NEW DELHI, INDIA (28 September 2017) — The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved an $80 million loan to help modernize Himachal Pradesh’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions and programs to enhance job prospects of the state’s youth.

“Himachal Pradesh has been growing steadily, with major development indicators improving significantly, since 2000. But there remain significant challenges particularly on youth employment,” said Shamit Chakravarti, an ADB Senior Social Sector Specialist. “To further boost its economy and productivity, young people in Himachal Pradesh must have the specific skills and training needed for the current labor market.”

Over the last two decades, overall literacy and enrollment rates for higher education in Himachal Pradesh have increased significantly, yet employability of high school and college graduates remains low because of the lack of alignment to the needs of the labor market. Estimated net demand for skilled workers in the state, meanwhile, is expected to reach 515,557 between 2017 and 2022 across various trades such as retail, healthcare, tourism and hospitality, and information technology.

The Himachal Pradesh Skills Development Project will help seize this opportunity by providing support in developing relevant and good quality TVET programs to instill young people with skills aligned with labor market needs. Specifically, the project will align Himachal Pradesh’s TVET programs to national skills certification standards, thereby, improving the employability and employment prospects of nearly 65,000 youth from 2017 to 2022.

The project will establish a polytechnic for women, six city livelihood centers, and seven rural livelihood centers, upgrade 11 employment exchanges into model career centers to build TVET awareness among youth, modernize training equipment, implement a training information system, forge partnerships with the private sector, and expand market-relevant training and livelihood development opportunities. Gender-sensitive counseling and outreach material will be prepared, and efforts will be made to raise female work participation rates. The project is categorized as gender equity theme.

The total cost of the project is $100 million, with the Government of India contributing $20 million. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.

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