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 conducted by 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 great 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 the second plus a stipend while attending training and a group provided the training, stipend and a month-long paid internship in a factory. Data from 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. Gaining learning from initial project Dr. Abu S Shonchoy from IDE-JETRO, Dr. Christopher M Woodruff from Warwick University and Dr. Tomoki Fujii from Singapore Management University (SMU) aim 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. The current study will 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. In line with, a comprehensive survey will be conducted on the entire sample of the current study (2210 individuals) 30 months and 42 months following the initial intervention.
This study will be conducted in the Gaibandha district of Bangladesh in collaboration with Gana Unnayan Kendra (GUK), an NGO based in northern Bangladesh. The project is being conducting in partners association with International Growth Centre (IGC), Singapore Management University (SMU) and Gana Unnyan Kendra (GUK).
Using both family remaining in the villages of origin and mobile phone numbers, we expect to be able to resurvey substantially all of the initial participants.