Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE): Pardee Initiative Partners with the World Bank

World Bank staff share their definitions of "A Good Job"

Students Crystal Huang and Nelly Mejia attended and wrote about the launch of S4YE.

S4YE is a major initiative by the World Bank and other partners to identify and support effective and scalable solutions for youth employment in low and middle income countries. It grows out of a recognition both of the massiveness of the youth unemployment problem—particularly in the Middle East/North Africa and Sub-Saharan African regions—and the fact that, despite the huge amount of resources and programs in existence, the evidence base on which interventions or policies are effective remains thin and scattered.


Several aspects of what the coalition is doing are innovative:

  • First, it is comprehensive, compiling the full body of rigorous evidence on effective programs for youth employment, including training, job creation, entrepreneurship development, private-public sector and private initiatives, as well as broader labor market policies affecting youth. The Coalition created a “blueprint” for new programs that builds on what is rigorously known.
  • Second, the emphasis is on scalability and the transformation of evidence into policy action through extensive dissemination work and interaction with policymakers; the process does not stop with the assembling of evidence.
  • Third, the coalition recognizes the key role to be played by the private sector, both as partners in the coalition itself and more broadly as partners in interventions and policies for youth employment. In particular, the coalition seeks to engage the private sector—including both large international firms and those based in low and middle income countries—not from the perspective of a model of donations but rather, one of investments in programs that yield returns.

S4YE also acts as major funder of youth employment programs and their evaluations through a competitive process, with funding provided through the World Bank. Each evaluation adds to S4YE's knowledge base.

Partners and Roles

In addition to the World Bank and RAND, S4YE partners include Accenture, a leading multinational management consulting and technology services firm; Plan International, a major global organization directed at ending child poverty and increasing development; and International Youth Foundation and Youth Business International, two prominent NGOs focused on youth in low and middle income countries.

Pardee RAND doctoral candidates Nelly Mejia and Crystal Huang with RAND senior economist Peter Glick

Nelly Mejia, Peter Glick, and Crystal Huang at an S4YE event in 2014

RAND plays a key intellectual role in the coalition. Pardee RAND professor Peter Glick and students Gabriela Armenta, Ifeanyi Edochie, Crystal Huang, and Nelly Mejia took a lead role in designing the approaches to developing the knowledge base, creating the blueprint for transferable and scalable interventions, developing strategies for dissemination and policy impact, and setting out the evaluation criteria for funding interventions.

In subsequent years, the RAND team continued to work with Pardee RAND alum David Robalino, director of the Labor Markets and Youth team with the Social Protection unit of the World Bank to shape the S4YE research program, preparing a comprehensive study on the role of the private sector in youth employment and contributing to the S4YE 2015 Flagship Report. The team helped to prepare the annual 2016 S4YE report, which focused on youth migration and employment, and participated in other aspects of S4YE planning and research.


The World Bank published its inaugural flagship report, Toward Solutions for Youth Employment: A 2015 Baseline Report, which is available on their website; Peter Glick, Crystal Huang, and Nelly Mejia helped with that report.

The RAND team members also published the following paper: