Unemployment for 15- to 24-year-olds stands at 16%,
which is high by regional standards and three times the rate for the working-age population as a whole.
That may be partly because young people are holding out for plum jobs in the civil service,
where kickbacks are easily extracted, or in the natural-resources sector, where pay is high, says Chris Manning of Australia National University.
But youth unemployment is highest among university graduates, suggesting a mismatch between the skills taught and those needed.
Hence an idea popular among policy wonks: to improve vocational schools and government training schemes.
School reforms would take a generation to be felt,
but better training for the existing labour force could create more jobs within a year, argues Chatib Basri, a former finance minister.
That would give Jokowi the political capital and momentum he needs to press for further changes.
The reform economists think would be most effective would be to make it easier for foreigners to invest.
A study by the OECD found that Indonesia's rules for foreign direct investment (FDI)
were the third-most restrictive out of 68 rich and middle-income countries.
FDI as a share of GDP has averaged 1.5% over the past three years, among the lowest in the region.
Red tape makes it hard for foreign workers to move to Indonesia. They are less than 1% of the workforce.
Loosening these rules would help to revive the ailing manufacturing sector.
Indonesia struggles to compete with neighbours with better infrastructure and lower payroll costs.
That is particularly the case in export-oriented industries such as smartphone assembly and shoemaking.
In Vietnam the value of imports plus exports is around 195% of GDP; in Indonesia it is about 43%.
Cutting import restrictions would also help.
Mr Basri points out that 90% of Indonesia's imports are raw materials or capital goods, such as machinery, which keep factories humming.
An influx of foreign firms could have direct benefits for the education system, too.
In Malaysia and Thailand, unlike Indonesia, foreigners can establish and operate universities.
Moreover, foreigners could help train Indonesians. Skills are taught at least as well on the factory floor as in the classroom.
Google has launched a scholarship to teach Indonesian students to code; it says it has already trained 110,000 app developers.
Jokowi's aim of upskilling Indonesia is admirable. The best way to do it is to attract skill-hungry businesses.