USAID Turns to EDC to Expand Education, Employment for Youth in Guyana

Waltham, Mass.: The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has asked EDC to help expand education, skill-building, and employment for at-risk youth in the South American nation of Guyana, with the goal of reducing youth crime and violence by strengthening economic participation and civic engagement. As part of the Skills and Knowledge for Youth Employment (SKYE) project, EDC will also work directly with youth offenders in the juvenile justice system to re-integrate them into the workplace and community. SKYE is a key piece of the Obama administration’s Caribbean Basin Security Initiative.

The two-year, $2.6 million project will provide targeted detention prevention, work-readiness training, and livelihood coaching activities for youth ages 15–24. Over the next few weeks, EDC and its partners will conduct an assessment of livelihood options and other opportunities for Guyanese young people. EDC is working closely with a team of local partners that includes Catholic Relief Services, Youth Challenge Guyana, Volunteer Youth Corps, and Guyana Youth Business Trust.

“Detention centers can be fertile grounds for producing repeat and more serious offenders, so we will be working with at-risk youth and those in the juvenile justice system to provide productive alternatives,” said EDC’s Kevin Corbin, director of the new project. “EDC has extensive experience working with young people all over the world, and we’ve learned how to provide skills that expand opportunities. Our work responds to a call from the Government of Guyana to help at-risk youth become more productive members of their communities.”

The project directly supports the goals of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, which seeks to combat root causes of crime and violence, enhance public safety and security, build partnerships with local nongovernmental organizations to provide rehabilitation for juvenile offenders, and offer job skills and training.

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