As part of its goal to drive Liberia’s economic growth by preparing students for jobs that are available in the economy, Liberia Career Pathways (LCP) in collaboration with the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, conducted a career pathways train-the trainer workshop for teachers from nine schools in two counties in September. The teachers were recruited from schools in Montserrado and Margibi Counties.
Desiré Williams, an education specialist at USAID and a career expert with over 20 years’ experience in career counseling in Liberia and the United States served as senior facilitator for the workshop. She was joined by Mohammed A. Foboi, Liberia Career Pathways’ country representative. Prior to conducting the training Mohammed participated in a training by a 4-H youth development specialist based in Champaign, Illinois and received coaching from Education Systems Center’s staff. The train-the-trainer workshop was based on the 4-H curriculum and included strategies to help students identify life skills, explore career pathways, conduct job shadows and interviews, and learn key employability skills. The teachers who participated in the training will use the strategies they learned to train students in after-school programs at their schools beginning in October. The program will begin as a pilot in Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Margibi County, William V.S Tubman High School and J.J. Roberts United Methodist School in Montserrado County. The program is the first of its kind in Liberia and the teachers are excited to participate in it.
“This is what Liberia has been missing over the years. There is no career planning and counseling for students in Liberia so many of them just do what they see others doing or through parental influence; but when they graduate from college, they can’t find a job that can help them be self-sufficient. Some of them spend more years in college changing majors,” said one of the teachers.
Rudolph Merab, a Board member of Liberia Career pathways urged the teachers and other stakeholders to focus on preparing Liberian students for postsecondary education, and for jobs that are in demand in the labor market. He said Liberia can only gain economic independence if there is a well-trained workforce to meet the demands of the economy.
Speaking to local journalists after the workshop, Mohammed Foboi called on Liberian businesses and friends of Liberia to support LCP’s efforts.
Lessons learned from implementing this program in Liberia will inform career pathways efforts in Illinois and vice-versa.