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El Salvador: USAID Bridges to Employment

At-risk Salvadoran youth face pragmatic obstacles to fuller participation in their community and local economy, such as the threat of gang violence at school and in the workplace. Female youth face cultural expectations and LGBTI youth contend with endemic stigma and prejudice. At the most basic level, there are logistical challenges such as transportation (especially for disabled youth) and childcare for those with family responsibilities. Bridges to Employment empowers youth to pursue new pathways to economic empowerment by supporting youth to develop relevant skills and to transition to employment or self-employment.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Bridges to Employment project, led by DAI and in partnership with Plan International and JBS International, aims to link over 20,000 at-risk youth-especially young women and vulnerable populations-to basic social resources of work, knowledge, security, and social capital to foster social inclusion through employment opportunities. The project will advance three objectives: 1) Improved enabling environment promoting workforce development of at-risk youth in targeted high-growth sectors; 2) Improved quality of workforce development services to effectively insert at-risk youth into targeted high-growth sectors; and 3) Improved workforce readiness demonstrated by targeted at-risk youth. The project will work with youth, employers, training institutions, and other stakeholders in 15 of El Salvador’s high-crime municipalities.

Plan is a key partner and leads Objective 3, working directly with youth to increase their employment and self-employment opportunities. This project will allow Plan to continue to promote and validate our global Pathways Approach to Youth Economic Empowerment by scaling up Plan previous youth employment programming in El Salvador 10 times (from reaching 2,000 to 20,000 vulnerable youth).

To promote improved workforce readiness demonstrated by targeted at-risk youth, Plan will lead major activities including the implementation of a comprehensive Participatory Youth Assessment and the development and implementation of soft and life skills training curriculums. Moreover, Plan will facilitate alliances with service providers to improve access to workforce development training and basic education opportunities for at-risk youth. Through business incubation, Plan will support the development of youth entrepreneur initiatives, driven by identified market demands. Plan will also facilitate access to career counseling and mentoring services for at-risk youth and material support as youth transition to jobs.

Project Start Date
November 2015
Project End Date
August 2020
Technical Areas Covered
Learning Opportunities for Out-of-School Youth and Youth Opportunities for Income Generation

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