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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2678

Great interest for new U.S. Government funded Vocational centers among Eastern youth

Colombo, 14 November, (Asiantribune.com): The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) today marked the successful completion of the final two out of a total of nine new vocational education schools. Located in both southern and eastern Sri Lanka, the vocational education schools were built with funds provided by the American people as part of USAID’s Sri Lanka Tsunami Reconstruction Program.

The two new schools in Central Camp and Sammanthurai will provide a new opportunity for the young people of Ampara to become proficient in trades in high demand by the Sri Lankan workforce, such as apparel, masonry, electrical and electronic repair, and information technology. In total, the two schools can accommodate 650 students per year. In addition to constructing the buildings, USAID and several private sector partners, including the Chevron Corporation, Prudential, and the Mellon Foundation, supplied the schools with all necessary items such as furniture, tools, sewing machines and other commodities to make them fully functional.Shamara Nafesha – a potential Information Technology student of Ampara Central Camp Vocational Technical Center -- chats with USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn at the official opening of the Vocational Technical Center. Shamara Nafesha – a potential Information Technology student of Ampara Central Camp Vocational Technical Center -- chats with USAID Mission Director Rebecca Cohn at the official opening of the Vocational Technical Center.

The new center in Sammanturai will specialize in apparel, and has attracted a huge interest amongst more than 1000 hopeful youth who are competing for the 450 slots available. The new center is having a positive response from the youth because of the model public-private partnership in place with the Joint Apparel Association Forum. "The involvement of JAAF creates a fruitful partnership between the private sector and the vocational training authorities, paving the way for graduate job placements in the apparel industry," USAID Mission Director, Ms. Rebecca Cohn, said at the opening. "Creating jobs for the young people of eastern Sri Lanka is a key element in the overall goal of creating lasting development, growth and stability in the East," she added.

The project was developed in partnership with the Vocational Training Authority (VTA) under the aegis of the Ministry of Vocational and Technical Training and implemented by contractors Sierra and CH2MHill. USAID has worked closely with the VTA and with Sri Lanka’s private sector to develop the curricula for the schools. Hon. A. Athaulla, Minister of Water Supply and Drainage, also took part in and addressed the opening ceremony.

- Asian Tribune -

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