D-Lab: Setting free the catch 101 of youth unemployment
Building skills are needed to find a job, but by having a job, you can very quickly gain skills. Breaking out of this catch 101 is tough, but possible. I experienced this during my undergraduate years at the University of California, Davis, where I participated in a course called D-Lab. This course (http://piet1.ucdavis.edu/projects/), modeled after a similar program at MIT (http://d-lab.mit.edu/) allowed diverse student teams to conduct pro-bono feasibility work for non-profit or low income organizations around the world, mainly with regards to issues in developing countries. This model has been very impactful, and I believe holds fruit for other parts of the world.
Although not necessarily research but personal experience, this opportunity gave me the chance to gain outside experience in development work (as well as understand how it is to serve a client), it gave the organization free consulting from trained and qualified students, and it built a model at the university that created a better pathway for students to graduate and actually have a clearer pathway towards employment. Spread over three academic quarters, this course gave students the skill set to conduct a feasibility study (quarter 1), real world experience working with a partner organization (quarter 2), and then the opportunity to go into the field and work with that partner (quarter 3). This win-win-win helped students like me move forward. This is especially important because it gave students the understanding of how it would be to consult for a project, which is otherwise difficult to get into. This simple model, which I refer to as "D-Lab" is a great way to educate for careers and issues that are relevant.