The study sample is comprised of work-seekers affiliated with an organization in South Africa, the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, which recruits, tests, selects, and assigns unemployed young people into short-term training sessions they call “bridges" to prepare them for work in consulting, finance, customer service, sales, and insurance. Each of the bridges typically lasts 6-8 weeks and includes intensive instruction, workplace modeling, team building, non-cognitive development, work-seeker supports, and job placement.
The study involves randomly assigning to control and treatment cohorts the work-seekers in the Harambee training bridges in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Eastern Cape, Port Elizabeth, and Durban between January 2016 and July 2017. The randomization is done at the level of the training (bridge) cohort, effectively matching on location and time period. Individuals in the treatment bridges will get periodic emails encouraging them to join LinkedIn, fill out their professional profile, and grow their professional networks. Individuals in the control bridges will get the normal Harambee corporate bridge programming.
The research team will collect baseline, endline, and then longer-term post-bridge survey data from the participants on their education experience, career outlook, and career outcomes. The baseline and endline data will be collected via voluntary participation in web-based surveys. The longer-term data will be collected via voluntary participation in either web- or SMS-based surveys.