Curriculum development refers to the organized preparation of the content to be taught in a particular training or class and how it will be taught. Curriculum development is an essential part of youth employment programming when the program involves youth training or training of trainers. The private sector is often not immediately considered in the development of curriculum. However, including employers or other private sector actors in curriculum development helps ensure that trainees develop skills valued and desired by local employers.
Curriculum development generally takes place in the planning stages of the project. The private sector can contribute to varying degrees. On one end of the spectrum, a potential employer can review a work-readiness curriculum or framework, offering suggestions to ensure that the curriculum is teaching the skills that he or she needs as an employer. The DACUM (Developing A CUrriculuM) process, at the other end of the spectrum, brings workers from highly skilled trades into workshops to identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to perform that job and the best way to instruct those professions. DACUM leverages the in-depth knowledge that private sector employees and employers have of a specific field to ensure that a program or organization can develop the most effective curriculum possible. A private sector contributor can fall anywhere within this spectrum, offering valuable advice on training content and form.
The project should be careful to involve private sector representatives who are invested in the project goals. Inviting business advisory council or alliance members, or businesses that have already been interviewed for a labor market assessment is preferable, as these organizations already know the project, its goals, and the benefits of participation.
The private sector has the best idea of what it needs in potential employees, and what it takes to start a business. Utilizing that knowledge to better hone curriculum strengthens the program, connecting training provided to the reality the youth will face upon entering the labor market or self-employment.
Curriculum review and adaptation can be a lengthy process. Ensure that private sector contributors have a focused task, so that they can use their available time to best serve the program’s goals. For example, they can be invited to the first day of a curriculum adaptation workshop to review the curriculum’s key topics and make suggestions for additions or greater emphasis.
Potential private sector contributors to a program should belong to sectors where youth might get jobs or start businesses. This emphasis will allow for valuable feedback that can translate into more focused curriculum and training.
An NGO-private sector partnership in Brazil that brought business into content and curriculum development, resulting in high job placement rates for program participants.
A site at Ohio State University that describes DACUM, the DACUM process, and steps for certification in the methodology.
Preparing for Work: Adapting Materials
This section of Preparing for Work guides practitioners through the steps of adapting an identified curriculum to the needs of the project, its context and its participants.
EQUIP3 Akazi Kanoze Youth Livelihoods Project
The Akazi Kanoze Youth Livelihoods Project has developed its core work readiness training curriculum by involving the private sector in the curriculum development process.
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