By Bill Brindley
The Arab Spring taught us in 2011 that the youth bulge is a phenomenon that cannot be ignored. In the Middle East 60 percent of the population is under the age of 25, which sociologists and demographers believe introduces incredible promise for the region’s development but also the potential for a missed opportunity with great consequence. The youth bulge is not just a regional challenge; it is problem plaguing most developing countries where educated youth struggle to find employment.
Countries should prioritize giving opportunities to young people because a disaffected youth could equate to the loss of fresh thinkers, innovation and heightened security risks for an emerging economy’s future.
The NetHope Academy gives selected computer science students the training and hands-on experience to pursue a career in Information Technology, an industry that has a serious shortage of qualified professionals in the developing world. With IT skills, these young individuals can greatly improve their chances of finding jobs that propel local companies, governments and NGOs to expand and function in the world economy. In March 2011, the inaugural NetHope Academy Haiti class graduated 39 students with more than 80 percent of them achieving full-time employment.
Over the next three years, the NetHope Academy will train 1,000 interns in Latin American and Africa. NetHope and its partners will select its participants from a pool of promising college graduates, giving preference to underserved populations including women and natives of rural communities. NetHope Academy will provide each student both classroom training as well as a six-month internship focused on critical skills such as desktop support, network administration, cloud services and telecommunications.
I look forward to this week of discussion and dialogue in Davos on the topics have the most weight in shaping our future. Join the conversation on Twitter by following @NetHope_Org, and using the hashtag #WEF.