Ready for the Global Workforce

The Ready for the Global Workforce Summit track explored young peoples’ preparation for, access to, and participation in the formal and informal economy. The track was focused on: 1) the impact of a changing workforce on young people (e.g., the skills gap, automation, digital disruption, decentralization of employment, new and emerging industries of opportunity); 2) rural economies and agriculture (e.g., changing agri-business, youth access to land, finance, training, the impact of climate change and youth responses); 3) employer engagement, including strategies for work readiness and demand-driven training, talent acquisition, retention, work-based learning and mentorship, and effective private-sector partnerships.


During this session we considered these questions against the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the global economy now and in the future. Live breakout sessions included a cross-cutting focus on topics such as youth engagement, gender, disability inclusion, and private-sector partnerships.

Track Event Details and Sessions

On Thursday September 17th from 9:00 am – 11:30 am EST, the YEO Network convened the third in a series of seven online Global Youth Economic Opportunities (GYEO) Summit events that follow our technical tracks in skills development, workforce readiness, self-employment and entrepreneurship, and cross-cutting topics such as gender, conflict, systems change, policy, and more. Visit each track page watch each session and learn more. 

Date & Time:

Thursday, September 17th, 9:00 am – 11:30 am EDT  


Two and a half hours, online.

Schedule of Events:

9:00 am – 9:10 am - Welcome & Opening

9:10 am – 10:10 am - Track Opening & Headline Speakers

10:10 – 10:15 am - Transition to Breakout Sessions

10:15 am – 11:15 am -  Four concurrent 60-minute breakout sessions 11:30 am -  Event Close

Opening Speakers 

Professor Landry Signé, PhD.
Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Africa Growth Initiative, Brookings
Benita Rowe
Chief Operating Officer, Ustad Mobile

Breakout Sessions

Private Sector Engagement: Small is Beautiful

World Vision and World Vision Honduras

Effective private sector engagement (PSE) is the holy grail of scaling access to youth economic opportunities. While developing partnerships with a few medium to large employers would seem an obvious strategy, hard-won lessons from the field support an alternative approach - building partnerships with many small, local employers and adapting programs in real-time to meeting their needs and closing the gap between labor demand and supply. This session tells the story of a project in Honduras that shifted to a ‘small is beautiful’ approach, which increased private sector commitment to youth outcomes, demonstrated a more effective way to scale economic opportunities to youth, and led to nuanced collaborations to innovate targeted employment solutions (like online Talent Banks, micro franchises for youth with disabilities, local Employment Centers, and Idea Banks to connect financial partners with youth entrepreneurs).

Re-imagining Skills to Jobs Value Chains

Inclusion Works, Uganda & Kenya

Based on new evidence generated through Labor Market Assessments undertaken in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Bangladesh, the Inclusive Futures program is working to tackle barriers faced by both employers and youth with disabilities in realizing fully inclusive formal employment systems.

Specific program strategies target:

  • developing the disability confidence of employers and their ability to attract applications from youth with disabilities,

  • developing the agency (self-confidence) of disabled jobseekers

  • addressing barriers in the enabling environment which prevent youth with disabilities in accessing opportunities to develop employability skills and assets

This session explores the potential of creating new, collaborative ecosystems between the public and private sector which align with the principle of positive youth development and catalyze transformative change to labor markets. The session includes information on how the program brings together the strengths of CISCO Systems’ skills academies, Accenture’s Skills to Succeed Learning Exchange and employers like Safaricom in Kenya to create inclusive employment ecosystems.

Trade-Offs in Demand-Driven vs. Youth-Inclusive: Aligning Stakeholder Priorities in Workforce Development

Education Development Center Inc. (EDC),
Young Social and Business Entrepreneur
In recent years, evidence has shown how demand-driven workforce development approaches—those that respond to private sector needs—yield better youth employment outcomes.  Meanwhile, the field of positive youth development (USAID, 2017) has shown the importance of giving space to youth’s voices and initiatives to connect and create employment opportunities. However, in day-to-day programming, these recommendations may seem to compete with each other and leave implementers with the question: how do we navigate—or align—these different stakeholder priorities?  This participatory session aimed to articulate a response from different voices. First, by responding to this question from experiences at Accenture’s Near Hire Program (private sector), EDC’s Employment Connectors Guide (implementers) and a young African change-maker from the platform. Then, inviting participants to discuss on how they are addressing this challenge. All ideas were recorded in, an online bulletin board, and share with participants for future reference.

Youth-Led Economic Journeys: How Research, Program, and Policy Can Support Youth in Designing their Own Path

African Union Commission,
FHI 360
How do adolescent girls and young women who have grown up in conflict-affected settings design their own programs interventions? In this session we explore how efforts across the African continent from research to programming to policy provide opportunities for youth to shape their own livelihoods pathways, including about the African Union's approach to shaping youth engagement across the continent of Africa.

Track Technical Content

World Economic Forum

What talent means in the post-COVID-19 workplace


As companies look to reset their people strategies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they must grapple with the lack of adequate metrics for valuing talent and return on human capital investment. Such metrics matter for deepening stakeholder engagement and to help drive and track decision-making in companies under pressure to operate more efficiently and become more resilient.

Cross-Cutting Topic Areas


Content Type


World Economic Forum

COVID-19: Why investing in youth will future-proof the economy


The COVID-19 pandemic has upended and laid bare the inequities in our global economic and social systems. It has made clear that some of the most vulnerable populations and undervalued professions in our society are not only the hardest hit during times of crisis but also the ones we rely upon the most.

Cross-Cutting Topic Areas

Content Type


The World Future Council

What About Us? Youth (UN)Employment in Times of COVID-19


The youth workforce is particularly vulnerable to the economic crisis caused by the Coronavirus outbreak. Here is what we can do to provide decent and sustainable jobs for young adults.

Cross-Cutting Topic Areas


Content Type