Vocational training programs aimed at rapidly growing sectors have the potential to reduce skills gaps and improve firm productivity. Training may also improve the likelihoods of individuals who are disadvantaged by various socioeconomic conditions. However, vocational programs enhancing skills have often been unsuccessful, because they are not driven by industry-demand and market-linkages, and because they are not well targeted.
In a rigorous RCT-based impact study, Shonchoy et al. (2015) show that a training-program offered to women and men from poor rural households in northwest Bangladesh has significant effects on employment in garment factories in the greater Dhaka area. In the initial project, eligible individuals were randomly selected into four different treatment arms and a control: a group provided information about employment only; a group provided with information plus training in sewing; a group provided information and training plus a stipend while attending training; and a group provided the training, stipend, and a month-long paid internship in a factory. Data from a follow-up six months later shows a statistically significant and large employment effect of the training program when it is combined with the stipend or internship.
This project builds on the initial project and aims to expand that study into two important dimensions:
- First, the project will extend the previous study to measure the long-term impact of the training program on households and individuals. Researchers measure not only the impact on household food security, savings, and borrowing, but also the effect of industrial employment on individual physical and mental health and general well-being.
- Researchers conduct a comprehensive survey on the entire sample of the current study (2,210 individuals) 30 months and 42 months following the initial intervention. This health and well-being component of the study builds on important IGC-supported work by Blattman and Dercon (2015) on health effects of factory employment in Ethiopia.