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USAID

Executive Summary – summarizing the entire period of performance:

Workforce Development Initiative – “Preparing disadvantaged youth for 21st century jobs” was initiated by CAP Foundation with the support from USAID in 2006 to demonstrate a large scale workforce development initiative in the non-government sector. It was designed to link education to employment opportunities and to address the huge issue of skills mismatch. It was anticipated that the experience from this initiative will form an evidence base to influence government policies. The program was primarily designed to contribute in making the workforce development inclusive, equitable and effective for new economy jobs by institutionalizing partnerships.

CAP Foundation’s “Ek Mouka-Workforce Development Initiative” model’s uniqueness is the manner in which the following aspects are combined and incorporated in linking learning & livelihood:

1. A learning model free from access barriers specific to vulnerable youth
2. Market-oriented, competency-based employability skill development
3. A model feeder line for higher education
4. Active and continuous participation of the industry at every stage
5. Institutionalized process tools

The model, now adopted by several NGOs, governments and corporations, has demonstrated a new paradigm in community-based learning and livelihood promotion opportunities for disadvantaged youth, which is both sustainable and replicable. Most importantly, it effectively addresses disconnect between training of the youth and employment opportunities.

Succinct history of award that tracks original program description/scope of work and material programmatic modifications

USAID India floated a request for concept note in 2006. In response to this request, CAP submitted the concept note. After following the selection process, the concept note was shortlisted and CAP was asked to submit a request for proposal. USAID also provided financial support for design of the proposal. A detailed proposal was submitted for USD 5 million. As a part of the selection process, CAP made presentations to the committee on the proposal. A due diligence of the organization’s capacity was taken up by USAID as part of the selection process.

The grant was awarded to CAP Foundation for the Workforce Development Initiative: Preparing disadvantaged youth for 21st century jobs. However, the award was modified to USD 4m. The proposal was also modified to implement the program in two phases: – core phase and extension phase. As per the terms of the award, CAP was required to mobilise equal amount as grant through other sources and partnerships. This would mean that every rupee that was granted by USAID, CAP was required to mobilise an additional rupee. CAP mobilized these resources through partnerships with Gujarat Urban Development Mission, Rajasthan Mission on Livelihoods, Haryana Labor Welfare Board, Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Food Processing of Government of India, Department of Youth services AP and 21 corporates. The corporates included Tata Steel, Reliance Haryana SEZ Ltd., Reliance Energies, Moserbaer Trust, Tata Consultancy Services, Arvind Mills, Genpact, DLF, JUSCO, Ballarpur Industries Ltd, Microsoft, Lucent Alcatel and Pfizer India

USAID/India support through grant no. 386-G-00-06-00125-00 helped the Ek Mouka model to scale up. Initiated in September 2006, the program was implemented in two phases – the first 24 months (Sep 06 – Sep 08) formed the core program phase and the subsequent 24 months (Oct 08- Sep 10), the expansion phase.

During the core program phase, Ek Mouka was implemented in the three regions of National Capital Region, Maharastra and Jharkhand, reaching out to over 15,872 disadvantaged youth in these regions. At the same time an institutional mechanism was put in place to scale up the model much beyond these numbers. The program during this period, demonstrated scale up and institutionalised CAP’s key processes such as community mobilization to target the most vulnerable young men and women, labor market inventory through market scan, business mentor networks, capacity building of facilitators (trainers), curriculum development in new competencies and interface with industries.

In the subsequent expansion phases (Oct 08-Sep10) the program was scaled up beyond the initial three states following a wider “target of opportunity” approach and set up to benefit an additional 75,000 youth across 15 states in the country. The major emphasis during this phase has been to spread the footprint of the Ek Mouka model across the country. At the same time the model itself has been improved upon and made more flexible and viable, keeping in view the long term sustainability of the initiative.

The proposed program helped to upscale CAP’s model by – consolidating its footprints in terms of experiences and lessons, developing sustainable institutions and institutionalizing partnerships- to influence underlying causes of increasing unemployment and lack of demand driven workforce development for growing new economy sectors and sub-sectors.

CAP established the three tier institutional framework comprising of Workforce Development Institute, Employability Exchanges and Employability Training Centers for creating linkages and to provide an enabling environment to replicate the process. The Employability Training Centers (ETCs) were the physical structures where the learning transaction between the facilitators and the students took place. The Employability Exchanges (EE) coordinated with the ETCs for monitoring and support, establishing local business network for placement and delivery of training modules. Its activities included sharing the best practices among the ETCs, dissemination and advocacy to new and existing service providers, stake holder servicing at the field level, forming alumni network, consolidating the MIS and conducting the visibility exercises like valedictory programs. The Work Force Development Institute (WDI) was the apex institution for the program with the EE’s and the ETC’s under its umbrella. Apart from serving as a project management unit it primarily provided support to the EE’s in designing, customization, setting standards and bench marks and identified resource partners for the EEs.

The program had four strategic objectives for achieving the program goal and purpose-

Strategy1: Expansion of the model and reach out to most vulnerable locations to sustain mobilization for increased and equitable participation in work force development through effective alumni network and local partnerships.

  • Providing employability skill development training to 93362 youth.
  • Placement opportunities to 67949 youth.
  • Additional 6638 college youth provided life skills in their colleges to enhance their employment chances.
  • 15 states.
  • 165 training centers (non- concurrent).

Strategy 2: Customized, contemporary and quality training for market oriented work force development by institutionalizing mechanism to systematically build competency of trainers and partners to sustain the training program and ETC. Some of the efforts to enhance quality and uniformity across the spread of the training centers were:

  • Standardized processes: ISO certified quality standards
  • Regular training of trainers
  • Digitized curriculum
  • Computerized MIS tracking : student profile, placements
  • Institutional framework (ETC-EE-WDI) to support curriculum review, business linkages, research and advocacy
  • Formalizing industry involvement through business mentor networks
  • Regular feedback through alumni and business interaction

This strategy was modified as Improving upon the Ek Mouka model

Strategy 3: Institutionalized program interface with industry relevant govt. and other institutions for placement, accreditations, certification and resource mobilization. This was ensured through:

  • Developing partnerships
  • Market scans
  • Revisiting of market scans
  • Establishing Business mentor networks
  • Sectoral council meetings

Strategy 4: Mainstream the program model or its best practices (processes, procedure, partnerships and pedagogy) in the work force development and positively influence policy and regulatory barriers through research, advocacy and networking. CAP Foundation’s Ek Mouka – Workforce Development Program is now well known in the field of employability skills. CAP is now registered as a Community College with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). The IGNOU certification helps the students to achieve both education qualifications as well as an opportunity to enter into the job market. This certification gives vertical movement to the students in their academic qualifications by enabling them to complete the certification course, then diploma and also to the associate degree. At each stage, the on – the – job training requirements for the students enables them to go into the work environment there by giving them a scope to earn while they still pursue their education. This certificate adds value in accessing jobs both within and outside the country and is internationally recognized. The evaluation process of the IGNOU requires students to go through both the internal and external evaluations. The creditisation system of IGNOU requires students to earn credits both in classroom practices as well as practical there by enhancing their competencies. Thus the much required Skill – knowledge – competencies were given to the trainees making them perfect choice in the work environment. The Community College framework completes the institutionalization of this programme.

Achievements and Key learnings:

Linking learning and livelihood: CAP’s Ek Mouka Employability Training model’s uniqueness is the combination of the following aspects incorporated in the module Linking Learning & Livelihood including:- an access barrier free aspiration learning model specific to vulnerable youth-age, location & category, market oriented competency based Employability skill development, a model feeder line for higher education, active and continuous participation of corporates at every stage, institutionalized process tools.

Aspirational Learning model: One of the essential components of CAP’s program is that it recognizes the gap between the growing sectors of the economy, where labor is demanded, and the type of labor available, and tries to bridge that gap. The aspirational learning model specific to vulnerable youth has been demonstrated across a variety of age groups, locations and categories.

Focus on last 20% – specific to vulnerable youth: The program defined ‘vulnerable youth’ as out-of-school individuals and high school graduates who are between 15 and 24 years of age, who have no further opportunities for study, who are jobless or underemployed. They lack income-earning skills and training and are therefore considered vulnerable to poverty and exploitation. Such youth may be rural school dropouts, migrants, who are most likely also school dropouts or illiterate youth from the villages or displaced persons; youth having school degrees and vocational training but who are still unemployed due to the poor educational quality and non-relevant curricula of these institutes; victims of violence or disasters, trafficked victims or those (particularly females) vulnerable to trafficking and slum dwellers, who are most likely also school dropouts.

Right time right place for right target group in transition economy: The CAP’s demonstrated footprint has clearly vindicated its model as positioned at the right time right place for right target group in transition economy.

Participation of private sector at every stage: CAP worked in tandem with corporate houses, which are the emerging sources of employment, using them for placement as also for business mentoring. The entire process from market scanning to placement was done with the cooperation and sometimes the guidance of these corporate houses under the Business Mentoring Network. The students who were placed with these corporates became the brand ambassador of CAP. They facilitated easy contact between CAP and the corporate on the one hand, and between CAP and the community on the other. For both the employer corporate and the community, the student who received placement became a symbol of capacity for training unemployed youth to make them market-capable; and to provide efficient and committed staff to the corporate world.