SPAIN: Providing Training, Workforce Development for Unemployed Youth
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Foundation Project in Córdoba, a city in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, is helping youth gain the skills needed for stable employment. The project helps to address the high unemployment rate faced by youth in Spain by building connections between employers in need of a new skilled workforce and the youth who need employment. One of the ways Spain is addressing this ongoing issue is by developing networks of youth programs, employers and state organizations.
One of the networks established is the Incorpora Program promoted by the La Caixa Bank. Salesian missionaries and staff with the Don Bosco Foundation Project have joined this network of providers and are working in partnership with Spain’s Center for the Bata Cooperation Initiatives, the Association of Teachers, the Association for the Protection of Children and Adolescents and the Red Cross of Córdoba. These five organizations are working together to manage and facilitate the Incorpora Program. They also have the involvement of 78 local companies that have joined this program to help put youth to work.
In operation since 2006, the Incorpora Program is aimed at the most vulnerable groups of society including young people at risk of exclusion, people with disabilities and those who have faced long-term unemployment as well as ex-convicts, immigrants and victims of gender violence. The Incorpora Program through its providers, specifically the Don Bosco Foundation, specializes in developing training programs that collaborate directly with the business sector so that students learn marketable skills and make an easier transition from coursework into employment. It encourages the business community to take an active role in program development as well as meeting with the students to help shape standards and the students’ academic and social development, ensuring greater opportunities for employment after graduation.
“With so many young people out of work and facing conditions of poverty in Spain, it is vital for Salesian workforce development programs to respond to market demand,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Students in these programs have a real opportunity to enter the workforce prepared both in terms of the skills they have learned and in their social development, ensuring a lifelong ability to retain livable wage employment and escape poverty.”
Hard hit by the current economic troubles in Europe, Spain now has the greatest inequality of the 27 countries of the European Union. According to the World Bank, close to 25 percent of Spanish workers are unemployed and a growing number of them can’t afford to buy enough food to live. One in five citizens is living below the poverty line and poor youth with too few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment.
World Bank – Spain
(Photo courtesy of ANS)