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The employment needs of young people in Latin America and the Caribbean
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The employment needs of young people in Latin America and the Caribbean

More than half the population of Latin America and the Caribbean is under the age of 24,
with youth unemployment rates on the rise in most of the countries of the region. Existing educational systems are failing to equip youth with the knowledge and skills necessary to
succeed in a fast-changing marketplace. At the same time that more and more youth are
unprepared for the workforce, businesses have an urgent need for workers equipped with the technical skills to contribute to the region’s growing information-based economy. Demand for IT skills is expected to rise sharply in the region as more organizations migrate toward the Internet and automate their businesses with application software.

Young people possess the creativity and adaptability to thrive in the IT area; yet more
programs are needed to equip youth with the knowledge and skills to take advantage of
growing opportunities. Greater investment in such programs will help narrow the growing gap between the supply of and demand for skilled workers, while helping to bridge the digital divide between developed and developing countries.

To achieve its goal of providing businesses with skilled IT workers and providing young people with jobs, entra 21 capitalizes on the dramatic impact of information technology on the world economy. The network revolution is not only creating a new marketplace, but is
also profoundly affecting how business is conducted. Societies need skilled knowledge
workers in order to grow local economies and attract foreign investment.

Entra 21 is intended to make a significant contribution to building a bridge between labor
market needs and youth whose interests and capabilities make them ideal candidates to fill the IT skills gap. Specifically, entra 21 seeks to: Provide training in job and employability skills for 12,000 youth, ages 16 to 29; Make grants ranging from US$300,000 to US$700,000, to up to 40 nonprofits by the end of 2003; Increase knowledge throughout the region and the world of best practices in training youth, placing them in productive jobs, and sustaining these efforts over time.

Entra 21 provides grants and technical assistance to nonprofit organizations in Latin
America and the Caribbean. Grants will be awarded for training and job placement projects that target youth and impart IT skills, enabling trainees to work with computers, the Internet, and other workplace technologies and equipment. The projects need to meet a demonstrated demand in the labor market and teach the skills necessary for trainees to find and hold a job.

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