JOBLINGE – Joining Forces to Address Youth Unemployment

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The vision of the JOBLINGE initiative is to make a visible and sustainable contribution to the fight against youth unemployment.

Our objective is to provide disadvantaged, unemployed youth with the opportunity to earn a long term placement in an apprenticeship or job and thus lead a self-determined life.

Joblinge focuses on outcomes, aiming for fast but sustainable job placements. JOBLINGE, a six-month program with a placement rate of 70% percent is a faster, cheaper, and more scalable alternative than similar programs —and growing rapidly because of its success. To date, more than 5,000 underprivileged youths have participated in this program.

In Germany, 500.000 youths do not find jobs or apprenticeship positions even though skilled workers are lacking and many positions go unfilled. JOBLINGE targets young people between the ages of 15 and 24 who are unlikely to find employment on their own. About 30% of Joblinge participants have been unable to find a job for three to five years and have an average age of 20. More than 60% are children of immigrants or refugees. 70% come from families that already depend on welfare and some even have criminal backgrounds.

How it began: In 2008, the Boston Consulting Group and BMW’s Eberhard von Kuenheim Foundation created JOBLINGE, a collaboration of the private, public, and volunteer sectors to better prepare disadvantaged young people in Germany for the job market.

Here you find the most important information of the JOBLINGE initiative at a glance, more detailed information about the program and structure of the initiative can be found in the annual reports in the media library.

The initiative builds on four pillars:

Practical experience from day one

Practical experience from day one Youths are gradually prepared for working life—first in the “protected space” of the JOBLINGE locations in practical entrepreneurial projects, then through closely supervised internships in partner companies. Participants “earn” their apprenticeship with their own effort.

Few of JOBLINGE’s participants have found success in traditional, classroom-based learning environments. Through innovative performance workshops, teamwork and hands-on projects, participants gain self-esteem in addition to the professional and social skills needed to succeed. After building these skills, participants move on to closely supervised internships in partner companies. Finally, they earn an entry-level position that enables them to make the final transition to the workforce. By proving their skills in a real work environment, participants gain a deep and practical understanding of what it feels like to be meaningfully employed and to take on responsibilities that allow them to grow. These experiences are highly motivating.

Individual Mentoring and Support

Participants receive one-on-one coaching from full-time employees and are accompanied throughout the entire program by personal volunteer mentors.

Because of their difficult backgrounds, program participants struggle in a professional environment. That’s why Joblinge employees work intensively with the youths, supported by mentors from the community and the private sector. The mentor acts as confidant, coach and role model guiding the participant through the program and helping to deal with any issues that arise. Having access to someone who cares and listens is often a new experience for the youths, and these personal relationships are crucial as the participants strive to understand and overcome their past struggles. As one program mentor explained, “I realized how much my parents and my family gave me: trust, permanence, and responsibility. I want to share this with people who have lacked this support so far.” All mentors receive a professional preparation and supervision.

Bundled social commitment

Pillars 1 and 2 are only realized by closely integrating committed partner companies and private volunteers, and by close cooperation with the public sector, made possible by public and private financing. 

Each sector plays a critical role. The public sector refers unemployed youth to the program and provides part of the funding. Each Joblinge location has private-sector partners that support the organization and agree to offer participants jobs or internships. For participating companies, the partnership provides two benefits: an ongoing source of new employees who are supported and coached to success; and a way to give back to the community by offering job opportunities to disadvantaged youth. Volunteers from the partner organizations and the local community provide services such as mentoring, training, and project expertise. JOBLINGE also cooperates with multiple cultural institutions and foundations. This collaboration across sectors is critical, both as a source of training, experience, and jobs and as a way to offer youths a professional network that they would otherwise lack.

Entrepreneurial approach

Local partner networks implement the program on-site in the organizational framework of a local charitable stock corporation, supported by a national, non-profit umbrella organization.

JOBLINGE’s headquarters ensures that all Joblinge locations use identical proven methods and take the same approach to strategy, growth, quality standards, concept development, and impact measuring. Yearly reporting according to the social reporting standard (SRS) ensures high transparency for all partners. The entrepreneurial structure of a social franchise enables the scale up of JOBLINGE’s operations with multiple partners in various locations. The JOBLINGE network now has 16 locations across Germany and includes more than 1,400 companies, 1,200 mentors and trainers, and more than 40 government institutions such as the Federal Employment Agency and local ministries. More locations are under way. To support as many young people as possible, JOBLINGE hopes to have 20 locations by 2020.

The five key phases of the program

To show their commitment the participants are directed to work on a charitable group project. In the admission stage, candidates do volunteer work for a good cause, such as cleaning up a local park. Those who show up consistently for work and successfully complete this stage often experience their first success: earning a spot in the program. This goal is highly motivating and can lead to a more positive mindset as participants go from seeing themselves as beneficiaries of aid to benefactors of the community.

In the orientation stage, participants take part in a variety of practical group projects, such as making a movie, producing a podcast, writing a journal, organizing an event, or joining a dance or theater workshop. In so doing, they discover their interests and strengths, develop their social and professional skills, test their limits, and evaluate different types of jobs in a wide range of business and technical functions. Group projects are led by topic experts from partner organizations. Participants also get intensive one-on-one time with Joblinge employees aimed at revealing strengths, determining the most suitable job profiles, and addressing personal problems—such as homelessness, debt, lawsuits, or domestic violence—that often underlie their difficulties in finding work.

In the practical experience period closely supervised qualification internships at JOBLINGE partner companies follow to try out their new skills and prove themselves.

In the probation stage, participants spend three months as job candidates at a partner company, going through training and seeing if they are a good fit. If it works out, they earn an entry-level position at the organization.

JOBLINGE employees and personal mentors remain in contact and follow-up with participants and corporate partners until the apprenticeship has been completed to ensure that placements and sustainable.

Success and Challenges

Success

75% percent of JOBLINGE participants get jobs, and 80 percent stay at those jobs, results that are almost three times better than those achieved by some other programs. Because of JOBLINGE’s short time to results and the high job-retention rate of its participants, its cost per placement is much lower than that of alternative programs. This translates into government savings of up to €140,000 per sustainably placed participant.

Next steps and main challenges

Regional expansion: More offices within Germany are planned. Furthermore, JOBLINGE continuously works on improving the concept and is planning to offer an enhanced program tailored for young refugees. JOBLINGE also seeks to initiate reforms of the German transitional system between school and work. Securing government and private funding for operations and growth is our main challenge. With 65% governmental funding a main challenge of JOBLINGE’s growth initiative is to gain new partnerships with companies and foundations.

JOBLINGE Kompass for young refugees

In order to qualify young refugees and integrate them into the labor market as early as possible, the initiative developed a second program: JOBLINGE Kompass. It's aimed at young people between 18 and 25 years of age, who, in absolute numbers, make up the largest group of those arriving to Germany and for whom there are still only few opportunities.

The program's target group is participants of low to medium qualification with a high likelihood of being granted a visa. The concept is based on the success factors and tried-and-true elements of the existing JOBLINGE program. Its focus is for participants to gain qualifications hands-on and receive one-on-one support from volunteer mentors. Furthermore, the concept is supplemented with features such as language qualification (general and job-specific), intercultural trainings, and support for visits to the authorities. Youths, businesses, and volunteers are closely supported by the full-time JOBLINGE employees.

The goal of JOBLINGE is the highest possible qualification for participants—starting with a quick introduction to the German job market and, in a second step, a qualified vocational traineeship.

Get involved - Corporate Opportunities

JOBLINGE offers a broad spectrum of involvement opportunities. Partner businesses can mix and match different forms of commitment such as financial support, internship positions, employee mentoring to adapt involvement to your CSR strategy. JOBLINGE is focused on creating win-win collaborations that advance our vision and meet your company’s strategic priorities. An investment in JOBLINGE is an investment in your workforce and in the future of young adults.

Your Contact

Beate Krüger

Beate Krüger
Kapuzinerstraße 9d
80337 München

Phone: 0049 89 1250141 15
E-Mail: beate.krueger @ joblinge.de