President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has called on the Civil Service Agency (CSA) to ensure that the President’s Young Professionals Program (PYPP) extends its training to other skills that are vital to the manpower development of the nation.
Speaking at the graduation of Class Four of the PYPP in the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week, President Sirleaf named entrepreneurs, engineers, doctors, and teachers, among the professions that the CSA’s program should now consider because of the very limited pool of professionals in these disciplines that the country is in dire need of.
President Sirleaf noted that since the launching of the program in 2009, government continues to receive encouraging feedback from ministries, agencies and others who interact with these young people, stressing that it has become one of the outstanding career development and leadership training programs for public service.
“Today we celebrate your accomplishment as the Fourth Class of PYPs. Collectively, you have successfully completed two years of service, mentoring, and training. We congratulate you for being there, for getting it done and for doing well,” Madam Sirleaf told the graduates.
She called on the graduates to continue to be examples of good leadership. “This is only the beginning, we are counting on your commitment and expertise, and you must remain focused on your long term goals with emphasis on integrity, professionalism and ethics for yourselves and country,” she urged.
The President announced that the graduating PYPs will be absorbed by the Civil Service Agency that is working closely with the respective ministries and agencies to finalize arrangements for their transition.
President Sirleaf used the occasion to extend special thanks to all local and international partners, including John Snow Incorporated, for ably administering the program and to the many donors who have contributed to the success of the program.
She particularly thanked the Hess Family Foundation for its generous and continued contribution to support the program’s ongoing operations and transition over the next five years, the Daphne Foundation, Humanity United, McCall MacBain Foundation, Nike, Open Society Institute, Mailman Family, and Simonds Family, IBI USAID – Governance and Economic Management Support Program (USAID-GEMS) as well as individual gifts and donations.
“As we embark on the implementation of the Civil Service Reform and looking further ahead, you are strategic to the grooming of a professional, effective and efficient civil service,” she indicated, stressing further that while young people are often criticized in Liberia, and unemployment is highlighted as a major roadblock to both economic and social recovery, PYP provides a timely and useful bridge from school to work that gives young people the needed opportunity to earn, even while they learn.
United States Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, expressed delight at attending the graduation, saying it was good to celebrate what’s good about the country. “The US Government is pleased to be a partner in this process,” she said, noting that the program was highlighted at the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit last August while looking at ways that the U.S. together with governments in Africa can invest in the future generation of these countries and PYP is a prime example.
Meanwhile the PYP is a competitive two-year program for recent Liberian college graduates who have exhibited leadership ability, integrity and honesty and are committed to assisting with the reconstruction and development of Liberia. It was initiated through the instrumentality of President Sirleaf to help empower young graduates and meet their employment needs.
The CSA’s program Class Four constituted 15 graduates assigned at the Ministries of Finance and Development Planning, Gender, Children and Social Protection, National Investment Commission, National Housing Authority, and the Liberia Maritime Authority. Five have been awarded scholarships and are pursuing graduate studies in the People’s Republic of China and the United States.