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GLOBAL: Salesian Missions, Fordham University Study to Identify Best Practices for Vocational Schools

(MissionNewswire) Salesian Missions has teamed up with students and professors from Fordham University to carry out a multi-country study to identify “best practices” at Salesian technical vocational training schools around the globe.

The Salesians are widely regarded as the largest single provider of technical vocational training in the world. Don Bosco – the founder of the Roman Catholic Religious order – opened the first Salesian vocational training school in Turin, Italy in 1845. Since then, the congregation’s network of vocational training schools has expanded to provide assistance to underserved populations in more than 100 countries on six continents. Salesian Missions in New Rochelle, NY, is the U.S.-based arm of the Salesians, which works to raise funds and develop international programs.

Working with Fordham’s International Political Economy and Development graduate program, the study examines the design and delivery of training programs compared to practices employed at non-Salesian vocational schools—with particular emphasis on student selection, skills taught, job-placement, and post-training support.

“Our partnership with Fordham University allows us to build on the Salesians’ decades of experience providing training services in these countries,” says Jaime Correa-Montalvo of the Salesian Missions Office for International Programs headquartered in New Rochelle, NY.

With support from professors, Fordham students review previous literature and academic research on vocational training and workforce development practices before traveling on summer assignments to the developing world to visit Salesian vocational schools. There, they conduct field-level surveys with school administrators, teachers, and current and former students.

In 2010, students traveled to countries throughout Asia and Africa. Similar fieldwork is planned for 2011 and beyond, with the eventual goal of publication in an academic journal and a “best practices” manual that will be shared with Salesian vocational schools throughout the world.

“By studying, documenting and building awareness of  best practices we hope to assist Salesians in providing assistance to those most in need,” Correa-Montalvo adds.

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PHOTO: Salesian vocational school in the Dominican Republic. Credit: MARTIN DIGGS/SALESIAN MISSIONS

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