More than half of the 19,649 young people from across Latin America who participated in a comprehensive job training initiative were employed as a result, according to the final report of the entra21 program. An initiative of the International Youth Foundation, entra21 was created in collaboration with the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank (MIF/IDB) to address rising unemployment among the region’s at risk youth. The just released report, published by the MIF, covers the program’s accomplishments and findings from 2001 through 2007.    

“Entra21 has become a global model for how to successfully engage unemployed, underserved youth and put them to work,” says William S. Reese, President and CEO of the International Youth Foundation. “This report highlights key lessons learned through the program—including the effectiveness of a holistic approach to job training that includes life skills, internships and job placement assistance.”    

Among the findings of the report: working closely with the private sector and using labor market surveys are two effective strategies to ensure that the skills gained by the participants match the needs of local business. One unexpected benefit described in the study was the decline in the number of youth who were either unemployed or not in school after they completed the program: the percentage dropped from 62 percen at baseline to 25 percent after graduation.    

As a result of the successes of the initial program, a second four-year phase of entra21 was approved in 2007 with an initial MIF contribution of US$10 million. An additional $19 million was leveraged from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), global and local companies, as well as national and international foundations to support the expanded program. Entra21 was selected by USAID for its 2006 “Global Development Alliance Excellence Award” and was highlighted as a promising youth employment initiative in the 2007 World Development Report, published by the World Bank.