Generation: Global Youth Employment Program
Our solution's stage of development:Growth
Generation connects unemployed and underemployed young people with skills and jobs in career-launching entry-level roles. The program can be implemented effectively by a wide range of organizations—nonprofits, employers, government—in a variety of cultural and sector contexts, enabling it to scale globally.
Our vision is bold: a career-launching job for every young person, everywhere in the world.
But it is a hardheaded aspiration too, rooted in research and experience. Generation was born from a study of 150 employment programs in 25 countries and survey of 15,000+ employers, students, and education providers, identifying the most effective approaches and gaps in existing offerings.
Generation seeks to fill those gaps. We recruit, train, and place unemployed and underemployed youth in middle-skill, entry-level jobs with career potential. After 2.5 years, Generation is active in 49 cities and 116 sites across five countries—India, Kenya, Mexico, Spain, and the USA. We offer programs in 15 professions in four sectors—healthcare, customer service/sales, technology, and skilled trades.
Generation encompasses a seven-step approach, implemented by partners. “Bootcamp”-style training integrates technical, behavioral, and mindset skills in a unique way, focusing on repeated practice of the most important activities for a role—what we call “breakdown moments”—and prepares graduates to perform well from day one on the job.
Our mission is two-fold: to empower young people to build thriving, sustainable careers and to provide employers the highly skilled, motivated talent they need. And results are strong: 82% of our 13,000 graduates attain jobs within 3 months of completing Generation and 79% of them remain in those jobs 3 months later. Participant incomes jump to 2-6 times what they were before Generation. And of our 1300+ employer partners, 88% of them say Generation hires outperform peers and 98% would hire from Generation again.
Studies show that more than anything, people want a job—not just any job, but a good job. Absent that, young people face frustration and despair. Providing them with skills and opportunity to change their life trajectories boosts their long-term well-being, and that of their families and communities.
Youth unemployment is a worldwide problem with more than 73 million unemployed and three times that many underemployed. At the same time, 40% of employers say they cannot find the talent they need even for entry-level roles.
There are thousands of workforce programs seeking to bridge this gap—private, public, and non-profit, spending of hundreds of billions of dollars per year. But they tend to be small, expensive, and focused on a single country. Of those that measure outcomes, most have job placement rates of less than 50 percent, and even lower job retention rates.
Why our solution will solve the problem:
Generation set out to break the workforce program mold by achieving scale and proving effectiveness—what we believe is required to solve this problem; results to date are compelling.
With 13,000 graduates, we are already the largest global demand-driven training program. Our “bootcamp” model—4-12 weeks with support services—has been replicated across professions and geographies, showing broad applicability.
Generation gathers effectiveness evidence for both youth and employers, with strong results. Further, our cost is 20-50% that of comparable programs. Employers say they would invest more in training if they saw value, so demonstrating a positive ROI fuels growth.
Our target outcomes:
Generation seeks three main outcomes:
- To connect 1 million young people with skills and jobs
- Improved wellness and employment for youth participants
- Financial sustainability, achieved by proving ROI to employers
Our direct beneficiaries are young people and their families. In addition, employers gain access to a productive pool of talent. We are committed to rigorous data collection to track graduate employment, financial, health, and other well-being indicators, and employer benefit.
Generation works with local implementation and employer partners to reach young people where they are.
How we will measure our progress:
The populations we will benefit initially:
The regions we will benefit initially:
The countries we will benefit initially:
The technologies we employ:
Why our solution is unique:
Generation offers a unique seven-step approach with an integrated curriculum focused on a role’s critical skills and technology-supported program delivery. For example:
- Generation’s mobile app (GenApp) includes an attendance tracker and messenger services to support students during bootcamp and on the job.
- Video cameras tape classrooms and a central team provides remote instructional coaching.
- Digital workplace simulations provide students with practice opportunities.
- Custom built recruitment (GenRecruiting) and data (GenData) tools automate applications and track metrics including in-class attendance and performance, job attainment, and retention
- Real-time dashboards enable us to monitor progress and identify issues.
Why our solution is human-centered:
Generation uses technology to support individual participants, instructors, implementers, and employers—offering them insight and responding to their needs.
GenApp helps instructors easily track student attendance in class and communicate and share content easily with their students, taking out the tedium associated with manual tracking, and facilitating a digital avenue to create more engagement.
GenData allows program administrators, and country leadership a single source of truth to easily enter and access key information about their students and graduates, enabling us to make data-driven decisions to improve programs and enhance outcomes for our students.
How people will access our solution:
Generation is implemented by nonprofit, employer, government, and other partners, offering us flexibility to scale quickly. We have standardized curricula, tools, and processes to ensure quality.
Young people pay a small amount or nothing at all to join Generation. We are committed to maintaining that through sustainable employer and government funding, and we’re on track to achieve 50% sustainable funding by year’s end.
Today, young people access Generation at one of 116 sites, and that number continues to grow. In addition, we are testing which program components can be effectively delivered online to further increase accessibility.
Technology-Readiness Level:6-8 (Demonstration)
Where we are located:
How we will sustain our team financially:
Generation is actively fundraising to obtain catalytic financing that will allow us to launch new programs, build the investment case to employers and local governments, and support more rapid sustainable expansion. We already have a strong base of funders upon which to build, including McKinsey & Company, USAID, Walmart, the European Union Social Fund, and others.
Generation’s goal, however, has always been to create a program that becomes financially self-sufficient. Careful monitoring has given us a clear understanding of our costs. By collecting and sharing our return on investment data with employers and governments, we have been able to achieve 30% sustainable funding already and are on track to achieve 50% by the end of 2017. Our aim is to approach 100% sustainable funding within two years after that.
The factors limiting our success:
For Generation to succeed, we need to manage three challenges. First, we need to ensure program quality—we have standardized materials, tools, and processes already. We’ll need to evolve those to meet our needs as we grow. Second, we need funding—both need catalytic funding to start programs, develop technology, etc. and sustainable funding (defined as employer, government, or student contributions). On the latter point, we are on track, but need to continue to increase our percentage of sustainable funding to hit targets. And last, we need to recruit sufficient employers and participants; this gets easier as brand awareness grows.
How long we have been working on our solution:3 years
How long it will take to develop a pilot:We have already developed a pilot.
How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:We have already scaled beyond pilot.
Our expected annual budget:
How much of our budget we've secured to date:
We're looking for partners in these fields:
Why we're applying to Solve:
Generation has been heartened by the success of our program to date. Technology has been a critical driver of our ability to scale effectively to the point we are now. But while 13,000 graduates makes us a large program, we still have a long way to go before we achieve our vision of a career-launching job for every young person, everywhere in the world. The role of technology in delivering and monitoring Generation’s program will increase with size, and the ability to learn from leaders and tap into resources from Solve’s network will be invaluable.
Our current partners:
We work with 1300+ employer partners and 60+ implementation partners. In addition, we receive funding and support from organizations including McKinsey & Company, USAID, Walmart Foundation, the European Union Social Fund, and a host of others.