Career & Education

Google, Mona School of Business to teach unattached youth data, technology skills

Sunday, October 06, 2019

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Technology giant Google has lent its might to empowering unattached Caribbean and Central American youth by providing them with digital and data skills through a programme called Caribbean School of Data.

The plan is to enable, over a period of two years, the training of at least 1,500 disadvantaged young men and women, aged 18-29 in seven countries in topics ranging from data literacy to advanced data management skills, visualisation, integration, and analysis.

“The training is aligned with the needs of the domestic and global online labour markets to ensure graduates acquire new job competencies,” the partners have said.

Caribbean School of Data is a partnership between Google.org and the Caribbean Open Institute (COI). The regional launch took place in the Dominican Republic on September 12, while the Jamaica launch was last Tuesday, October 1.

In Jamaica, the programmes will be implemented by Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) and SlashRoots Foundation.

According to Dr Maurice McNaughton, Director of the Centre for Excellence at MSBM, the data school is a concept that grew out of research and development work carried out over the past several years through the COI with various partners across the Caribbean.

“Across the region we are data poor...with limited access to high quality, locally relevant, openly accessible data, and a culture that does not consider data as an economic asset nor exploits it sufficiently to create value for businesses, and improve service delivery in the public sector,” McNaughton said.

According to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), young people between the ages of 16 and 24 represent an average of 25 per cent of the workforce in the English-speaking Caribbean, and approximately one in five people between the ages of 15 to 24 is not in school or is not part of the workforce. The Caribbean region occupies a low place in the levels of innovation and education, key components of economic growth, as, according to another IDB study, innovation is less likely to occur due to human capital limitations, which could have adverse consequences for medium-term development.

“[At] Google we want to strengthen these initiatives that, in addition to generating real inclusion for less-favoured populations, promote the development of an entire region with great potential,” said Giovanni Stella, Google's country manager for Colombia, Central America, and the Caribbean.

David Soutar, co-principal, SlashRoots Foundation, added: “Equipping the region's citizens with the necessary knowledge and skills to access and benefit from the growing global digital landscape is a core aspect of the SlashRoots Foundation's mission. We believe technology can be a catalyst for economic growth and social change but only through an equitable and inclusive process of digital transformation.”

The local partners for the CSOD are JCC/Sameer Younis Foundation; Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment Programme, Change Makers, and VM Foundation.


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