The Business and Domestic Occupational Training Center (BDOTC) took center stage in the empowerment of young people when over the weekend it graduated 260 youth in various skills, including tailoring, baking, event decoration, cookery, beauty, culture and braiding and weaving, among others.
Youth and Sports Minister D. Zeogar Wilson lauded the graduates for their commitment and hard work that have prepared them for their achievement. “This training center has graduated thousands of students, some of whom have bettered their lives through employment and entrepreneurship,” he said.
The graduation ceremony was held at the Samuel K. Doe Sports Complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, which was attended by family members, friends, government officials, and partnering institutions.
“Some of you will have the opportunity to be employed, others will become entrepreneurs while some will continue the job search. I want to encourage you all not to give up, to continue to have faith and believe in yourself that light is at the end of the tunnel,” Minister Wilson said.
Minister Wilson’s message was read by acting Minister Audrian Smith-Forbes, who indicated that the ministry will not turn its back on the graduates, but will continue to assist them in their quest.
“We are in this together,” he told them.
He expressed gratitude to the director of BDOTC, Faiquen N. Gweh, and her staff for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to impart knowledge and skills to the graduates.
Minister Wilson added, “We know you taught them under difficult circumstances and made tremendous sacrifices, because of your love for teaching and commitment to skillfully empower young people.”
Samuel R. Enders, Representative of #6, Montserrado County, who served as the keynote speaker, told the graduates that determined people get results that others cannot get easily.
Rep. Enders: “Today all of you have come thus far because of your hard work. Some of you decided to attend this school because this was the only opportunity afforded you even when people said that you could not make it.”
According to him, determined people make the impossible possible in society and in the country. “You are graduating because of the level of determination you have and I want you to keep the focus on everything,” he added.
“We want the government to prioritize the empowerment of young people to ensure that they have the necessary skills for the job market. Adequate knowledge is cardinal for the current generation,” said valedictorian William T. Yah.
He said the empowerment of young people will create the enabling environment for Liberian youth to serve in key positions, including managers.
Yah called on his colleagues to take advantage of the knowledge acquired to better their living conditions and assist in the development of Liberia.
The BDOTC was established in 1975 during the leadership of President William R. Tolbert, Jr. under the Ministry of Labor, Youth, and Sports.
In 2003, when the Ministry of Youth and Sports reopened the BDOTC, the school was temporarily hosted at the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC) on Somalia Drive, Paynesville, until the ministry could find a suitable place for the training center.