Giving Young People the Skills to Succeed
Globally, more than 75 million young people are unemployed and nearly one-quarter of the world’s youth are neither working nor studying. The consequences of youth unemployment are significant both for those who struggle to find gainful employment as well as society at large. Far too often we turn on the news to witness this growing sense of hopelessness and anger manifest itself in the form of mass migrations, protests, and violent crime.
International Youth Foundation (IYF) is a global nonprofit on a mission to give young people the skills to be healthy, productive, and engaged citizens. IYF is helping young people anywhere in the world gain access to a quality education, learn the skills needed to get a job, and ultimately become engaged in their communities. As an intermediary among NGOs, businesses, and governments, IYF set out to identify what works, bring it to scale, and ‘make the case’ for youth to the broadest possible audience.
The centerpiece of IYF’s workforce development efforts has been a soft-skills training program called Passport to Success. Passport to Success is an experiential learning program that equips young people with a range of skills to help them stay in school and acquire the education, professional skills, employment readiness, and confidence they need to succeed in life and in the workplace. Over the past 10 years, IYF has refined the course to be globally relevant and leveraged technology to reach increasingly large and diverse audiences.
This year, IYF will release the first comprehensive online version of the curriculum, with courses available in English, Arabic, Hindi, and Spanish. The online version of Passport to Success is a mobile-optimized game-based course built with Tin Can (xAPI) where learners virtually visit a variety of countries and cultures to learn and practice soft skills while learning about entry level job opportunities in growth industries. With support from the PepsiCo Foundation, IYF has embarked on a youth-informed agile development process from 2018 and into 2019 that has engaged hundreds of young people around the world to provide feedback on everything from the art style to the mini games in each lesson.
The target audience for Passport to Success Online is young people – with a particular focus on young women - between the ages of 16-29 who have access to the internet via a smart phone or computer, who are looking for a job, are about to enter the job market or simply want to have a fun and engaging way to build their skills. PTS Online is built for low-bandwidth environments and will be contextualized for a variety of settings, from Saudi Arabia to South Africa. Localized teacher support materials will also be created to assist teachers and trainers with incorporating the course into the classroom for blended learning programs.
Our Foundation has awarded IYF a technology grant to deploy the new online version of Passport to Success to a broader and larger audience of young people around the world. In the past 10 years, IYF has served 250,000 young people with Passport to Success. With our LMS in place, their team has set an ambitious goal of reaching 1 million more by 2025. We are proud to support IYF in their mission to give every young person the opportunity to realize his or her full potential.