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EL SALVADOR: Youth Get Technical, Entrepreneurship Skills for Long-Term Employment

(MissionNewswire) From August 2015 through July 2016, 231 youth took part in the Young Entrepreneurs in IT project with FUSALMO, a Salesian Educational Center, in San Salvador, El Salvador. The Young Entrepreneurs in IT project was founded by the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The primary objective of the project was to train young people in technical knowledge based on Cisco Networking Academy curriculum with IT essentials, along with comprehensive training in entrepreneurship. These educational programs helped youth to have the necessary skills to start their own business generating self-employment and job opportunities for others.

Within the entrepreneurship component, 31 business ideas were formulated and strategic alliances were made to manage seed capital and implement a percentage of their business ideas. In addition, eight youth were able to form social entrepreneurship and sustainable businesses under the Youth Social Entrepreneurs program and received support for their business ideas from the city of Barcelona, Spain in partnership with organizations Ayuda en Acción, ASHOKA and the Municipality of San Salvador Youth Institute. The project has benefited youth from the El Salvador municipalities of Soyapango, San Martin, Ciudad Delgado, San Salvador and Cuscatancingo.

One of the business ideas students developed was INTELCAR, which aims to improve automotive safety and driver comfort in various contemporary situations with the efficiency of new technologies. Students developed an app that controlled mechanical parts of the car such as the door locks, alarm system and engine ignition. Another project, FITNESS COMPANY, aims to create exercise machines that are easy to use for both men and women in the comfort of their own home. Its goal is to improve the health and wellness of individuals who might not be able to access a fitness center outside of the home.

“Education is a path out of poverty,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Youth in El Salvador who accessed this program and other Salesian educational programs are given an educational foundation, skill training and life and social skills to help them excel in the workforce. They are then able to break the cycle of poverty and become contributing members of their communities.”

Young Entrepreneurs in IT was implemented by five certified instructors. During the project implementation, 13 more instructors were trained and meet the necessary skills to convey the technical and practical knowledge to youth and thus ensure comprehensive learning. FUSALMO has a Cisco Academy that benefits youth in central El Salvador. A new academy has now been opened in the western part of the country and will provide educational services to youth in the region of the country.

Young Entrepreneurs in IT was a particularly relevant program given the 2015 International Labor Organization report that noted there are 1.7 million unemployed people across Latin American countries. Youth are more than three times more likely to be unemployed and often lack the educational and employment opportunities necessary to escape conditions of poverty.

The report noted that the labor market in Latin America will feel the impact of lackluster economic growth, giving rise to concerns that the economic progress made in the past few years could come to a halt or even be reversed. Faced with this gloomy economic outlook, Salesian missionaries in the region want to ensure that services remain robust and best meet the needs of youth and the local economies.

In El Salvador close to 35 percent of the population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. Youth in El Salvador are confronted not only with poverty, but with instability, high levels of violence and inadequate access to educational opportunities. Despite ranking high for economic indicators, the need for practical education in the country is more important than ever with 12 percent of youth ages 15 to 24 unemployed and 41 percent underemployed.



World Bank – El Salvador

“Technical Report: Young Entrepreneurs in IT” – Salesian Missions

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Stacy Jones