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SPAIN: Scholarship Funding at Salesian Institute Allows Poor Students Access to Technical Training

(MissionNewswire) Spain, which has been hit hard by the current economic troubles in Europe, 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 are living below the poverty line. Poor youth with too few employable skills struggle the most to find and retain stable employment.

Salesians in Spain have been working for many years to provide educational and workforce development opportunities for poor youth through residential and technical and vocational training programs.

Recently, the Salesian Institute of Atocha in Madrid received scholarship funding valued at more than 35,000 euros from the Gene Haas Foundation. The foundation, directed by its founder Gene Haas, was formed in 1999 to provide scholarship funds to community colleges and vocational schools for students entering technical training programs, especially machinist-based certificate and degree programs. Since its inception, the organization has donated more than 8.5 million dollars to various organizations and charitable causes.

The Salesian Institute of Atocha was one of three schools to receive the scholarship funding. The awarded money will be used to cover educational materials, books, research and tuition fees for students with financial difficulties. The scholarships cover a period of one year and are aimed at students who are about to finish high school and students enrolled in vocational or mechanized production technology courses. The scholarships will also assist young or unemployed workers wishing to pursue studies in mechanical engineering.

“This scholarship funding will help poor youth gain access to vocational and technical training programs that provide them the necessary life and business skills to help them lead productive lives,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “This training is particularly relevant at this time given the high unemployment rate in Spain. Youth need to develop the best skills they possibly can to compete in the job market and find a way out of poverty.”

The Salesian Institute of Atocha focuses on vocational and technical training to provide youth with employable skills that match the market needs in Spain. It has certificate programs in audiovisual, graphic arts and printing. The recent addition of a new building called Schneider Electric Hall houses technology programs in energy management, energy efficiency and automation.

A strong focus on workforce development programs at the institute helps students carry their skills from the classroom into the workplace. Students learn how to write a resume and are given opportunities to improve and practice their interview skills. Strong relationships between Salesian Institute staff and the local business community help match graduates to businesses seeking employees with particular skill sets.

In addition to the Salesian Institute in Madrid, there are more than 850 Salesian-run vocational, technical, professional and agricultural schools and programs in more than 130 countries around the globe that focus on education and workforce development. Through these institutions and programs, youth are given the practical skills to prepare for meaningful employment while learning how to lead productive lives and become contributing members of their communities.

“We want youth to succeed,” adds Fr. Hyde. “The Salesians have always grown and adapted their offerings to best fit the needs of youth whether through education, technical training or programs that help youth gain the confidence, strength and perseverance to set goals in life and achieve them.”



ANS – Spain – Scholarship for students of the Salesian Vocational Training Centre at Atocha

World Bank – Spain

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