Hester - JA can cite local studies demonstrating how its programming increases opportunity and earning potential. For example, JA Canada was part of a Boston Consulting Group Research Project which showed that alumni return CDN$425 million annually to the Canadian economy through business and job creation along with higher tax payments (due to higher earnings) and decreased use of social assistance. In the Middle East, a study of the JA Company Program conducted by Fernando Reimers of Harvard School of Education concluded that the program developed business and soft skills in students that may not be available in traditional educational systems. These business and soft skills allow the students to be better prepared to enter the workforce. The Americas’ region signature program, Women in Development, works with vulnerable or at risk women. A study conducted by CID Gallup Latin America found that among those who participated in the program, 60 percent owned businesses, 1.5 times more than women in the control group. Further, JA alumni created RecycloBekia, a recycling company that was created before recycling took hold in Egypt. A year post-creation the company had 23 employees, a strategic partner in Hong Kong, its own factory in Egypt, two angel investors and was worth $400,000. This is one of the best examples of how JA’s programming helps youth be inspired to build their own businesses which create jobs, be prepared to successfully enter the workforce and be equipped with the financial literacy skills that will improve their economic prospects in the future.
Hester le Roux said:
We have not heard much about ensuring the demand-side is not neglected. Employability programmes are often criticised for being too supply-driven. What lessons can our panel share about ensuring skills development and employability support actually leads to good jobs? How do you measure your success?