Liberia Career Pathways (LCP) will on Friday, 27 April launch its initiative that is meant to focus on youth career development, especially in the technical areas such as biochemical technicians and repairing of other high-tech medical equipment.
LCP is a certified nonprofit and is an innovative public-private education initiative that is designed to support college and career readiness in targeted Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) clusters, Executive Director Kenety Gee told this paper in an interview Wednesday, 25 April.
“This is an effort to improve youth development and their employability in the country,” he notes. Mr. Gee discloses that the organization wants to adequately improve the job market here and as well help the youth to contribute greatly to their societies.
The LCP launch will focus on narrowing the mindset of advocacy for government positions. According to Mr. Gee, LCP started with the intervention of former Vice President Joseph N. Boakai when he invited the group here.
The State of Illinois in the U.S. views its partnership with the Government of Liberia as a two-way exchange of ideas and benefits lessons learned from Illinois Pathways will strengthen Liberia’s work, while Illinois’ engagement with Liberia will expose the educators and students here to the global context of areas such as agriculture.
Mr. Gee indicates that the vision of LCP is to create more awareness about career development to enable the country have a strong youth labor force where the young people will engage into doing different things and contributing to their country.
“This program will also focus on training youths into biomedical technicians. These will help to maintain many of the medical equipment that is currently broken down at various health facilities across the country,” he said.
The program, according to Mr. Gee, will kick off at three high schools in the country including Tubman High, Booker’s Washington Institute (BWI) and Lutheran as the initial schools and hope to expand the projects in the long-term.
Giving a background of the initiative, Mr. Gee notes that it all began in April 2013, when a team from Illinois visited Liberia to meet with key public and private stakeholders.
“Following the visit and workshop, a coalition of Liberian high-level government officials and private stakeholders launched Liberia Career Pathways. This organization was formed as a Liberian non-governmental organization,” he says.
However, a Liberian team later visited Illinois to further define the partnership, strategies, and objectives for Liberia Career Pathways.
Following this visit, the Liberian team worked to develop the Liberia Career Pathway Concept Paper and gather local support for this education reform effort.
“As a culmination of these local efforts, the Illinois Team, with additional members, returned to Liberia in January/February 2014. During this visit, the inauguration of Liberia Career Pathways was hosted by the former Vice President of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai,” he adds.
At the same time, the Executive Director of Education Systems Center in Northern Illinois University, and LCP Vice Chair of the Board Mr. Jonathan Furr also says the organization was founded as a Liberian non-governmental organization as efforts to provide Liberian youth with opportunities to develop knowledge and skills in key sectors like health and others in partnership with the State of Illinois.
“The education systems in Liberia and America are more focused on traditional university education but are not focused on career development. So when we introduce career programs in a school, it will help those educated youth to understand what they are actually learning and prepare them practically for the job market,” he says.
By Ben P. Wesee–Edited by Winston W. Parley