SPAIN: Salesian missionaries launch new coffee shop Marticoffee to offer vocational students real work experience
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries with the Martí-Codolar Center, one of nine Salesian centers organized under the Salesians of Sant Jordi located in Barcelona in the Catalonia region of Spain, just presented a new educational and social cafeteria project known as Marticoffee. The project was developed out of the Employment Promotion Network that is part of the Horta-Guinardó district’s economic development plan.
Every year, thanks to Salesian vocational training and the Marticoffee project, 40 youth attending hotel courses will be able to gain experience and work at Marticoffee, a coffee shop located at the Salesian center that is open to the public. Salesian missionaries with Salesians of Sant Jordi know the importance of vocational education coupled with on-the-job experience that gives youth the skills needed to find and retain stable employment after graduation.
Missionaries with the Salesians of Sant Jordi also collaborate with the local Salesian-run Jovent Foundation which provides both formal and informal educational opportunities to youth and ensures job placement or advancement into higher learning. Together, the two organizations work hand-in-hand to offer the best opportunities for training and work experience to the most vulnerable and at-risk youth in the region.
“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, 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.”
During 2017, the Salesians of Sant Jordi, through their nine centers in the Catalonia region, carried out 54 projects to improve the quality of life for children in the region. These projects included social and work placement for youth, welcome and reception to migrants, residential assistance, family orientation and community development. In total, these projects helped 4,072 children and older youth who were at risk of social exclusion.
Hard hit by the current economic troubles in Europe, Spain, although slowly improving economically, has the third highest rate of income inequality of the countries of the European Union. The richest 1 percent of the Spanish population accounts for a quarter of the national wealth, according to the World Bank. It also notes that 10.2 million people in Spain live below the poverty line, equivalent to a poverty rate of 22.3 percent.
Close to 37 percent of young Spanish workers under the age of 25 are unemployed and a growing number of them can’t afford to buy enough food to live. Poor youth with few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment. Women in Spain are also challenged in the workforce. They earn up to 14 percent less than men and represent only 34.5 percent of those listed as the highest earners in Spain.
Salesian missionaries have been working for many years to provide educational and workforce development opportunities for poor youth and women in Spain through residential and technical and vocational training programs.
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World Bank – Spain