flourish as jobs foster diversity and provide alternatives to conflict,” said Jesko Hentschel, one of the main authors of the report who was responsible for the presentation.

Unemployment in the Dominican Republic appears to be in slight but steady increase since 2010 (14.3 % expanded rate, 5% open rate). The broad unemployment rate (which includes hidden unemployment, those discouraged longer looking for jobs) appears relatively stable in this period, the open unemployment (those not working but actively looking) increased by 2 percentage points in 2013 (from 5 to 7 %).

In that sense, McDonald Benjamin, World Bank representative in the country reaffirmed the commitment of the cooperation agency to continue supporting the Dominican Government in training and employment, so that the country has a safety net in case of a unemployment crisis. "We will support the Government in extending these training and employment programs in cities across the country, so that this mechanism can extend to benefit the 7 percent who are unemployed but actively seeking work” said Benjamin.

The Ministry of Labor and the World Bank are preparing a new project to expand the program of temporary jobs throughout the country.

The event was attended by representatives from government, civil society and the private sector. The welcoming remarks were made by McDonald Benjamin, representative of the World Bank, while the closing remarks were given by the Minister of Labor, Dr. Maritza Hernandez. Jesko Hentschel, one of the main authors of the report and director of Human Development at the World Bank for South Asia, was responsible for the presentation of the main findings.

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