This paper explores training programmes targeted to
disadvantaged youth in Latin America. Examples are drawn from Chile Joven,
Proyecto Joven (Argentina) and PLANFOR, the National Plan of Professional
Education in Brazil. The idea of these programmes is politically appealing and
some have been successful. Relatively reliable data show that youth find jobs in
those occupations sufficiently close to those for which they have been trained.
Such success is particularly noteworthy in that the record for similar
experiences implemented around the globe has been mediocre.
This paper compares the projects in terms of the quality of
training provided and the targeting mechanisms used; a larger theoretical
context within which these projects can be located is also presented. Thus
compared and understood, some interesting results emerge: the two 'Joven'
projects are strong on targeting but turn out to be weak on the quality of the
training courses they provide. PLANFOR courses, by contrast, tend to be of good
quality but poorly targeted. Thus, risking an exaggeration to illustrate the
point, whereas Chile and Argentina offer well-targeted training of relatively
poor quality, Brazil offers good training with weak targeting mechanisms. Each
system could learn from the