In 2011 Education Development Center at the request of USAID through the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative conducted a Youth Assessment in Guyana and found that youth were largely represented among the poor, they were not work ready making them vulnerable to risky behaviours. Thus the Skills and Knowledge for Youth Employment (SKYE) Project was then designed with the aim of offering education, skill building, and employment opportunities for at risk youth in Guyana, with the goal of reducing youth crime and violence.
The project that started as a two year project with a target of 600 youth at risk was extended to five years targeting 2,200 youth. To date the project has recorded great success in its ability to work at reducing youth vulnerability to crime and violence, by facilitating guidance on a path of development.
SKYE has reached 2,764 youth, trained 2240, placed over 1090 in jobs with a 95% satisfaction rating from employers, facilitated 158 youth business startups, linked 260 to further education and have facilitated alternative sentences for 118 youth referred to the project. SKYE through its implementing organization Education Development Center http://www.edc.org/ has developed signature curricula targeting literacy, coaching and workforce development training (Work Ready Plus, Work Ready Now, Pre Work Ready, Ready to Read, Be Your Own Boss and Coaching). A number of monitoring and evaluation tools that allows for the literacy assessment of participants, tracer studies to track employment and development as well as basic monthly monitoring tools were created. The project’s greatest asset is its personnel. It is a perfect blend of leadership, qualifications and experiences which make up the family of ‘Specialists in Sustained Youth Development and Research Inc. (SSYDR Inc.). With the impending closure of the current USAID funding and the importance of sustainability of these services, the very group of specialists have come together to form the newly registered not for profit SSYDR Inc.