Calls for adequate investment in youth
Former Vice President Joseph Nyuma Boakai has said that Liberia is at a critical juncture, and it only takes adequate investment in its youth, especially in technical areas, to put the country on the right trajectory for national development.
He said that for too long investors have imported the labor into the country, and there is a need for that to come to an end—“but this can only happen when the nation invests in its youth. We are aware that the labor aspect of our economy has for a long time been controlled by our brothers from other countries, who come here with their technical skills. We have to take those jobs back for our young people,” Boakai said.
The former ruling party political leader spoke at the Center for Career Discovery during the closing ceremony of the first vacation enrichment program held by the Liberia Career Pathways (LCP) in Monrovia.
The LCP is an innovative public-private education initiative that is designed to support college and career readiness in targeted subject areas such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The program focuses on youth career development in technical areas such as agriculture, Biochemical technicians, and those who can repair high-tech medical equipment—electricians, plumbers and other technical field. Mr. Boakai is the founder of the program, which he borrowed from the USA when he visited there few years ago.
Mr. Boakai said the country’s economic growth and development depend on a trained and skilled workforce, especially the youth who make up the bulk of the population.
“We need to give our young people the skills we need to take over our labor force. We need to reclaim the lost future of this country, and we can only achieve that when we invest in our youth,” he said.
Boakai said that the nation is in need of technical knowledge, “because there are a lot of people who are missing their career and have taken different paths because they are being led in the wrong way.”
According to Mr. Boakai, “we do not have those technical skills, because this is why must of our young people are not employed. We need to start going into the technical fields so that foreigners will not be taking the jobs that belong to Liberians.”
He disabused the minds of the beneficiaries that white collar jobs, which almost everyone is seeking, are the best and well paid jobs.
Boakai added, “Many of you think white collar jobs are the best, but this is not the case. Technical jobs bring more money.”
“We need skills, we need trained people to take-over the development of this country. We have to do this to secure the future of the next generation. This is why I’m so passionate about this program,” Mr. Boakai said, adding that his concern is about the next generation.
Stakeholders and participants posed shortly after the ceremony ended
He lauded the beneficiaries of the vacation for taking advantage of this program, nothing: “This is an opportunity for you that some of us did not have at your age. We don’t feel pleased seeing people coming here taking our jobs, but our people need to be prepared if you are to put an end to this. Let us take our country back and prepare our children to be competent to lead our country.”
LCP Executive Director Kenety Gee said that the enrichment program was intended to provide Liberian youth with opportunities to develop knowledge and skills in key technical sectors.
“This program is helping our students to discover what they are good at and can pursue as a career,” Gee said.
The program began at three high schools — Tubman High, Booker Washington Institute (BWI) and St. Peters Lutheran. He noted that young people need to venture into professions that are in demand if they are to succeed.
All of the beneficiaries were presented certificates of participation