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Improved Employment Options for 15 Thousand Bolivian Youth

May 15, 2014

World Bank to Support Government Training Program for Low Income Youth

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2014 – The World Bank (WB) Board of Executive Directors today approved US$20 million in financing for a youth training program for low income Bolivian youth. The Improving Employability and Labor Income of Youth Project will help close to 15 thousand youth between the ages of 17-35 improve their chances of accessing the labor market.

“One of the most important sectors of our society is that of low income college- and non-college educated youth that manage to complete their studies or are unable to graduate and to enter the labor market. This contingent of public and private college students represents more than 450 thousand people,” said Bolivia’s Labor Minister, Daniel Santalla Torrez. “Through the World Bank’s 2012-2015 Strategic Partnership with Bolivia and the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security (MTEPS, in Spanish), we can work to promote employment. Moreover, we need to adjust and invigorate existing employment programs.”

The Project will have a duration of six years and will be implemented by the MTEPS in the nine departmental capitals of the country, including the city of El Alto and five intermediate cities with more than 50 thousand inhabitants. The program will be undertaken among three groups of low income non-college students: ages 17 to 26, with at least primary education, interested in improving their medium-level and auxiliary skills; ages 22 to 35, owners of micro-enterprises, with at least primary education and wanting to attain an entrepreneurial education; and ages 17 to 26, with at least primary education and wanting to complete their secondary education within a maximum of three years.

In Bolivia, low income youngsters in general have limited access to jobs providing a proper salary and insurance due to their low skill levels. Although the average educational level of the labor force has increased in recent years, 30 percent of all youngsters still fail to complete secondary education. According to official data, almost 50 percent of employed youth aged between 17 and 24 are not paid for their work; when they do, it represents barely a third of the salary earned by youth of the same age who are not poor.

“Supporting skill development programs is a direct action aimed at improving the employability and labor income of youth in a difficult economic situation; this has a direct impact on poverty reduction and in boosting shared prosperity, the two main goals of the World Bank in partnership with the governments with which it works,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Resident Representative in Bolivia.

Since 2009, the Government of Bolivia has been putting in place several employment programs such as the Pluri-National Employment Service that operates throughout the country, offering intermediation and advisory services to people looking for work and companies needing staff; the Programa Mi Primer Empleo Digno [My First Proper Job], expanded in 2012; and the Employment Support Program for workers with experience but currently unemployed. The World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank support these last two programs, respectively.

The results obtained and the lessons learned with the Programa Mi Primer Empleo Digno will serve as valuable experience in the implementation of this new youth skills support program.

The Youth Employability and Labor Market Entry project is consistent with the World Bank 2012-2015 Strategic Partnership with Bolivia in one of its four pillars, Human Development and Basic Services. The Strategic Partnership was drafted in accordance with the goals set forth in the National Development Plan (PND, in Spanish) of the Pluri-National State of Bolivia, as adjusted in the 2025 Patriotic Agenda, which establishes the medium term goals for reducing extreme poverty to zero and translate growth into a measure of well-being for the Bolivian population.

The project will have a duration of six years, starting January 1st, 2015. The International Development Association loan has a 25-year maturity period and a 5-year grace period.

Media Contacts
In Washington
Ricardo Vargas
Tel : (202) 458-0777
In La Paz
Gabriela Orozco
Tel : (5356) 261-3347