From dropout to vagrant to teen mother, 19-year-old Manoucheka Lizaire’s life quickly unraveled as she followed a path familiar to girls living in poverty. In Haiti alone, thousands of teens are like Manoucheka—out of school and living on the streets, in domestic servitude, or with families too poor to provide them with an education.
The Ford PAS program, an interdisciplinary high school program developed by Ford Motor Company Fund in collaboration with EDC, is the anchor of two new initiatives designed to help prepare students for careers in fields such as business, engineering, math, science, and technology.
EQUIP3/Haitian Out-of-School Youth Livelihood Initiative, or IDEJEN as the project is known locally, operates twelve youth centers. Each center provides 50 students between the ages of 15-20 with an education in basic reading, writing, and mathematics. Students also receive lessons in health, nutrition, conflict-resolution, and other life-skills. In addition, they learn a marketable trade such as sewing, woodworking, auto mechanics, handcrafts, hotel services, or agricultural businesses.
As fewer young people opt for careers in science, technology, engineering,
and mathematics (STEM), the National Science Foundation has funded
EDC to develop a resource designed to engage young people in career
exploration and development.
Known for its academic rigor—many of the participating sites offer college credit for the course—and hands-on activities, Ford PAS is also renowned for its adaptability. High schools around the country have developed creative and challenging courses with the curriculum modules all in hopes of setting the stage for their students’ advancement to higher education.
Educators hoping to prepare young people for contemporary workplaces have always struggled with the challenge of a moving target. And the target is moving increasingly faster—thanks to the impact technology is having on nearly every career.
Faced with the challenge of designing a program that would bring current business issues into the high school classroom, a team of EDC curriculum writers and researchers began their work in an assembly plant.