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Director of USAID’s Office of Economic Growth commends project achievement in El Salvador

This month, El Salvador’s Improving Access to Employment program received a field visit from Director of USAID's Office of Economic Growth (EG) Greg Howell, who praised the success of the program in addressing the gap between the high business demand for skilled labor and the lack of qualifications of the employable population. Businesses in El Salvador will hire 10 individuals, yet these 10 often only represent the most employable of the 100 applicants and may still lack skills required by the employer. Improving Access to Employment addresses this lack of qualifications through training programs to help job seekers develop skills that will increase their competitiveness in the job market and multiply the number of qualified professionals in the labor market.

Improving Access to Employment bridges the gap between the country's labor supply and private sector demand. Through partnerships and alliances with key employers, training institutions, and NGOs, the program stimulates youth employment, improves certificate-based occupational training programs, and establishes career counseling and internship initiatives for young people. The program greatly exceeded its goal of generating 4,500 job opportunities for Salvadorans—by the end of the program in November 2013, it had created 14,000 positions. Using technology, social media, and improvements to the labor market information system, Improving Access to Employment also invests in increasing the information that is available regarding the labor market in order to help inform students and job seekers about potential opportunities.

Overall, 13,286 students and workers (6,227 of whom are women) have benefited from labor training. A total of 14,622 people (5,777 of whom are women and 6,545 of whom are youth) have acquired a job or a better position through Improving Access to Employment’s training programs. EG Director Howell noted, “Approximately 77% of the people who enter the training programs and complete the requirements obtain a job through this program.” The success of this program has led INSAFORP, an organization dedicated to social and economic growth in El Salvador, to implement the Improving Access to Employment model of training.

Students attend their graduation from the project’s Jovenes Comprometidos program, which trained them in customer service skills within the restaurant industry.Students attend their graduation from the project’s Jovenes Comprometidos program, which trained them in customer service skills within the restaurant industry.

Published November 2013