(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Turin, Italy recently launched the “Space over Time, Places of Work, and Paths to Growth” project, which aims to engage various Salesian programs in promoting work placement for disadvantaged youth. The project brings together the Department for Vocational Training and Salesian Youth Ministry of the Special Circumscription of Piedmont and Aosta Valley, the Salesian University, the School of Civil Economy, the “ENAIP” network of services for training and work, and the Italian Association of Entrepreneurs for an Economy of Communion.
“The Department of Youth Ministry has been working for some time with the office of CNOS-FAP of Piedmont to create a significant network for youth employment in the metropolitan area of Turin,” says Father Stefano Mondin, the delegate for Youth Ministry of ICP.
Over the next year, the project aims to find employment for 185 socially underprivileged youth. Youth will access vocational training, including strengthening their soft skills as well as additional training focused on labor and safety. Once completing their educational program successfully, youth will then have an opportunity to access employment or at least an initial training period in a place of employment for four months to improve their skills.
“Youth often already have good practical skills, but they sometimes lack the soft skills needed to maintain employment,” explains Fr. Mondin. “Through our training program, youth are able to obtain additional training in these soft skills, and Salesian missionaries can lay the foundation for long-term employment.”
The project will also help to provide additional education to teachers and those working with youth to help them better understand how to effectively relay the information. In addition, a part of the project will focus on new research at the university focused on the needs of the local employment sector and how to best help youth move from classroom training into the workforce.
“Salesian missionaries know how important it is to provide poor and disadvantaged youth access to education and employment training both for the individual student’s professional development and for the economy,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Salesian schools, youth centers and vocational training programs are educating poor youth and providing important social and vocational skills in Italy. The goal is to provide youth with the educational and job skills that will bring them livable wage employment and the opportunity to give back to their communities.”
Italy, Europe’s third-largest economy, has close to 2 million children living in poverty, according to UNICEF. The poverty rate has risen in the wake of Europe’s economic crisis and unemployment is at its highest level since the late 1970s with the overall jobless rate at 12.5 percent and youth unemployment as high as 41 percent.
Salesian programs across Italy help youth who are unable to attend school and others who drop out to work at the few jobs available to them. A growing number of children work as laborers on farms and others have turned to the sex trade to help support their families. Those in poverty often live without adequate shelter, hot water, regular meals and health care. According to UNICEF, a growing number of youth are living away from their families in temporary shelters and within government and charity programs because of inadequate support from or neglect by their families. Salesian programs work to combat these challenges by providing shelter, nutrition, education and workforce development services for youth in need.
UNICEF – Italy Poverty