Reducing long-term joblessness among young people is a persistent challenge for Macedonia’s economic sector. Youth unemployment stands at 50 percent, and employers say that job applicants lack basic technical and work readiness skills.
From 2010–2016, EDC helped to match labor supply with demand through the USAID-funded Youth Employability Skills (YES) Network. The YES Network supported efforts by vocational education and training (VET) schools—attended by 65 percent of secondary school students in Macedonia—to create more formal links with the local economy and to get young people the skills they need to fill the jobs they want.
The YES Network equipped students with relevant job skills using EDC’s Work Ready Now! skills curriculum and by providing work-based learning opportunities and career counseling services. The network’s activities included:
- Working with students in Macedonia’s secondary schools, unemployed registrants with the Employment Service Agency (ESA), and other jobless youth
- Collaborating with secondary school teachers, staff from local ESA centers, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that work with young people
- Improving dialogue in local labor markets among employers and vocational and employment service organizations
- Helping public and private institutions respond to labor market needs through trainings and conferences
- Including youth with disabilities in all YES Network activities
- The YES Network re-established job clubs in seven ESA employment centers and established career centers in 52 secondary schools.
- Over 5,800 VET students completed one elective course in work readiness during the last four years. In addition, more than 2,400 students completed elective courses on work-based learning and about 1,500 students enrolled in career counseling activities.
- About 3,200 youth received the Work Readiness Skills training, with youth NGOs training another 200. In addition, 1,078 trainees were employed, and 81 placed as interns.
- The Research, Education, and Development Center (RED Center) is a local nongovernmental organization that was launched by former YES staff to continue to carry out work connecting youth to training, equipping youth with work readiness skills, and supporting civil society in Macedonia.