New Issue of Developing Alternatives Tackles the Jobs Challenge

October 11, 2012

Job losses during the worldwide economic slump continue to bedevil policy makers everywhere. Dismal employment prospects, especially for young people, have exacerbated social conflicts. In emerging economies, the global crisis has further complicated the challenge of integrating the informal sector.

The magnitude of the employment challenge is enormous. In the Middle East and North Africa alone, anywhere from 55 to 85 million jobs are needed to employ youth. The economic, social, and political costs of inaction are staggering.

Tackling these challenges requires new thinking—and the latest issue of DAI’s journal Developing Alternatives, titled The Jobs Challenge, sets out to provide that fresh perspective.

“We no longer live in a world where simple approaches yield simple solutions. It is high time to change the way we think about employment,” write editors Ulrich Ernst and Lara Goldmark in their introduction to the volume. “The current global crisis may offer an opportunity to do just that—by providing a sense of urgency, highlighting the limitations of traditional policy instruments, and calling for creative new approaches.”

In the issue:

  • Edward Sayre of the University of Southern Mississippi analyzes various dimensions of youth employment in the Middle East in the context of the Arab awakening and shows the consequences of government failure to uphold the social contract;
  • Ulrich Ernst outlines and evaluates the major levers in governments’ economic policy toolboxes;
  • Bryanna Millis and Marina Krivoshlykova explore the impact of rising labor productivity on job expansion;
  • Lara Goldmark and Karen Miller rethink the definition of “flexible labor markets” to include a broader range of employment options—from programs that allow low-income mothers access to childcare, transport, and shorter working hours to training programs that combine internships, on-the-job training, mentorship, and career counseling;
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) consultant and attorney Louise Williams presents an emerging workforce development model that allows practitioners to define the universe of key jobs along a value chain, identify the critical skill sets, and implement those upgrading initiatives for workers that make the best use of available resources; and
  • Manuk Hergnyan of the Economy and Values Research Center and Howard Williams of DAI delve into the policy options surrounding higher education and its role in the development and job creation process.

The Jobs Challenge will be formally launched on October 22 as part of a workforce development event at the Society for International Development office in Washington, D.C. Speakers include George Laudato, former Director of USAID’s Middle East Bureau (who served as a guest reviewer for the journal); Lara Goldmark and Bryanna Millis of DAI; Kathleen Beegle, Deputy Director of the World Development Report at the World Bank Group; and Branka Minic, Senior Director of Global Corporate & Government Affairs at Manpower Inc.

Follow the conversation on Twitter using #wkforcedev.

For a print copy of The Jobs Challenge or to be added to the electronic or print mailing lists for this and other DAI publications, fill out our sign-up form.

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