The ‘largest private provider of vocational and technical training in the world’
Salesian Missions reports on programs around the globe that represent the unique workforce development focus of the Salesians of Don Bosco
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Jan. 17, 2017) The Salesians of Don Bosco is widely considered the largest private provider of vocational and technical training in the world. Programs focus on helping vulnerable youth in some of the poorest places on the planet by providing access to educational opportunities that match the local workforce development needs.
At the start of 2017, the International Labour Organization in its World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2017, noted that the global unemployment rate was expected to rise modestly from 5.7 to 5.8 per cent in 2017, representing an increase of 3.4 million in the number of jobless people. The number of unemployed persons globally in 2017 was forecasted to stand at just over 201 million—with an additional rise of 2.7 million expected in 2018—as the pace of labor force growth outstrips job creation. Youth without an education and employable skills are among the groups most hardest hit with unemployment and little access to stable livable-wage employment even if they find work.
Working in more than 130 countries around the globe, Salesian missionaries focus on education and workforce development at more than 1,000 Salesian-run vocational, technical, professional and agricultural schools and programs. Youth are given the practical skills to prepare for meaningful employment while learning how to lead productive lives and become contributing adults in their communities.
“Salesian vocational and technical schools are helping to break the cycle of poverty while giving many young people hope for a more positive and productive future,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “These Salesian schools and educational centers equip students with the skills they need to compete in the local labor market by offering courses that lead to employment in construction, hotel management, electrical and mechanical engineering, computer science and other fields.”
Salesian Missions is proud to highlight vocational and technical training that aims to help youth gain the skills needed for long-term, stable employment.
The Don Bosco Center in Ciudad Bolivar relaunched their Pacto Motor’s program in 2016. The program is made possible through Salesian missionaries’ collaboration with the District Secretariat for Economic Development of the City of Bogota. Pacto Motor offers educational opportunities and employment for young people affected by the armed conflict in Colombia and other situations of vulnerability. Don Bosco Center offers professional and vocational education. In addition, Salesian missionaries made connections within the local labor market to help youth transition from the classroom directly into employment. More than 900 students were engaged in professional training courses at the Don Bosco Center.
As a result of the Pacto Motor collaboration the Don Bosco Center offers a professional degree course in automotive mechanics. More than 150 youth, or 98 percent of Pacto Motor’s first graduating class, found employment after successfully completing the program. As a result of the Pacto Motor program’s success, the Colombian Ministry of Labor is using the Salesian training model to develop additional pilot projects focused on employment industries in other cities in Colombia.
The Salesian Polytechnic University, which started in 1994 and has campuses in Cuenca, Guayaquil and Quito, provides education to more than 35 indigenous students, many of whom are women. These students are taking degree coursework in communications, biotechnology, management and leadership and psychology.
The Salesian Polytechnic University provides educational programs in biology, social science and human behavior, education, science and technology, animal science, literature, administration and finance, and religion. Many students attending the university take part in hands-on research and job training in addition to traditional coursework. The university has also become a place for the meeting of cultures and the exchange of knowledge for both students and teachers. It offers real opportunities for education and progress for disadvantaged youth coming from indigenous communities.
Salesians at Don Bosco Fambul in Freetown have been running a Girls Shelter where professional social workers and pastoral workers provide crisis intervention and follow-up care for girls and young women who have been the victims of sexual assault. Girls that access services at the shelter are also able to enroll in educational programs that are a part of the broader Don Bosco Fambul network. These educational programs train young women in the skills necessary to find and retain employment. As part of their rehabilitation at the Girls Shelter, the young women take coursework in hotel management, hairdressing and tailoring. The training helps to empower them to overcome the discrimination they have faced and gain a greater awareness of their rights. It also helps to build character while allowing the young women the freedom to make decisions that affect their lives, improve their health and boost their work prospects.
Salesian missionaries operate the Tan Tien Don Bosco Vocational School 155 miles north of Ho Chi Min City. In 2002, the first students graduated from the program, and today, the school has had 3,000 students successfully complete the program. A high school was added to the grounds in 2008. The secondary education program educates 400 boys and girls in grades 10-12 and prepares them to advance to one of five different course programs in the vocational school.
Tan Tien Don Bosco Vocational School also operates two boarding houses that today accommodate 215 boys and 58 girls. These students are coming from difficult life situations. Many have dropped out of school previously and consider the Don Bosco Vocational School as their last chance. In addition to the technical and academic preparation, students have an opportunity to learn music and engage in exercise and sports. They also have access to volunteer activities that help them give back to their communities and gain hands-on experience. The vocational school is one of the four technical schools operated by Salesian missionaries in Vietnam, while another three vocational schools are in the pipeline with the support of the civil and ecclesiastical authorities.