CDDRL's International Crime and Violence Lab under PovGov recently released an impact evaluation of Jóvenes con Porvenir (Youth with Hope), a vocational training program in Zapopan, Mexico. The program offers free training courses for out-of-school youth aged 15-30 who live in the municipality. The goal of the program is to promote employment among young people, encourage school reinsertion, and reduce social exclusion and vulnerability to organized crime.
In Mexico, only 62% of 16 year olds are enrolled in school. About one fourth of Mexicans aged 15-29 are neither enrolled in school nor employed. Furthermore, about 43% of those aged 12 to 29 live in poverty. The youth living in Zapopan have better education and employment outcomes than the national average. Nevertheless, the metropolitan region of Guadalajara - where Zapopan is located - has experienced an increase in violence in recent years related to the proliferation of organized crime and gang activity.
Researchers Beatriz Magaloni, Alberto Diaz-Cayeros and Brenda Jarillo conducted the impact evaluation of Jóvenes con Porvenir. Using panel data at the individual level, the impact evaluation involved a quasi-experimental design with a treatment group (i.e. program beneficiaries) and a control group (i.e. youth not eligible to participate in the program). Further, the study analyzes heterogeneous effects by gender, age, and socio-economic status.
The results of the impact evaluation indicate that the program Jóvenes con Porvenir had a positive and statistically significant effects on the probability of getting a job, monthly income, hours of labor per week, access to professional networks, and beneficiaries’ general optimism about their future.
Currently, there is limited research on the effects of youth training models in developing countries. Given that Jóvenes con Porvenir has potential for replication and transferability to other Mexican states and developing countries, this impact evaluation study is of particular interest among policymakers in Mexico and Latin America, providing a vital contribution to existing literature.
Jóvenes con Porvenir is a public-funded program run by the government of Zapopan. This pioneering policy initiative was designed and implemented in response to the major social and economic challenges affecting young people. The program offers scholarships to young men and women not enrolled in school, so they can attend vocational training courses regardless of their employment status.