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48% of Indian service sector companies cannot fill entry-level white-collar jobs (Manpower Talent Survey, 2018). Many urban poor young women whose parents work in blue-collar roles aspire for these jobs to upgrade their economic status, but cannot because of poor language skills, personality development and education. This problem is especially acute for young women from minority and marginalized communities in India. With around 15 million new white-collar jobs estimated to be created in 2021 (Assocham, 2020), there is a tremendous opportunity to lift hundreds of thousands of young women out of poverty by training and placing them into this aspirational job roles.
Research done by the SAGE Foundation determined that a majority of recruiters require a job candidate who has strong English communication skills, critical thinking ability, can work well with others and is pro-active with a professional work ethic. In addition, the candidate should have relevant industry domain knowledge and be able to work with company software. We have created a 45 day intense training program that develops these employability traits in urban poor youth and places them in white-collar jobs using blended learning methods combining behavioural science and data analytics. JP Morgan has funded a 2-year project where we are training 5000 urban poor youth in Mumbai and placing them in high paying jobs in the banking & financial services sector. We have had a 90% job placement rate for successful candidates so far. We wish to create a similar employability program for at least 1500 young women from underprivileged families in smaller towns in Western India.