2018 Global Youth Economic Opportunities (GYEO) Research Roundtable

Making Cents International and the Youth Economic Opportunities Network (YEO Network) convened our first Global Youth Economic Opportunities (GYEO) Research Roundtable on Wednesday, April 25th, from 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, in Washington, DC.


The invite-only Roundtable was co-hosted by our main event sponsor, Workforce Connections, and took place at the offices of FHI 360 in downtown Washington, DC. The Roundtable was additionally supported by our coffee break sponsor, JBS International.

About the GYEO Research Roundtable


The Global Youth Economic Opportunities (GYEO) Research Roundtable gathered 50 researchers from universities, think-tanks and other organizations to discuss what we know, and what we don't know, about the issues impacting youth unemployment, and specifically against the backdrop of a rapidly changing world of work. The event was supported by our partners, Workforce Connections, which is funded by USAID and managed by FHI 360, and JBS International.




In 2017 Making Cents developed a learning agenda to help guide its 11th Annual Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit (September 27th-29th, 2017). The learning agenda identified key questions on the future of work and youth economic opportunity in developing contexts - the answers to which we believe will help us move forward in securing safe and productive employment and self-employment for youth globally.


The questions were organized around the Summit's four tracks:


1. Building a Foundation

2. Ready for the Global Workforce

3. Livelihoods through Self-Employment

4. Global Context Matters


With our Summit Reseach Partner, the University of North Carolina's Global Social Development Innovations Center, we analyzed the major themes discussed at the 2017 Summit, and brought those findings to the Research Roundtable as a basis for discussion. The full-day agenda also included presentations by select researchers who are contributing to the knowledge base in areas related to the learning agenda questions.


Anticipated Outcomes


Our Roundtable proceedings report will summarize key discussion points and makes recommendations for what the most important research questions on youth employment over the next three years are. Attendees were asked to accept a 'call to action' by pledging their support to pursue research on priority questions or topic areas identified during the day, and by agreeing to participate in future opportunities to share their efforts and findings.

GYEO Summit Report

Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit Findings:
In Support of a Learning Agenda

In 2017, the Youth Economic Opportunities (YEO) Network team developed our first-ever Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit Learning Agenda and furthered our commitment to measuring impact by capturing the learning outcomes from our annual GYEO Summit. Read the report here.

Roundtable Partners


The 2018 GYEO Research Roundtable was made possible thanks to the generous in-kind and sponsorship support of our event partners. This includes: GYEO Roundtable event Host Sponsor, Workforce Connections; event Coffee Break Sponsor JBS International; and our 2017 GYEO Summit Research Partner, the Center for Global Social Innovation at the University of North Carolina's School of Social Work.

Host Sponsor

Workforce Connections promotes evidence-based learning and peer-to-peer knowledge exchange, with the goal of improving the capacity of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and its industry partners to deliver quality workforce development programming. Workforce Connections brings together thinking across relevant disciplines including education, economic growth, and positive youth development. Their aim is to reduce fragmentation of funding approaches, build consensus over contextually appropriate and effective interventions, and provide guidance on measurement and evaluation of workforce development initiatives. Activities include:


  • Community of Practice: create an open space for interaction, sharing, dialogue, debate, and consensus building

  • Research and Learning: develop and curate a technically sound and accessible body of knowledge on workforce development programming

  • Professional Development: build the capacity of practitioners (especially USAID and partners) through new training, technical assistance, and other professional development opportunities.


Workforce Connections is a five-year project (2013-18) funded by the USAID Office of Education and managed by FHI360. Partners include ChildTrends, Making Cents International, and RTI International. Workforce Connections is an Associate Award under the FIELD-Support Leader with Associates


Coffee Break Sponsor
JBS International is a medium-sized firm with 30 years of experience providing large- and small-scale research, evaluation, training, and socio-behavioral communications support to international and domestic clients. JBS specializes in evaluation and research in international development and education, workforce development, youth, social programs, gender, technology, and knowledge management. JBS has mobilized evaluation and research teams to some 110 countries and maintains a global network of partnerships and contacts with many local organizations and consultants. JBS evaluation and research projects have included contracts with US and UK government agencies, multilateral donor organizations, international NGOs, US and European universities, and foundations.
As a leader in policy and program evaluation, JBS maintains a multicultural and multilingual staff that effectively utilizes evaluation designs to measure progress and impact, and provide policy recommendations for enhanced outcomes.
JBS has experience managing all types of research designs, from a randomized controlled trial of the impact of after-school enrichment activities for middle school students to highly qualitative, non-experimental designs assessing how well unaccompanied immigrant youth from Central America are settling into their new environments under new US immigration regulations. JBS’s evaluation staff includes a broad range of statisticians, econometricians, psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, and political scientists whose expertise and skills can be drawn upon for any project, enabling us to develop highly rigorous evaluation approaches within budget, while maintaining flexibility to adapt to conditions on the ground.
GYEO Summit Research Partner
The Global Social Development Innovations (GSDI) is a center at the University of North Carolina’s School of Social Work. GSDI’s mission is to create innovative interventions, build knowledge, produce evidence, and, in collaboration with local stakeholders, shape policy towards the well-being of marginalized populations globally. GSDI formulates its research around six core intervention areas and their intersections. These cores are economic security, workforce development, financial inclusion, social protection, health, and education. Its current initiatives span six countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana, India, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia. GSDI works with local partners to improve the economic and social welfare of children, youth, and their families globally.
GSDI’s focus is on community-driven initiatives, which requires meaningful partnerships and collaboration with multiple stakeholders. GSDI has a cadre of local, national, and global research, implementation and funding partners. GSDI collaborates with faculty members affiliated with various UNC schools and departments, as well as other Universities globally. GSDI also prides itself as a training center for graduate students in social work and related disciplines. Last, GSDI houses a Data Hub, which serves as a nexus point for sharing and utilizing research data from GSDI and collaborating sites in Ghana, South Africa, India, and beyond. The Data Hub aims to serve a broader constituent of researchers and practitioners focused on developing solutions for social development issues globally.
Roundtable Organizers
Making Cents International is a woman-owned small business based in Washington l-being of youth and adults around the world. We work with partner organizations to build their capacity to support the people they serve—from smallholder farmers who feed the planet to young leaders and entrepreneurs who shape our
communities. Since 1999, we have delivered services in 60 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean, implementing more than 130 projects.
Making Cents International’s Youth Economic Opportunities (YEO) Network is a community of professionals preparing youth to learn, earn, and thrive in a changing world of work. The Network's goal is to improve members' ability to design, develop, fund, and implement evidence-based, innovative and scalable youth economic
opportunities programs that improve outcomes for young people globally. To achieve this goal, the YEO Network facilitates knowledge exchange, collaboration, and action among diverse stakeholders working to expand youth economic opportunities. Through its Annual Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, the YouthEconomicOpportunities.org learning hub, and year-round targeted meetings and virtual learning events, the YEO Network offers a unique platform that connects over 38,000 implementers, educators, researchers, donors policymakers, and young leaders to engage in YEO Network activities each year.