The Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, founded by President Bill Clinton and philanthropist Frank Giustra, this week announced a partnership with the Government of Canada, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

The partnership will, thanks to DFATD’s $CAD 600,000 investment, will provide new employment and education opportunities to more than 20,000 youth, and training scholarships and job internships to over 700 youth living in communities around Cartagena, Colombia.

CGEP’s Acceso Training Center model supports a range of demand-driven training programs aimed at improving the livelihoods of thousands of youth around the world. The Acceso Training Center prepares and places marginalized youth in quality hospitality jobs by providing them with the specific competencies and skills sets in housekeeping and hotel guest services, and as kitchen aids, baristas, food and beverages patrons, administrative and accounting assistants. In Cartagena, youth from the poorest neighborhoods are provided training for jobs in productive sectors including tourism, port logistics and health care.

President Clinton and Frank Giustra toured the Acceso training center as part of a trip to Latin America to tour CGEP projects in the region.

“This generous investment by the Government of Canada will help the Acceso Training Center provide educational and employment opportunities to even more vulnerable youth in Colombia,” said President Clinton. “Building on this success, we are looking to replicate the Training Center enterprise model in tourism, hospitality, and other sectors throughout Latin America and other developing regions.”

“We are very pleased to partner with the Government of Canada on our Acceso Training Center aimed at helping vulnerable youth in Cartagena, Colombia,” said Giustra. “This partnership will advance youth employment, spur economic development, and create innovative approaches to alleviating poverty. This contribution will foster continued growth of this Center which we inaugurated last May enabled by a joint investment with Fundacion Carlos Slim and local investors.”

“Our success has been heavily dependent on our ability to identify and respond to growing labor market requirements and tailor our training programs to the specific needs of a rapidly growing sector,” said Mark Gunton, CEO of the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. “This results in sustainable job placements. Many training programs are disconnected from local market requirements. We ensure ours are completely in line with where there is market demand.”

Cartagena’s hospitality industry is growing at an impressive rate, resulting in a big need for entry level positions in hospitality.

“Canada is proud to contribute to this Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership initiative that will help the youth of Cartagena improve their living conditions and their livelihoods in this historic city,” said Christian Paradis, Canada’s Minister of International Development and La Francophonie. “It will empower youth through access to training and employment in the tourism sector, a key growth area for the Colombian economy.”

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