APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
Mercy & Sharing has secured funding for the initial startup of a Technical and Trade School at its Williamson campus, where an existing school building will house the Technical and Trade School, employing fifteen Haitian instructors to support the programs. Each area of study is a two-year program, with classes held three hours per day, five days per week, for nine months a year. Students must complete 40 hours of onsite coursework per month, for a total of 800 hours over two years. Students who do not make passing grades are required to retake the course.
By August of 2011, Mercy & Sharing began providing vocational training for 50 young adults in agriculture, auto mechanics and small business management. Mercy & Sharing will provide access to vocational training for more young adults, doubling current enrollment in the fall of 2012. The organization will also expand its curriculum to include sewing which is a skill with significant demand for labor in Haiti.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
The Technical and Trade School opened in August, 2011 with courses in agriculture, auto mechanics and small business management. Mercy & Sharing will expand program offerings over 2012 to include sewing. Part of expansion includes purchasing new books, equipment, and supplies. Mercy & Sharing will also hire additional qualified instructors to lead this expanded curriculum.
Mercy & Sharing is a results-oriented organization. Goals under the Technical and Trade School's expansion are:
1. Open the Technical and Trade School in 2011 with an enrollment of 50 students; completed.
2. Increase enrollment to 100 students for the 2012 school year and maintain enrollment through at least 2014.
3. Assist graduates in finding internships and job placements.
4. Charging a modest fee for tuition, as yet undetermined, to help offset operating expenses by 2014.
5. At least 5 successful graduates return to mentor new students after one year in 2014.
6. Tuition and income-generating contracts tied to curriculum will generate income to offset the costs of the program.
Though accurate and updated statistics are not widely available, the Partnership for Educational Revitalization in the Americas (PREAL) reports in its 2008 study, Education in Haiti: The Way Forward, that "Haiti has, by far, the lowest enrollment, completion, and literacy rates of any country in the Western Hemisphere." Yet education is one of the keys to socioeconomic development. In a country whose future depends on dramatically reducing its severely high unemployment rate, it is imperative that vocational training be made available to young adults who can then enter their communities as employable, contributing citizens.
The need for a Technical and Trade School grew organically as students from the Williamson Academy within Mercy & Sharing Village turned 18 years old. They, like many other young adults completing primary and secondary education in Mercy and Sharing's 3 schools, were not equipped with the proper skills to earn a living. Standard curriculum in Haiti does not teach job skills that will lead to employment in Haiti; as residents complete secondary school, they are in an ideal position to begin training and developing skills necessary to becoming independent, employable members of society.
To capitalize on this opportune time, Mercy & Sharing has defined programming to meet the needs of these young adults, who will be trained to fill positions of high demand within Haiti's labor market, such as agriculture and mechanics. Mercy & Sharing will work to ensure that these young adults and other members of the community find meaningful and lasting opportunities as productive workers helping to rebuild the Haitian economy.