One million of youth, one million opportunities


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March 21, 2017

One million of youth, one million opportunities

Secondary education articulation, technical training for work, job placement and strengthening alliances were the subjects treated during the first part of the youth employability Col-Col between Urabá and Córdoba, starting from the NEO-Colombia experience.

One million of youth, one million opportunities

Increasing the access of young people to job opportunities in regions affected by the conflict, is the aim of NEO program, one million of youth, one million opportunities, launched by the Inter-American Development Bank (BID) which has been implemented in 10 Latin American countries, including Colombia, and which implementation in Urabá was recognized as the most successful in the region. Recently, NEO Colombia program was awarded by the ANDI foundation, Corona foundation and USAID as one of the 15 best labor inclusion practices in the country.

With this precedent, it was only a matter of time before the NEO Urabá experience became not only internationally known, but also replicated with the firm purpose that more Colombian youth have access to the labour market, which can provide them a stable future.

This was how the Colombian Presidential Agency for International Cooperation, APC-Colombia, using the Cooperation Col-Col tool, designed a knowledge exchange between Urabá and Córdoba for strengthening the employability ecosystem en the Sinú region.

From the technical inputs provided by Comfenalco Antioquia, the entity in charge of implementing the NEO program in Colombia, the requirements expressed by Cordoba referring to the employability subject, Col-Col youth employability took place in Apartadó, Urabá between th 10th and 14 of October this year.

The host of this exchange were the Knowledge Brokers from the NEO URABÁ alliance, official delegation of this program who shared the emblematic experience with their respective 25 public entities, private sector and Córdoba civil society, from Tierralta, Montería and Montelíbano chosen as pilot territories to adopt the lessons learnt during the path.

The first part of the working day was focussed on the induction to the systemic approach experience for the NEO URABÁ employability and its actors; this allowed the identification of NEO program successful factors, according to each component.


Middle education articulation starting from the base of the experience of the Government of Antioquia and its Ministry of Education, as well as the Carepa’s Ministry of Municipal Education and directives and teacher from the rural education institution El Mellito.

It was possible to broaden the scope of the first NEO component in multiple levels, to intervene in the educational system strengthening the teachers in occupational guidance subjects, and teaching the importance of the development of soft skills from early ages, focusing the student towards a project of an alternative life when he/she does not have the facilities to access to a higher education. In NEO URABÁ alliance, this first step has been without any doubt a critical factor for the sustainability and coherence of the employability ecosystem in URABÁ.


Strengthening of Occupational Training (Education for work and Human Development) based on the SENA regional experience, and the Technical Institute of education-ICENF. Both organizations, one of them public and the other private, as members of the NEO Alliance, worked together with the NEO URABÁ team to increase bonding between the students, in addition, they have complemented their offer with free courses within the curriculum referring to soft skills, skills for life, occupational guidance services among other.

Interventional approaches were exchanged between SENA from Córdoba and SENA form Apartadó, although in the first case they work widely with business partners at the moment of the design of the curriculum. An unexpected result was the creation of the “Dual formation program”, a Professional Integral formation strategy used by the participants to carry out a theoretical-practical education process from an integral approach concerted, planned, executed and evaluated together with the business and the SENA, with great results for the job inclusion of the youngsters in the region and with a holistic understanding of the regional productive sector.


Strengthening of Labor Insertion Services, where from the experience of the Employment Agency of Comfenalco, Antioquia, the Employment Agency of Comfamiliar – Camacol, Augura, Oportin and Serempresa businesses, was possible to make evident the articulation between private and public sectors, which as part of the NEO URABÁ program, have benefited with the insertion of youth in working places as an evidence of the previous components. It’s important to say that one of the success factors is the constant tracking of studies and diagnoses about productive profiles and macro projects in the territories, allowing in this way to identify in prospective the jobs required in the market in the future and which skills need the youth to be strengthened.


Strengthening the NEO alliance: the employability platform in each territory is formed and built according to the territory features, the converging actors, to its challenges and potentialities and considering the dynamism of the environment. So, the management and consolidation of public-private alliances for the youth employability was considered as a component of the program just to make it relevant and to track and monitor their improvement plans.

In this way, Neo Alliance Technical Comitee in Apartadó and strategic communication and knowledge management which filter the program, showed the participants the importance of maintaining a direct and constant relationship with the members of the employability ecosystem, in order to implement and evaluate the actions planned as a whole, which results in a quick identification of the difficulties and definition of continuous improvement actions.

At the end of the week, there was a binnacle of experiences from the organizations, which took part in the event, and also with an analysis of Cordoba’s potential to be replicated in the municipalities of Montelíbano, Montería y Tierralta. Inputs that will be used to develop the second phase (from 29th of  November to December  the 2nd) in that department and build an action plan in the table of employability of the region.

The above mentioned ratifies the APC-Colombia commitmentto manage public-private partnership under the triangle scheme (link of the public sector, civil society and private sector), to promote an ideal platform and to provide young people access to the work market as an alternative life project , when there are no resources to access to a higher education in an immediate way.