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E&E launches at-risk youth into high-demand careers

This month, 125 scholarship recipients in Managua, Nicaragua, finished their studies and graduated from Fundación Victoria with certificates in the technical fields of industrial maintenance and business administration, with a focus in marketing; these fields are comprised of employers intensively interested in hiring qualified young people. The scholarships were funded by Fundación Victoria in combination with USAID’s Nicaragua Enterprise and Employment (E&E) program—a program implemented by CARANA Corporation. Fundación Victoria is a training institute that specializes in education for technical careers. They provide scholarships to applicants between the ages of 16 and 24 and offer four different career tracks lasting between one and a half to two years. Fundación Victoria’s main goal is to strengthen and grow Nicaragua’s business sector by educating and preparing young people for the competitive labor market. For this reason, they teamed with E&E, whose program mission, to create new jobs in Nicaragua through supporting Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), complements their own.

125 scholarship recipients celebrate their graduation and entrance into the workforce.125 scholarship recipients celebrate their graduation and entrance into the workforce.

Both students and their parents were excited on graduation day. Students expressed their pride in graduating and having access to steady income to support themselves and their families. Of the 125 who graduated, 96 have already secured permanent employment working for Nicaraguan companies in the tourism, manufacturing, healthcare, and sales sectors. Nineteen-year-old Alfonso Silva remarked that the scholarship changed his life completely; he had previously considered attending university but did not have the tools to do so until he learned about the opportunity with Fundación Victoria. At the ceremony, Director of Fundación Victoria, Berta Quintanilla, emphasized that she believes the students’ success at the institute will translate to a better life for the graduates and their families.

E&E, like other programs CARANA implements, assures significant employer input into training programs so that students are well prepared for current jobs in high-demand occupations, as evidenced by the high employment rate of recent graduates. All of Fundación Victoria’s programs are designed around employer needs. The latest collaboration with E&E is a new program offering technical education in food technology. This will be the first technical‑level degree of its kind in the country, producing graduates with knowledge and skills in quality control, nutritional testing, and other related areas. Their expertise will benefit not only at-risk youth, but also SMEs in Nicaragua that have not previously had access to technical specialists in food technology.

Watch local coverage of the graduation from Nicaragua’s Canal 2.

Published April 2013