Much of the research evaluating vocational training programs in Colombia focus solely on labor market outcomes after participation and do not account for future educational attainment. To fill this research gap, Maurice Kugler co-authored a study for the National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper series. This study used administrative data from Colombia to understand how a randomized vocational training program for disadvantaged youth impacted medium and long-term formal educational and labor market outcomes.
In Columbia, formal education and vocational training go hand in hand. Randomly selected participants in this program are more likely to complete secondary school than individuals who did not participate in the program. In addition, participants were more likely to attend and remain in tertiary (additional or post-secondary) education eight years after their assignment to the program.
Participants are also more likely to begin and remain in formal employment between three and eight years after being randomly assigned to the program. They are also more likely to have formal sector earnings that are at least 11 percent higher than people who did not participate in the program. An interesting spillover effect of this training program is that participants' family members are more likely to enroll in tertiary education, as well.
This study shows that job training programs structures like this one have the potential to increase social mobility for disadvantaged populations. In addition, there is potential for positive spillover effects, which should be considered.