MEXICO: New Engineering Courses Respond to Local Industry Need
(MissionNewswire) More than 46 percent of Mexico’s population lives in poverty, according to UNICEF. Close to 53 million people lack access to education, healthcare, transportation and even the most basic necessities such as food and shelter. The poverty rate for youth in the country is higher at more than 53 percent and accounts for twenty million children and adolescents, five million of which live in extreme poverty.
Salesians in Mexico primarily direct their efforts toward the country’s at-risk youth, including girls and young mothers. Creating safe havens and improving educational opportunities are considered essential to deter youth from life on the streets where they are susceptible to drugs and gang violence.
The city of Saltillo, the capital of the state of Coahuila in northeastern Mexico, has recently experienced a high rate of industrial growth, especially in the automobile industry, which requires a more skilled and qualified workforce. To capitalize on this opportunity, Salesians working at Don Bosco Technical Institute in Saltillo are now offering new classes in mechanical and electrical engineering.
The technical school was built just a decade ago and in that short time has experienced significant development. More than 1,000 students attend courses as part of a program culminating in a bachelor’s degree in technology. Close to 20 students are already signed up to start the new engineering courses. Through workforce development initiatives such as assistance with resume writing and interviewing skills, the technical school also helps students find and retain stable employment upon graduation.
The state of Coahuila’s business community has rallied around the technical school, becoming an integral support to its students. Salesians working at the school have made connections within the business community to help students make an easier transition from the classroom into the workforce. Employers are impressed with the level of technical skill of the school’s graduates and also their employment preparedness.
“The school’s programs respond to the local need for technical skills training by providing high-quality training courses, which is very much appreciated in a region known for its industrial activity,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Through coursework and additional social development programs, students leave the technical school with the professional skills and aptitude necessary to excel in the workforce.”
During the inauguration ceremony celebrating the new engineering program, Father Antonio Martínez, director of the school, reiterated the ongoing support and commitment of the Salesians to both the local youth and the business community by continuing to seek new opportunities for development and innovation.
“Education and innovation has always been a cornerstone of Salesian work as we address local needs and help students break the cycle of poverty,” adds Fr. Hyde. “The Salesians are known for their technical education and have more than 850 vocational, technical, professional and agricultural schools around the globe providing youth necessary practical employment skills while helping them to become contributing adults in their communities.”
UNICEF – Mexico