VP Taylor Opens Global Opportunities For Young Liberians -Launches SOS/NekoTech Readiness College-USA/Canada

MONROVIA : Some of the pressing challenges facing the young people of Liberia which include but not limited to  lack of skills, limited opportunities for further studies beyond a first degree, illegal migration, unemployment, etc may soon be issues of the past as the Vice President, Dr. Jewel Howard Taylor has elevated the access to global opportunities for Liberian youth with the launch of SOS-Nekotech Readiness –USA/Canada, an international platform which will provide decent jobs and work-study opportunities for them to legally and properly migrate to earn incomes from high paid and secured jobs and  to acquire higher degrees in high-income earning disciplines in the United States of America and other advanced countries of the world including the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, etc.

Speaking at the international virtual launch which she joined in her office at the Capitol Building on Thursday, July 20, 2023, Vice President Madam Howard Taylor said she was excited for the program to finally take off in Liberia after a lot of time, energy and resources have been put in the process which she describes as “a dream come true’ and will go a long way to address some of the challenges being faced by  the young people in the midst of limited opportunities and competing priorities by the government.

“I am honored that Liberia is on board and we look forward to finalizing our plan so that we can now begin to send out the young people that are made up of 60% of our population. A lot of them have not had the opportunities to be properly trained but they need opportunities.

“A lot of them are parents themselves so we have to find ways to get this huge energetic and  visionary group of people in the diaspora, working properly where the proceeds can be sent back home and then provide opportunities in the new skills that Africa needs to develop.

“This is important as we look forward to the Africa Free Trade Agreement, about Africa becoming industrialized and being accessed by Africans. So we no longer have to sell our raw materials out of the continent and they bring them back millions times more and that our people can now be able to be trained properly and come back home and build the Africa that we deserve.

Giving background on the program, VP Taylor said she was excited to be part of the international launch of the initiative which was a product of the  long journey working with Rev. Dr. A. K. Ocansey, the Chief Executive Officer of SOS Labour Migration for Liberia to be enlisted and the fruit of all the hard work paid off when Liberia was accepted and given 20 slots for young Liberians to apply for Master’s degree in various disciplines of their choices which are in high demand on the international job market.

“Liberia is getting involved for the first time and our number of candidates to begin at the Master’s level is 20 and also a platform for decent work. So the agency that has been working with African leaders on this project for more than five years is called SOS Labour DotCom Agency to provide information to government to provide better education for our young people on the one hand and also to provide Master’s degree opportunities in the disciplines that will develop the Africa that we want to see.

“And so after much consultations, Liberia has been given the slot to begin with the Master’s program with the first 20 persons who will be asked to apply, they will be vetted and then they will go to the United States to do their Master’s.

“We are working on the Decent Work program because we have a lot of our young people who might not have gotten proper education and will want to go abroad.

“We want to stop the issue of illegal migration, so that Liberians who are going the extreme way to travel abroad will be processed and access job opportunities across the world, such as Canada, Middle East and other places”, she said.

She said decent work migration scheme will be a boost to President George Manneh Weah’s sustained stand against illegal migration that has seen a good number of young people being misled into ill-advised travel, most of whom ended into unfortunate stories including deaths, rape, robbery and abuse.

“So this will also be an added platform to amplify what President George Manneh Weah has been speaking against about our young people leaving this country for the proverbial greener pastures that do not exist and they end up in all kinds of unfortunate stories. We do not want our people to leave this country under darkness and go through suffering outside of this country”, she said

The Vice President said the network will be set up in her office and interested persons will apply online and all applications will be processed through a portal and documents vetted externally and that those who qualify will go straight to the program after signing on to the terms and conditions of the program.

Asked what the initiative means for the Liberian youth, VP Taylor said it will serve as an enabling platform for the young people to improve themselves and take care of themselves for the task ahead, raising their families and making invaluable contributions to the country and its people.

“We have 60 percent of our population being young people and it is our obligation to provide the opportunities for them to excel in areas they have chosen for the betterment of their future as well as the development of the country.

“I know our economy is small but I hope that in the near future it will grow bigger but I don’t want a situation that has been in the past where young people don’t have the requisite skills. And so when people are looking for job opportunities from across the sea and even in some places you find accountants or the comptroller is a foreigner and when you ask, they say your people are not trained.

“At least education is the easier way out of poverty and so the work I have done in the course of my political life have been mostly sending girls to school but this program is intended for both level so anyone who wants to do a Master’s degree can do it and we hope in the next cycle, there will be more chances to open, there are thousands of opportunities for Liberians”, she said

Explaining further about the program, the Vice President who also described the program as a personal enhancement initiative said there will be a registration fee of USD2,500.00 for the program and qualified students who are selected will undergo studies leading to the award of Master’s degrees in various disciplines and after their studies, jobs will be offered by the United States Government for the individuals to work and refund what the money expended on their education.

“So it is a personal enhancement program. The students will not have to worry about the cost. The fees will be paid for and after the studies, they will work and pay back the money to the United States Government. This should not be a program for them because the government will look for jobs for them because they have gotten advanced education that will put them on a higher platform”, she said.

The elated number two citizen in the country who has demonstrated over the years her interest and passion for higher education said the initiative will be a stepping stone for PhD opportunities because there has become a compelling need for instructors at the various universities and colleges in the country to have PhD qualifications so as to adequately impact knowledge to students intending to do further studies in the local institutions as well as academically uplift the status of those universities and colleges.

The SOS Labor Ghana Limited is a multiple Award Winning Licensed Labor Migration and International Job Placement Agency established in Ghana in 2007 and Licensed in January 2008 and has since won over 12 awards globally for excellence in migration.

According to the corporate profile shared with The Analyst, the affiliate of the institution, the Nekotech Center of Excellence is a non- governmental organization and a first class migrant training institution established in 1998 with its center built and opened by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

The SOS provides decent job placements while Nekotech Center offers training and certification as well as skills equivalency assessments and international language tests preparation which include, IELTS,  GRE, GMAT, DUOLINGO, etc.

SOS-Nekotech specializes in three areas of migration programs, name, the Africa-US/Canada Corridor for tertiary education which offers Master degree/work study programs with loans up to $100,000.00, the Africa-Middle East Corridor which is for low to semi-skilled workers with education level ranging between Junior to senior high education and the Africa-Australia Corridor for skilled mining workers who are employed as technical personnel.

A proposal earlier made to VP Taylor by Dr. Ocansey, titled, “SOS Decent Jobs and Work-Study For Liberian Youth, drew up a five year strategic master plan with a projection of 50,000 decent jobs as well as income projections that will be accruable to both the beneficiaries and the government of Liberia.

For low skill workers, the proposal said there will be a projection of USD258 million in income for them and the government will receive USD 12 milllion while USD240 million will go to Master’s degree graduates as income and the government will receive USD3 million.

Some of the countries already in the program include Sierra Leone, Zambia, Cameroun, Ghana, among others.

Besides VP Taylor who made a splendid presentation while delivering her goodwill message on the launch, other distinguished speakers had the opportunity to share their thoughts on the initiative and include, Rev. Dr. Princess Asie Ocansey, Executive Chairperson, NekoTech Center of Excellence, Dr Justina Mutale, Founder & President, Justina Mutale Foundation and Bishop Dr Evan Glover, Senior Policy Advisor, CAFBLC

Others are Prof. Byron Price, Professor Medgar Ever College, City University of New York, Mr Tyson Mannering, Associate Director, North America and UK Recruitment, EduCo USA, Gianluca Mauro, Founder & CEO, AI Academy USA and Ms Ida Abbeyquaye, Executive Director, NekoTech Centre of Excellence.

Meanwhile, Vice President Taylor disclosed that as part of her efforts to expand the landscape for the young people to obtain relevant education and needed skills to empower them for the opportunities ahead, her office has reached an agreement with a leading academic provider in India which is affiliated to top universities and colleges, Aditya Educational Institution to provide scholarship opportunities to Liberian students to undergo students in various disciplines, some of which are not common in Liberia like forensic studies, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, cyber Security, Information Security, Questioned Documents and Fingerprints, Chemistry  and Toxicology, Data Science, Petroleum Engineering.

She further said besides the regular degree programs, the institution is willing to offer certification programs in information technology where students trained there will be competitive on the global market. A check by The Analyst through the various programs offered under this category include but not limited to Salesforce, CCNA, Gaming, Python, VR, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Azure, HTML.

She also indicated that the institution has expressed interest in entering a formal agreement with the government to build a university in Liberia with the proposal that the government should provide about 200 acres of land as equity in the partnership while the entire cost of construction will be the responsibility of the institution.

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