2020 Global Youth Economic Opportunities (GYEO) Summit
“Re-Imagining Youth Economic Opportunity in a Post COVID-19 World”
2020 GYEO Summit Pivot to Virtual Engagement
In just a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the fragility of our social and economic systems, especially for young people. Yet the crisis has also demonstrated the resilience of youth and created new pathways to meet their livelihood goals. Youth economic opportunity practitioners, funders, and youth leaders are trying to make sense of this changing landscape, adapt their activities in the short-term to support resilience, and consider how to build stronger systems in the future to support youth social and economic inclusion.
In a typical year, our community convenes in the fall at the Global Youth Economic Opportunities (GYEO) Summit to share best practices and develop new ones. However, this year requires a different type of gathering: one that begins now as the crisis is unfolding, convenes expert and youth voices to better understand the current situation, and curates conversations and resources to provide our community with guidance for the future. This year’s summit also needs to connect stakeholders who are working to respond to the crisis by providing support for cross-sector coordination. We will elevate stories of partners who are collaborating in innovating ways, and help to gather and share critical information, tools and ideas for supporting youth economic opportunities now, and after the pandemic.
Making Cents International will change the format of our annual GYEO Summit to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak from an in-person gathering to a dynamic virtual platform that engages stakeholders in an ongoing conversation between now and September.
We will convene a series of at least five (5) online activities that follow our GYEO Summit’s updated technical tracks. The online activities will use a variety of formats to:
Explore the immediate impacts of COVID-19: what the pandemic has meant for young people and how have our organizations responded;
Reflect on how what we are learning can inform a future “road map” for building more resilient systems for youth economic opportunity in a post-COVID-19 world;
Collaborate with thought leaders and key stakeholders to coordinate and curate content, reducing overlap and duplication.
The 2020 GYEO Virtual Series will conclude with an in-person or online half-day GYEO Forum in the fall that shares learning outcomes and identifies actionable steps for our community to take as we rebuild.
Alongside our virtual engagement, our team will work with partners to develop, curate and share related thematic content for the GYEO community.
On Thursday, April 30 we jump started the conversation with a GYEO Virtual “Town Hall” that brought nearly 300 attendees together with thought leaders from across our community to offer their insights on the impact of COVID-19 on youth economic opportunities. Speakers and discussants represented funders and policy makers, international implementing organizations, private industry, global youth networks, and young leaders. Together we explored:
The immediate impacts of COVID-19: what this has meant for young people and how our organizations have pivoted;
How what we learn now can inform a future “road map” for building more resilient systems for youth economic opportunity in a post-COVID-19 world.
The wide ranging discussion surfaced key themes and topics that we will explore in greater depth in the months ahead through online engagement, curated content and newsletters designed to share information, learning, and opportunities for collaboration as our community works to respond and rebuild.
2020 GYEO Activities
Summit Technical Tracks
In just a few months, the coronavirus pandemic demonstrated the fragility of our social and economic systems, especially for young people. Yet the crisis also highlighted the resilience of youth and created new pathways to meet their livelihood goals. Youth economic opportunity practitioners, funders, and youth leaders are trying to make sense of this changing landscape, adapt their activities in the short- term to support resilience, and consider how to build stronger systems to support youth social and economic inclusion in the future.
To respond to the impact of COVID-19 on the youth development and economic opportunity sector, we invite you to develop proposals that speak to the challenges, lessons, and opportunities you are experiencing during this time.
Proposals should connect directly to one of the four technical tracks (click on the links below to learn more), but speak to the overarching theme of the 2020 GYEO Summit. As you develop your proposals, we invite you to consider one or more of the following questions.
In what ways have our systems failed young people and how have they supported youth during this global crisis?
What have you, your organization or industry learned as you adapted to the impacts of the pandemic? (e.g., what tools have you used? What partnerships and relationships have been most valuable and why? What lessons in innovation will you apply to future youth economic opportunities programs, policies, or investments)?
The informal or self-employed workforce is bearing the brunt of the economic fallout from the pandemic. What lessons have we learned to inform how we prepare youth for self-employment and entrepreneurship? What systems are needed to support this workforce against the next global pandemic or economic shock?
As global conversations shift from a focus on rapid economic growth to one of rebuilding after the pandemic, how are we preparing young people for that new economy? How do we ensure youth have the skills, access and resources to not just participate but help rebuild our global economy? What industries will represent opportunity and demand? And how do we avoid deepening inequality among young people in the rush to rebuild our global economy?
As we rebuild, how can we better protect young people against economic, social, and environmental shocks? What have been the most immediate impacts on the youth populations where you work? What are some specific ways young people’s experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic will inform how you design, implement, and evaluate your programs in the future?
While COVID-19 affects us all, the impact it has on at-risk and vulnerable youth (e.g., gender, disability, refugee and IDP populations, youth in conflict settings) is far greater. If your organization serves vulnerable youth populations, what specific lessons or insights from the COVID-19 pandemic should inform how we implement programs, design funding and policies, and/or engage youth?
What are you hearing and learning from young people in your programs or global networks about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their day-to-day lives? What concerns or hopes are they raising, and in way are young people themselves responding as leaders to the impact of the crisis in their communities?
Summit Technical Tracks
Building a Foundation
Building a Foundation track is focused on the unique combination of skills that young people need to be resilient and achieve long-term social and economic success. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, what do we need to do to prepare youth to have the skills to adapt and navigate a changed global economy?
The track incorporates a cross-cutting focus on youth engagement, gender, technology, systems-based approaches, and a healthy workforce.
- What are examples of effective models and approaches for supporting social and emotional learning in youth (e.g., online learning, hybrid online and face-to-face, integrated into formal education, stand-alone non-formal education, cross-sectoral, PYD, work-based learning, other)? How are these approaches being re-thought, accelerated or applied in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people? What special considerations are there for boys versus girls? For at-risk or marginalized youth? For youth with disabilities? What do we know today about effectively engaging youth in social-emotional skills development?
- The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic means that access to technology and digital skills will be in even greater demand by educational institutions, employers, training providers and young people themselves. What are examples of how to increase access and scale digital skills among young people? How do we extend access to young people in rural or disconnected areas? What are examples of effective models and approaches for teaching digital skills, particularly for at-risk, marginalized, or out-of-school youth? What are examples of gender-inclusive strategies for young women and girls to pursue training and careers in digital technology? How are these strategies being applied now, as the COVID-19 pandemic highlights the digital divide among youth globally?
- What is the future of TVET programs in a post-COVID-19 world? How are we beginning to rethink traditional training methods as industries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic change, evolve or fail? What will successful partnerships between training providers, governments and employers to achieve scale look like?
- What are the key features of an “entrepreneurial mindset” and why is this skill important for all youth entering the world of work today? How can these skills be taught and measured? What are specific examples of how teaching entrepreneurial skills can be incorporated into broader skills development training in other non-entrepreneurship related fields for young people as we rebuild from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How have program models and approaches been adapted for cultural norms and diverse youth populations (gender-sensitive, gender -inclusive, marginalized, and/or trauma or conflict-affected youth)? How can we help mitigate widening inequality among global youth populations as the skills requirements continue to evolve? (e.g, the digital divide).
- What are examples of professional development training approaches or tools used by youth development workers, teachers, socio-emotional and trauma specialists, and others working directly with at-risk youth? How do we select, train and retain youth development workers. More broadly, how do we as practitioners build our own capacity to work effectively with young people in our programs?
- How do we work with and train other important adults (parents, community members, front-line managers and employers, policy makers) to better support the development of critical skills in young people? What are examples of successful mentoring programs in the workplace, including e-mentoring?
- How do we help build the capacity and skills of youth-led organizations in different communities, particularly in a world that demands remote and online engagement? What are examples of adult-youth partnerships in this space that can offer valuable lessons or models for how to work with young changemakers?
- What are examples of effective youth engagement strategies or tools in the design, measurement, and evaluation of skills development focused programs?
- How do we measure socio-emotional skills development in young people? What tools are available and how do we choose the appropriate method of measurement for the context in which we’re working?
- What does the recent research say on what works best in developing and measuring socio-emotional learning for youth?
- What skills are developed via various youth development strategies (sports, arts/music/theater, youth recreation/clubs, service learning, youth leadership, etc.)? How does the actual skill development occur?
- How do we help staff of youth development programs understand the need to build their own social and emotional skills? What are tools they can adopt to help them develop and measure these types of skills?
- What are examples of successful system-wide integrations of social and emotional skills in schools and other youth training programs?
- Women in the workforce have been disproportionately impacted by economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. What are specific gender considerations when it comes to building skills in young people? Are there strong examples of gender-aware, gender-sensitive or gender-transformative strategies that have emerged in response to the ongoing challenge of achieving gender parity in the workforce?
- What tools, strategies or policies can help create more youth-inclusive opportunities for skills development, especially for at-risk and marginalized youth (minority youth, LGBTQ, youth with disabilities, other)?
- What are the policy implications for the growing demand for blended skills for young people in search of economic opportunity? Are there state or country-level examples of successful government partnerships that promote system-wide approaches to skills development for youth?
- Mental health and wellbeing are critical issues as communities struggle with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. How does trauma and mental health factor into skills development and economic opportunity for young people? How can programs incorporate attention to these issues in their skills development strategies? What are some of the challenges and/or solutions for addressing mental health needs among young people at scale?
- As global business struggles to adapt to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, what is the role and responsibility of private industry to support and scale skills development in young people, particularly digital skills that are increasingly in demand? How do we engage employers earlier in the education and training process to help bridge the gap between supply and demand? What are examples of employer-driven investments in skills development on-the-job?
- How do we better engage young people in skills development programming, as participants, entrepreneurs and partners, evaluators? Are we building the skills and capacity of our own program staff to work effectively with young people on the ground?
Ready for the Global Workforce
The Ready for the Global Workforce track explores young peoples’ preparation for, access to, and participation in the formal economy. The track is 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. This year we consider these questions against the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the global economy now, and in the future.
The track includes a cross-cutting focus on topics such as youth engagement, gender, partnerships, a healthy workforce, technology, systems change, and policy.
The Changing Workforce & Industries of Opportunity
- As industries disappear, adapt or recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly those whose workforces are predominantly young like hospitality and tourism and food services, where should we look for youth economic opportunity in the next ten to twenty years (e.g., technology; financial intermediaries, healthcare, renewables and green jobs, other)? How are educators, training providers, employers, and policy makers responding (or not) to the impact of COVID-19 and what are we learning about industries and youth economic opportunity as a result? What are examples of youth-led innovation in these spaces?
- In past years, we’ve explore some of the specific impacts of new automation and digital technologies on employment prospects for youth employment. As the COVID-19 pandemic increases demand for technology, digital skills and access, how are we working to address the digital divide in the workforce, and ensure that technological opportunity for some young people does not result in greater inequality for others? What are examples of technology being used to increase access and inclusion of more young people in work readiness opportunities and can we scale these ideas?
- What is the role of disruptive innovation or technology to connect youth with economic opportunity, particularly as we are pushed to rapidly expand and scale access? What are specific examples of technologies (e.g., digital job matching platforms, job boards, financial tools, etc.) that have been effective in developing economies where most youth economic opportunity takes place in micro, small, and medium enterprises?
- What are examples of platforms that young people are using to gather labor and market information, connect to employment opportunities,, or generate livelihoods in the formal and informal economy? What can we learn from how youth access and use online information as we try to respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How can technology in turn help us to better understand the interests and capacities of youth to be the drivers of their own economic development and that of their communities in a global economy that’s in recovery?
- In an increasingly mobile marketplace, how can we establish credible credentialing systems for young people and employers? Can we support youth populations to document and carry with them their work experience and/or credit history even as they migrate between rural and urban settings, formal and informal employment, and seasonal agricultural work? How should we think about digital badging and credentialing for youth in an economy that is increasingly remote and online?
Rural Economies & Agriculture
- Agriculture is not an emerging economy for youth but rather a real and significant industry that needs to be better understood. How do shocks like the changing environment or a global health crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic impact rural economies and youth economic opportunity in agriculture, including off-farm agribusiness?
- How do we gather rural labor market information that can help us better understand what opportunities exist for young people? Relatedly, what are strong examples engagement and partnership with the private sector to advance rural youth economic opportunity in rural settings? What can we do to better connect youth in rural areas to digital information, banking, finance and other services that will be essential as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- What are examples of youth-led innovation in agriculture? How are young people in rural settings responding to the challenges they face?
Employer Engagement & Work-Based Learning
- What types of employment models (e.g., sharing businesses, microwork, digital jobs) and program methods (e.g., competency-based education and training, work-based learning, career guidance, vocational/technical education, apprenticeships) can best prepare youth for a lifetime of learning and earning? How are employers thinking about a post-COVID-19 workplace and how to prepare young people for a different kind of economy?
- How do we thinking about hands-on applied learning (internships, work-based learning, apprenticeships, etc.) that improve young people’s chances for long-term employment in a post-COVID-19 world? How do we adjust these methods and approaches to account for gender, youth with disabilities, or other marginalized youth?
- How can educators and employment service providers most effectively partner with the private sector to ensure demand-driven services, opportunities for work-based learning and information about careers, and access to employment opportunities? How are public-private partnerships meeting the demands of young people and that of the new global marketplace?
- How can we understand the impact of climate change and environment on youth economic opportunity? What are examples of work readiness programs that are responding to these impacts? How are young people leading on this issue when it comes to economic opportunity? Can lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and how this shock has impacted the global economy offer insights into how we plan for environmental change and youth economic opportunities?
- What lessons or strategies can work readiness programs implemented in conflict-affected settings offer us as we try to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic?
- What are the policy implications of today’s global crisis for youth workforce investments in a post-COVID-19 world? What has the impact of the virus revealed about our social and economic systems, and how should we respond to ensure more inclusive, equitable and inclusive economic opportunity for youth in the future?
- How do we address gender parity and youth economic opportunity which now faces even greater challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? What are examples of gender-sensitive and gender-inclusive strategies for work readiness programs? How can technology pose both a challenge and an opportunity for gender parity among youth in an economy recovering from the crisis?
- What are examples of effective strategies to support young women and girls’ inclusion in traditionally male-dominated industries, such as ICT, manufacturing, construction, etc.? Which industries have shown the potential to engage young women and girls in skilled jobs, and what are examples of programs that are taking advantage of this potential? How can lessons to-date on these issues inform our response in a post-COVID-19 world?
- How are workforce development programs incorporating systems-based approaches that engage families for example, and/or that incorporate a focus on mental health and trauma supports for youth to help promote a healthy workforce?
Livelihoods Through Self Employment
The Livelihoods through Self-Employment Track addresses the rise of self-employment in the formal economy, and the high levels of informality in most developing economies. Even as self-employment and entrepreneurship can offer greater freedom and self-reliance for some, this trend also poses critical challenges for many. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how deeply vulnerable the predominantly young, self-employed, gig, contract, and seasonal workforce is to shocks. How can we re-think self-employment and entrepreneurship in light of the challenges and opportunities presented by the current crisis? How do we ensure that as we rebuild, that young people are better protected and able to build their own businesses in a recovering economy?
The track includes cross-cutting topics such as youth engagement, gender, technology, healthy workforce, systems change and policy, among others.
What types of skills and assets do young people need to successfully navigate self-employment in today’s gig economy, especially in emerging and informal economies? How might training in entrepreneurship-based skills support young people to navigate self-employment and informality? What skills will be most essential as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic?
What are examples of tools, strategies or interventions that are being deployed to support youth who are self-employed or entrepreneurs and impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? As we rebuild post-crisis, how do we help young people achieve economic identify, greater job security and protections, moving from wage work to more secure livelihoods?
What specific challenges and opportunities do young women encounter in self-employment, and what are examples of gender-sensitive interventions (programs or policies) designed to address these issues? How can these types of programs be deployed now in response to the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic?
What can we learn directly from young people who are self-employed about the challenges and the opportunities they are facing now, and how are we incorporating this feedback into our COVID-19 responses?
What types of skills and assets do young people need to be successful entrepreneurs? How do we measure success for entrepreneurship beyond income and assets? How do we support learning through failure and develop resilience in young entrepreneurs, especially in a quickly changing environment? What does resilience look like for youth entrepreneurs in a recovering economy?
How are young entrepreneurs using new technologies and how are they beginning ventures in technologically-focused fields? What opportunities exist in non-traditional sectors for youth (e.g. solid-waste management, green economy and renewables, healthcare, education)? What are examples of youth-led innovation that uses technology in ways we should consider as we rebuild in a post-COVID-19 world?
Are youth entrepreneurs really creating jobs for other youth? Which ones create jobs and for whom?
What types of opportunities exist for youth entrepreneurs in rural settings? How can we support agro-entrepreneurs? What is their role as we try to protect and rebuild global food systems impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
What does an entrepreneurship-friendly policy environment look like, particularly for a global economy in a recession or a recovery? What are key constraints (e.g. land tenure, access to finance, business registration, discrimination)? What do we know now about the role of mentorship for entrepreneurs?
What can incubators and accelerators do to better support young entrepreneurs to start, sustain and grow their businesses? Are we sufficiently preparing young entrepreneurs for failure?
What are the links between formal and non-formal entrepreneurship (e.g., should young people be pulled toward formal entrepreneurship?) How do we facilitate transitions from a micro to small to medium enterprise? How do we weigh the potential protection of the formal economy against the cost to young entrepreneurs?
What are critical mechanisms for supporting and financing young entrepreneurs, how do we help them mobilize diverse sources of capital, and work with financial institutions and other intermediaries (e.g. mobile money providers) to develop inclusive financial products for necessity or growth-oriented enterprises?
How can we better support, listen to, and partner with young social impact entrepreneurs who are working to address so many of same global challenges that we are? What can we learn from young people who are innovating in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to support their communities?
How does gender impact self-employment or growth-oriented entrepreneurship? How are self-employment or entrepreneurship interventions responding to specific challenges related to gender inclusion and discrimination?
Can we improve conditions and protections for young people working in self-employment in the formal and informal economy now and in the future? What aspects of the formal economy can be adapted for the informal economy, and what policy changes are needed to support these changes?
What is the role of business to improve the conditions of self-employment, gig work, contract work and seasonal work for young people so that they are less vulnerable to future shocks? How can we partner with the private sector on creative solutions for self-employed young people, including labor protections and access to benefits (health, financial management tools, etc) typically reserved for those engaged in full-time employment?
Global Context Matters
The Global Context Matters track explores how social, health, and environmental factors impact youth security and economic opportunity. As the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates, young people are especially vulnerable to social, health, environmental and economic shocks. Global trends like the reduced bargaining power, economic insecurity, and an uncertain job landscape for example, long raised critical questions about widening inequality. The global pandemic has put the resulting vulnerability of our systems and young people into stark relief. How can we support young people’s economic and social inclusion through youth engagement, programs and policies now and as we rebuild in a post-COVID-19 world? This challenge is made more acute when we consider the significant impact on economic opportunity by cross-cutting issues like gender, conflict, mass migration, climate change, and other social and economic shocks prior to or resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The track also includes a cross-cutting focus on youth engagement and leadership, and systems change and policy.
What are specific gender considerations when it comes to building skills in young people? Are there strong examples of gender-aware, gender-sensitive or gender-transformative strategies that have emerged in response to the ongoing challenge of achieving gender parity in the workforce?
How do we address gender parity and youth economic opportunity? What are examples of gender-sensitive and gender-inclusive strategies for work readiness programs? How can technology pose both a challenge and an opportunity for gender parity among youth in a changing world of work?
What are examples of effective strategies to support young women and girls’ inclusion in traditionally male-dominated industries, such as ICT, manufacturing, construction, etc.? Which industries have shown the potential to engage young women and girls in skilled jobs, and what are examples of programs that are taking advantage of this potential?
How does gender impact self-employment or growth-oriented entrepreneurship? How are self-employment or entrepreneurship interventions responding to specific challenges related to gender inclusion and discrimination?
What specific challenges and opportunities do young women encounter in self-employment, and what are examples of gender-sensitive interventions (programs or policies) designed to address these issues?
What are critical gender-specific considerations for working with increasingly mobile youth populations (economic migrants, refugees and IDPs)? What are gender-sensitive strategies, tools or approaches being effectively adopted by programs aimed at providing training and economic opportunities for these youth populations?
How do gender considerations impact design and implementation of programs aimed at improving economic opportunities for youth, especially in conflict-affected settings? What have been the outcomes for young women and girls as a result of these programs?
Conflict & Youth Economic Opportunity
Around the world, there are examples of how gangs and extremist groups are stepping in where local and national governments are not to deliver aid and community services during the COVID-19 crisis. What does this mean post-crisis for young populations in search of social and economic security, and how they perceive and/or trust in government institutions? What are the implications for countries trying to rebuild their economies and get their youth populations back into the workforce?
As we respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, what can we learn from successful approaches, tools (including technology), or strategies deployed by programs implemented in conflict affected settings, and/or for youth populations impacted by violence and displacement?
How can the latest research in trauma-informed care and neuroscience inform program models for youth economic opportunities, particularly as we respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic?
What is the role of policy makers in helping to reduce cultural and normative constraints to youth economic inclusion (e.g., youth stigma, negative stigma associated with certain at-risk youth populations or with youth from certain neighborhoods and communities?) How do these insights apply to a global health crisis like the one we face right now?
Beyond economic opportunities, how can we also engage youth as peacemakers and positive change agents? What are examples of youth-led innovation and action in this space?
How can youth economic opportunities programs better integrate strategies to address mental health and trauma support for young people in different settings?
How do issues of mental health and trauma impact the wider environment in which we implement youth programs (such as families, teachers and coaches, youth mentors, other?) and what are examples of effective models or tools for addressing these challenges?
How can our understanding of adolescent brain development inform our ability to design better programs, policies and frameworks for young people impacted by mental health and trauma?
How does displacement due to conflict and crisis affect youth refugees’ and migrants entrepreneurial mindsets? What have we learned about how to address the specific needs and the potential of these populations, and where are the knowledge gaps that must be addressed?
What are effective strategies and tools to help provide key supports for youth migrants and refugees dealing with trauma, while also supporting learning, reskilling and economic opportunity?
How do we understand the broader impacts of youth migration on today’s global economy, as well as host and leaving communities? What are the economic growth implications for mass youth migration? How might this understanding inform more youth-inclusive policies and programs targeting youth migrant populations?
Global Shocks & Resilient Systems
What can we learn from the social and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people that can help us prepare for future health, economic or environmental shocks?
As we rebuild from COVID-19, what can we learn from programs or policies that are responding to environmental challenges by engaging youth in new and emerging industries such as green jobs and renewables?
What are examples of youth leading the fight against COVID-19 in their communities and what can we learn from young people as we re-imagine more inclusive and sustainable systems? What about other examples of youth innovation such as sustainable farming or other entrepreneurial efforts in their communities? How can we best support and build the capacity of young entrepreneurs working in this space?