The International Youth Foundation (IYF) is pleased to announce the launch of Rutas (Routes), a program designed to forge a link between the public education system and the local private sector in three states along Mexico´s northern border. Supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the three-year program empowers students to secure jobs and meet employer expectations in Mexico's most dynamic industries.

Rutas will deliver systemic change within the state’s upper secondary schools by using innovative approaches to career education, skills, and job placement services. The program activities include the delivery of relevant, market-informed curricula in technical upper secondary schools; integration of internships and other on-the-job training into curricula; improvement of career guidance services; enhanced job placement capabilities; creation of system-wide tracking systems; and the establishment of a youth-friendly portal for finding jobs.

In Chihuahua, Rutas will specifically tap into human capital needs surrounding the municipality’s aerospace cluster and work with area high school systems to design curricula to equip students with the skill set necessary to qualify for entry-level technical jobs. “Rutas presents a flexible strategy to transfer knowledge and experience from businesses to schools, so that the schools are better able to help us to train staff which enables us to generate wealth for Chihuahua,” remarked Francisco Santini, the President of the Consejo Coordinador Empresarial en Chihuahua.

“We are working to ensure that when youth graduate, they will carry the skills that are valued by Chihuahua’s business people in order to find work quickly and for better pay,” said Miguel Armendariz, Director General of Colegio Nacional de Educación Profesional Técnica (CONALEP), one of the upper secondary schools collaborating with the Rutas program.  

In further pursuit of the initiative’s objective to pioneer systemic change in Mexico’s public education system, in Ciudad Juárez Rutas will pilot a soft skills development program; pioneer new ways to prepare students for on-the-job training; and manage schools’ relationships with the businesses that host internships.

The program engages alliances of diverse stakeholders representing the public, private, and civil society sectors. In addition to CONALEP, Fundación del Empresariado Chihuahuense (FECHAC), a local civil society organization, serves as the implementing partner in Chihuahua and brings 25 years of experience engaging businesses in delivering quality social services to the program.