Skills are the global currency of the 21st century. The ability to acquire new skills throughout life, especially technical, social, and critical thinking skills, is crucial for full and equitable workforce participation. Throughout the Latin American and the Caribbean region, countries are already making strides to improve lifelong learning opportunities, investing in work-based learning, certification programs, and informal education.
Chile and Brazil are designing labor information systems to detect and anticipate skill shortages; upskilling and reskilling programs are being launched across Mexico; the Bahamas is piloting apprenticeship programs; and Honduras is exploring alternative certification schools to create better education and employment opportunities.
The skills gap in Latin America and the Caribbean continues to be the widest in the world. Lack of accessible, affordable, high quality, and effective learning opportunities means that two out of every five youth are not in education, employment, or training—with girls from vulnerable households disproportionately represented.
Learning achievement levels remain low by international standards, with rural youth less likely to attend school and more likely to drop out than their urban counterparts. At the same time, around 50 percent of formal Latin American firms cannot find local candidates with the skills they need and thus rely on applicants outside the region.