Youth Pathways to Leadership, Learning, and Livelihoods in Costa Rica

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Project Duration: September 2016 - September 2020

Fiscal Year & Funding Amount:
FY2016: USD 3,000,000

The Problem

In 2016, Costa Rica’s national statistics agency estimated youth unemployment at 16.6 percent, nearly twice the national average, and estimated that 17 percent of youth ages 15 to 24 neither study nor work. Unemployed youth without qualifications often turn to the informal sector for livelihoods, where they find many fewer protections and work under harmful and exploitative conditions. At the same time, a 2015 survey by Manpower reported that 46 percent of employers could not fill job vacancies due to lack of experience and technical training among applicants.

Our Strategy

This project brings together key government agencies, employers, workers’ organizations, and civil society to collaborate on establishing and expanding work-based training programs for youth, such as apprenticeships, with a focus on including vulnerable and marginalized youth. To do this, the project is helping identify improvements that can be made to laws and policies that would help businesses launch quality work training programs, providing tools and technical knowledge to employers and workers’ organizations to help them implement work-based training programs, and helping existing job training programs reach young people who are at high risk of becoming engaged in hazardous activities. 

The project focuses on building the capacity of national-level stakeholders, as well as that of local organizations currently implementing promising youth training models in the Limón district.

Grantee: YouthBuild International


Implementing Partners:
Paniamor Foundation


Contact Information: (202) 693-4843 / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)


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