In Guyana, poverty and a lack of positive options have trapped many young people in a cycle of unemployment, crime, or prison. But what happens when youth, many of whom have been incarcerated for minor offenses, are given the skills and opportunity to succeed? Working in support of the goals of the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, EDC implemented the USAID-funded Skills and Knowledge for Youth Employment (SKYE) project to reduce youth crime and violence through targeted alternative sentencing, work readiness training, entrepreneurship development, and livelihood coaching.

Key Activities

SKYE worked with youth from some of Guyana’s most impoverished urban and rural communities. The project’s activities included the following:

  • Conducted a labor market assessment to identify sectors that have the potential for employing youth
  • Identified existing youth services via a participant mapping activity
  • Developed curricula, toolkits, and/or training designs in the areas of work readiness, entrepreneurship, and coaching
  • Provided 6–12 months of one-on-on coaching to each participant, which includes support to create and follow an Individual Livelihood Plan
  • Increased the use of alternate justice and legal diversion options for youth within the juvenile justice system
  • Collaborated with the Government of Guyana, local nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to advance project objectives

Learn more about Specialists in Sustainable Youth Development and Research, the organization carrying on the work of SKYE.


  • More than 2,230 youth completed workforce or livelihoods preparation trainings.
  • 1,018 youth received new or better employment as a result of participation in workforce development activities.
  • Nearly 170 youth started their own businesses after work-readiness training with Be Your Own Boss entrepreneurship grants.


Learn More

U.S. Agency for International Development

Volunteer Youth Corps; Adult Education Association, Inc.