In May, the Empleando Futuros project joined the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)/Honduras to present its Labor Market Assessment. The Labor Market Assessment identifies the private sector’s opportunities and challenges for youth from the most vulnerable areas of Honduras, focusing on five municipalities in which Empleando Futuros works. The broad study was presented at three separate events in San Pedro Sula, Tela, and Tegucigalpa.
To prepare the assessment, researchers, economists and workforce development specialists interviewed and polled 300 small, medium and large businesses in the project’s five target municipalities, most of which attended the presentation events. These companies were selected in order to guarantee their alignment with the economic growth plans promoted by the government of Honduras in their public-private engagement strategy, Plan 20/20. The sectors represented in the assessment are business process outsourcing and information technology, agro-industry, tourism, intermediate manufacturing, and textiles.
The study’s findings were presented by Paul Teeple, the Empleando Futuros project’s Chief of Party based in Honduras, and followed by a panel discussion on “Applying the Labor Market Assessment in Honduras” moderated by Louis Alexander, Banyan Global’s Principal for Youth Practice. The panels included representatives from the private sector, including Mario Canahuati, President of the Maquila Manufacturers Association; Elvia Suazo, Human Resources Manager at the Cortés Chamber of Commerce and Industries; Juan Carlos Sikaffy, President of the Honduran Private Sector Council; and Karla Ruiz, General Manager of the Tegucigalpa Chamber of Commerce and Industries. Representatives from USAID, Empleando Futuros, and Robert Cardona, Director of the National Institute of Professional Training (INFOP), also served as panelists.
In San Pedro Sula, the manufacturing and business hub of Honduras, one of the panelists, Mr. Canahuati, told the audience, “It’s necessary to understand the responsibility we have to be able to direct the vision of the people that are we training — that they don’t just become employees looking for a salary, but that we enable them to be important actors in all our growth processes; we have to venture into the technology industry; an employee means the well-being for our population.” His message highlights the importance of engaging the private sector at strategic and operational levels within all workforce development efforts.
Ms. Suazo from Cortes explained the assessment’s benefit to youth. “From the experience that we have had, I tell them to believe in the program because we have had excellent results. We already have various boys and girls that are to be employed because they were prepared for what we are doing — there lies the success of working together.”
Perhaps the highlight of the three events was when youth demonstrated different job skills for attendees. Among many other jobs, Empleando Futuros has trained youth in barista, industrial refrigeration and textile production skills. These youth were able to demonstrate their new skills at each event. By doing so, attendees gained a greater understanding of the importance of these occupations to the sectors covered in the Labor Market Assessment. In addition to technical skills, the study highlighted the importance given to life skills and employability skills to employers in all productive and service sectors.
Various news agencies covered the events, including El Heraldo, La Prensa, and Diario El País.
*Banyan Global conducted the Labor Market Assessment in partnership with JBS International. Special thanks and recognition to JBS International and their team.