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US continues to shift youths away from deviant behaviour

US Ambassador Brent Hardt and the graduates

The American government is continuing to churn out more youths with work, life and literacy skills.

The embassy here said the US Agency for International Development (USAID) last week Friday  held a graduation ceremony at the Georgetown Club to honor 33 youth who completed 2work and life skills training and 24 youth who completed literacy training through the USAID Skills and Knowledge for Youth Employment (SKYE) Project.

The SKYE project, funded through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), is designed to equip young Guyanese with market-driven skills and improve their ability to gain and keep employment.  The SKYE program supports youth who are secondary school dropouts, young people who have completed formal education but require additional skills in order to gain employment, and youth in the juvenile justice system.  Through such CBSI partnerships, the United States and Guyana seek to ensure that young people in  Guyana and throughout the Caribbean have the economic opportunity to build productive lives and contribute to their countries.

The groups of graduating youth came from regions 4 and 5.  The literacy training was conducted in collaboration with the Adult Education Association (AEA) and equipped the youth in that program with basic reading skills including fluency, phonemic awareness, and word attack skills as well as grammar, mechanics, and comprehension with a background of work readiness requirements.

In addition to these graduates, a group of 12 young people at the New Opportunity Corps graduated March 26 after completing training which incorporated literacy, work, and life skills training.

U.S. Ambassador D. Brent Hardt and Dr. Luther Leudtke, President and CEO of Education Development Center (EDC) were present at the ceremony.  In addressing the graduates and their families, Ambassador Hardt praised the young people for their dedication and hard work and thanked their coaches and mentors for their dedication to ensuring the graduates find good jobs.  The Ambassador pointed out that the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s online job bank was helping to match employers with SKYE graduates, and noted that SKYE graduates were now a recognized “brand” that was becoming more widely known and respected by employers for producing talented, dedicated, and effective employees.

Through the CBSI-funded SKYE program, 936 youth have thus far completed life and work skills training, 319 of which were placed into full-time employment as of the end of February.