At the launch of the Liberia Career Pathways Wednesday, February 5, Vice President Joseph N. Boakai envisaged a new generation of Liberians whose handiworks would be immediately impactful on the nation’s forward march.
The Vice President said the program—held at a local hotel in Monrovia—was the beginning of a “promising partnership between the Illinois Career Pathways and the Liberia Career Pathways.”
According to him, “this program could not have moved an inch without the goodwill and support from the people and State of Illinois in the United States of America.”
VP Boakai stated the birth of the partnership between Illinois and Liberia for the strengthening of education and training in key economic sectors was welcomed by the government.
Speaking earlier, Mrs. Otterlee Diggs, Project Manager of Liberia Career Pathways, said in 2012, the State of Illinois launched The Illinois Career Pathways, a new innovative public-private education initiative designed to support college and career readiness in targeted clusters of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in addition to Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
Mrs. Diggs indicated that those attending the Liberia Career Pathways’ launch, including the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Education, Agriculture, Youth and Sports, Commerce and Industry, the business community and educators, had come to join VP Boakai “to launch a parallel initiative that would provide Liberian youth with opportunities to develop knowledge and skills in key sectors, commencing with Agriculture.”
Also among the audience were the Ambassadors of the United States of America and Sierra Leone.
One of the minor differences from the State of Illinois’ initiative, which has STEM, is that the Liberian cluster is Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Mathematics (STEAM). Mrs. Diggs said lessons learnt from Illinois Career Pathways would strengthen Liberia Career Pathways, while Illinois’ engagement with Liberia would expose their (Liberia’s) educators and students to global content of areas in Agriculture, and also connect Illinois based businesses with opportunities in Liberia.
“One of our biggest dreams is to join hands with our legislators, who are requesting a junior college in each county, by asking to provide about 10,000 acres of land or more to have a BWI-type school, regionalized for students from kindergarten. Another important dream is to give back to our young people the discipline instilled in us from boarding schools,” Mrs. Diggs added.
Also speaking was Dr. Andrea Messing-Mathie, from the Northern Illinois University Office of Education System Innovation, who stated the problems that Liberian students face, while different from Illinois, are part of their collective past.
Dr. Messing-Mathie added: “The problems of making education and employment meaningful and real for all students, regardless of age, gender or social position, are part of our collective present. And the realities of a global and interconnected world where the challenges that one country faces are real and consequential to the others, is a very real part of our collective future.”
She intoned that they view the partnership with Liberia as one that would better prepare Liberian students to live in a global and interconnected world.
Liberia Career Pathways
This is a new and innovative public-private education initiative designed to support college and career readiness in targeted STEAM clusters. The project is modeled after the Illinois Career Pathways.
Representatives of the State of Illinois are working with the Liberian Government to strengthen education and training in key sectors in both economies, beginning with the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resource cluster.
The mission of the Liberia Career Pathways, according to the organizers, is to empower and support Liberian learners to progress through and transition from high quality education and training experiences into rewarding careers for Liberia’s economic growth.