LIBERIA: Gov’t To Invest US$75m Into Youth Program

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says the Government of Liberia will invest US$75 million over the next five years in the Liberia Youth Employment Program (LYEP).

President Sirleaf made it clear that the money will be used to address the issue of youth unemployment in particular.

She maintained that the Ministry of Youth and Sports continues its response to the growing number of unemployed youths through efforts to increase employment and employability by providing short-term jobs, technical and vocational training, and sports development.

The Liberia News Agency (LINA) said President Sirleaf’s assurance was contained in her ninth State of the Nation address delivered Monday to the 53rd National Legislature at the Capitol Building in Monrovia on the theme “Consolidating the Processes of Transformation.”

Since LYEP was launched in 2013, it has provided one-year employment for over 3,000 youths who are currently supporting various city corporations in improving waste and sanitation in 26 cities in the 15 counties, according to the President.

She noted that as part of a scaling up of the LYEP, plans are underway to fund the technical and vocational training component of the LYEP in next year’s budget, noting that this will ensure that many of the youths who are currently working will have the opportunity to acquire technical skills for more gainful employment.

Madam Sirleaf also said in order to prepare youth for employment opportunities outside of the LYEP, 200 youths were trained in satellite maintenance and installation to meet the growing needs for digital satellite TV connection in the country.

She said the program will include vacation jobs for 5,000 young people under the Special Presidential Back to School Clean up Initiative; the National Youth Volunteer Service Program, which complements the work of key government agencies providing basic services in the areas of education, health, and agriculture and community development in rural parts of Liberia.

President Johnson-Sirleaf named other areas as job readiness training for 100 senior high school female students in information and communication technology; the National Cadet Program, to train scholarly university students at varying ministries and the public sector and develop a new breed of professionals in government.

In a related development, the Liberian leader revealed that the Youth, Employment, Skills Training (YES) Program, which in 2013 trained 2,088 youths, comprising 689 females and 1,399 males, in various categories of skills and vocational education was successful in placing 580 of the trainees in jobs, while efforts continue to place the remaining 1,508 over the next ten months.

President Johnson-Sirleaf further disclosed that a Task Force on Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) was established to coordinate and help implement strategies that would close the skills gap, and provide high-quality, demand-driven skills training programs that align with private sector needs.

These programs are crucial in helping Liberia’s youth obtain jobs until the private sector is fully developed and a diversified economy is fully operational, to absorb a larger proportion of the labor force, she pointed out.

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