Remarks by Deputy Chief of Mission Mark Cullinane
USAID/CFYR Workforce Development Initiative Graduation
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
It is a privilege to represent the United States Embassy at today’s graduation ceremony, and to salute the outstanding young people before me who, through their hard work and dedication, have successfully completed this nine month workforce development training program. You should be proud of your accomplishments and the impact that this training will have on you, your community, and country as a whole.
The Community, Family & Youth Resilience program, or “CFYR,” benefits young people between the ages of 10 to 29 by strengthening family and community support systems to create alternatives to involvement in violence.
The training, offered by the Volunteer Youth Corps in partnership with the Georgetown Technical Institute, is aligned to the needs of the labor market. To date, I am happy to say that 385 youth are trained and 93 placed in employment. Our hope is that graduates can now take advantage of the opportunity available under the CFYR program and access sustainable and meaningful employment.
In 2018, the International Labor Organization estimated youth unemployment to be almost 23% in Guyana. And according to the CARICOM Secretariat, 80% of prosecuted crimes here are committed by youth between the ages of 19 and 29. These are significant development challenges, and CFYR helps to address them, in close partnership with the government and private sector.
As we celebrate the dedication shown by the graduates over the past months, I would like to thank the facilitators. As a result of your efforts, over 70 more young people seated before us are now equipped with the tools to build a bright future and shape a stronger Guyana.
I would also like to recognize the proud parents, guardians and well-wishers who are here today. Thank you for continuing to be a tower of strength and support. Without you, this graduation would not be possible. Your role in encouraging and supporting these youth through their training and into the future is a critical one.
To the proud graduates, I congratulate you for your commitment to the training, and for the sacrifices that you have made to reach this stage. Today’s graduation represents another step on your path to ultimately achieving your life goals.
To our private sector partners, I salute you for helping to make this project a success. Last December, USAID released its new Private-Sector Engagement Policy. Today’s graduation is an excellent example of government and the private sector working together to support and uplift Guyanese youth and solve broader development problems. We want to reiterate the U.S. Embassy’s enthusiasm and continued commitment to partner with the private sector to unlock this country’s greatest asset – the vast potential of youth.
The American Embassy has proudly partnered with Guyana for many years, supporting economic growth, youth development, and improved health services. Our partnership remains strong and I look forward to celebrating future achievements.
Best wishes to you all. Thank you.