Skills for Upgrading: Workforce Development and Global Value Chains in Developing Countries


This research project examines workforce development strategies in developing countries in the context of the shifting upgrading dynamics of global value chains. Funded by RTI International and carried out by Duke CGGC, this research addresses policymakers, donors and development practitioners to improve our understanding of how workforce development strategies can enhance the upgrading efforts and competitiveness of developing countries in global industries.

In 2009, RTI International and the Duke University Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (Duke CGGC) convened a joint research program to help donors and developing country governments better understand the role and dynamics of workforce development in the context of global value chain (GVC) upgrading.

Over the next two years, Duke CGGC led the exploratory research program in collaboration with RTI International on the role of workforce development policies and initiatives in the upgrading trajectories of key value chains. Their focus was on four industry value chains of high interest to developing country governments and international donors: fruit and vegetables, apparel, offshore services and tourism.



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