The United States, through its Agency for International Development, USAID, and in cooperation with the Salvadoran government, through the Technical and Planning Secretariat of the Presidency, the National Youth Institute (INJUVE); the National Institute of Vocational Training (INSAFORP), and the Salvadoran Association of Industries (ASI), launched the project Puentes para el Empleo, or “Bridges to Employment.”
With an investment from the USAID of $42.2 million for the 2015-2020 period, the new project aims to increase and improve the employability of youth who live in municipalities prioritized by Plan El Salvador Seguro. These young people will have the opportunity to reach their goals by cont
inuing their studies and receiving professional training in order to find jobs or become entrepreneurs.
“We want to create a strong labor force for the future and provide the private sector with the capacity to stimulate investment and economic growth,” commented Ambassador Jean Manes at the launch. “This initiative will prepare thousands of young people to work or start a business, as well as providing companies with participants who meet their needs for qualified human talent.”
Through the program, youths will not only receive professional training, but psychological support and assistance with transportation. The trainings include topics about entrepreneurship, business management and professional development in accordance with the demand of the labor market, social responsibility and life skills.
The project is based on multi-level collaboration through the central government, municipalities, businesses and private groups, community leaders and vocational training centers in order to optimize youth achievement. The program is inclusive of youth in high-risk situations with varying abilities, including individuals diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ populations and single parents.
The private sector is anticipated to also benefit from this initiative. All interested companies in economic sectors with greatest growth potential, as identified by the Government of El Salvador, may join the project. As a result, participating companies can expect qualified and certified personnel in accordance with their requirements for human talent.
“We need to have more combined collaboration between the public and private sector,” commented Technical Secretary Roberto Lorenzana at the program launch. By working with the vocational centers, businesses can help to develop trainings based on real needs and profiles for technical jobs.
With this project, USAID is supporting the development of the Salvadoran workforce to benefit all stakeholders, and young people in particular. Puentes para el Empleo prepares Salvadoran youth to be contributing members of the national labor force, helping young people learn to critically evaluate their training and employment options, proactively seek work and entrepreneurship opportunities in growing economic sectors interested in hiring skilled workers.