By Alva M. Wolokolie
The Liberia Opportunities Industrialization Center (LOIC), established in 1977, has revamped its Buchanan Satellite manpower training program with 177 young people from that Port City undergoing series of training in Electricity, Wedding, Masonry, Tailoring, Home Arts, and Carpentry among others.
LOIC objectives are to assist with Liberia’s post-war recovery, reconstruction, and development through human capacity building, social service delivery. The program also targets a proposed solution to the “drop-out” problem, unemployment and underemployment of young adults in the country.
At a brief tour of the facilities in Grand Bassa County, Buchanan during the weekend, the National Executive Director of LOIC Mr. Solomon D. King Sr., told reporters that Chevron Liberia has provided about US$250.000 for rehabilitation work on the Buchanan Satellite branch of LOIC after an assessment was done on the damage of the campus.
Mr. King lauded Chevron for the initiative which commenced since January 2013. He added that Government has always been there for the institution when it comes to salary payment, buying of training materials and other costs.
Taking into consideration the duration of study which sometimes last for about 9 months, Director King disclosed that the 177 young people that are currently being trained are expected to graduate early December 2013.
Mr. King explained that the training is mainly set aside for people they considered as “down trodden” in the community and for those who did not go to school or drop out of school. The exercise which has been on-going for many years in several parts of the country would provide training services to increase the economic capacity of thousands of young Liberians who are directly or indirectly a victim of the country’s civil conflict.
Also speaking while on the tour was Mr. Donald Okai, Program Manager ( LOIC) in Buchanan. In his response to reporters as to how the training is proceeding, Mr. Okai showered praises on the youths for the passion they have shown since the commencement of classes in February 2013. He indicated that at the beginning of the exercise, there were 200 young people who took interest in the training but unfortunately 177 of those youngsters were able to stand the challenges and remained in the program to go forward.
For his part, the County Education Officer (CEO), Mr. Chapman L. Adams lauded the Government for the level of support given the educational sector. Mr. Adams explained that technical skills are essential for the speedy growth and development of the country and its people.
He said young people should take advantage of the initiative because it is free of charge and very rewarding. According to him, there are more youths in the community in a vulnerable state that could take advantage of the training to build their lives tomorrow.
A female who spoke to reporters on the tour expressed the optimism that upon her completion of courses required, she would used her hands God created to do wedding work for survival. Ms. Cynthia W. Kardor of the Wedding Work Department, says she likes the job because anything that a man does, a woman can also do the same.
LOIC has been the largest indigenous non-governmental skills training organization in Liberia. It has operated for over 32 years providing basic skills training and support services to disadvantaged youth in Liberia. Since the inception of the Liberia OIC in 1977, over 28,000 individuals have been trained in Agriculture science, technical skills and small enterprise development in addition to trauma counseling, peace building activities, job placement, resettlement/reintegration and follow-up services.