The Jordan New Opportunities for Women (NOW) program is intended to increase the rate of employment for new female community college graduates in Jordan. Participants are offered soft skills job training and/or job vouchers that reimburse employers at the minimum wage rate for up to six months over an 11-month period. (Note: This summary is for the voucher program only: see also ‘Jordan New Opportunities for Women – Training Program’ and ‘Jordan New Opportunities for Women – Voucher and Training Program.’) An experimental evaluation found that the offer of job vouchers had a statistically significant positive impact on employment in the short term, but most of this impact disappeared by the end of the study, and that being assigned to the voucher group had a statistically significant negative impact on the number of locations that a graduate was allowed by her family to go to by herself. The intervention also had statistically significant positive impacts on subjective measures including well-being and optimism.
DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM
Target population: recent female community college graduates
The New Opportunities for Women (NOW) program is intended to increase employment of new female graduates of community colleges in Jordan. Some of the graduates were offered job vouchers that guaranteed employers reimbursement at the minimum wage rate ($210/month), for up to six months, if they hired new graduates. Firms using the vouchers had to meet eligibility requirements, including being registered, having a bank account, and providing an offer letter with the graduate’s name and specific work duties. The non-transferable vouchers were valid for eleven months, and the graduates could use them with more than one employer. The program was advertised through the Chamber of Commerce, newspaper advertisements, and an official government web site. An information helpline was also made available to employers.
EVALUATION OF PROGRAM
Evaluated Population: There were 1,350 female graduates of eight public community colleges who participated in the study, representing 85 percent of all community college female graduates in Jordan. The typical graduate was 20 to 22 years old, unmarried, and had never been employed. Nearly half had studied administration and finance, one-quarter had studied medical assistance, and one in ten had studied to become a teacher. There were no statistically significant differences among the groups at baseline. At the time of the baseline survey, eight percent had found full-time work after graduation.
Approach: Baseline surveys were conducted for all second-year female students before their final examinations. Of the 1,395 students who passed their examinations, 1,349 were randomly assigned to one of four groups, with 300 in the job voucher group and 449 in the control group. Follow-up surveys were conducted at 6 and 14 months after the start of the interventions. Both rounds collected data on employment outcomes and the final survey also collected data on a range of well-being measures, including mental health, well-being, and empowerment.
Results: This study found that the offer of job vouchers resulted in a statistically significant positive impact on employment at the six-month follow-up, but this impact was no longer apparent at the 14-month follow-up. At the end of the study, the job voucher treatment had a statistically significant positive impact on labor force participation (working or looking for work). Assignment to the job voucher intervention resulted in a statistically significant positive impact on current subjective well-being, and a statistically significant negative impact on the number of locations that a graduate was allowed by her family to go to by herself. All other outcomes for the voucher group were non-significant.
SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION
Groh, M., Krishnan, N., McKenzie, D., Vishwanath, T. (2012). Soft skills or hard cash? The impact of training and wage subsidy programs on female youth employment in Jordan. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 6141.
KEYWORDS: Young Adults (18-24), College, Female only, Community-based, Skills Training, Employment/Earnings, Job Training/readiness
Program information last updated on 7/29/2014.