Colombia, Antioquia Making Huge Leaps in Tech Education with SENA Initiatives
Colombia’s giant national technical/technological training institute SENA (Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje) announced February 4 a COP$20 billion (US$6 million) investment in a new training-center campus in La Ceja, Antioquia — serving multiple municipalities in Medellin’s “oriente” region.
According to the joint announcement by La Ceja Mayor Nelson Carmona Lopera and SENA director Carlos Mario Estrada, the new training center will debut in 2021, following construction work that begins in mid-2020, on a 13,200-square-meters lot donated by SENA.
The new center will provide “free, innovative and quality higher education,” focusing upon technical and technological training, according to SENA’s Estrada.
The investment “fulfills the dream of generating projects for the benefit of higher education as the transforming engine of society, while contributing to expand employment and development alternatives for the locality and region,” according to the Mayor’s press statement.
“Our [training center] headquarters will offer the opportunity to access free technical and technological education of relevance to the region and is very close to the [public bus] transport terminal,” Mayor Carmona said.
The center “will have programs that will contribute to the ‘orange’ [creative, higher-tech] economy, and will offer development [courses] for entrepreneurship, science and innovation,” he added.
During 2019, SENA trained more than 8.8 million apprentices through the 117 training centers in all 33 regional departments and 1,100 municipalities in Colombia.
In order to boost chances for post-training employment, SENA has established alliances with world-leading technology companies including Amazon Web Services, Siemens, Mnemo Colombia SAS, Bosch Rexroth, Festo, Huawei, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, LG, Samsung and others, focusing upon “cybersecurity, cloud computing, big data, block chain, internet of things, application development and software,” according to the institute.
In addition, the SENA-administered Public Employment Agency (PEA) last year enrolled another 25,546 companies posting job vacancies, generating 452,531 placements, helping to reduce Colombia’s national unemployment rates — currently more than 10% thanks in part to more than 2 million impoverished Venezuelans that have fled that socialist dictatorship in the last four years.
The record-breaking job placements came about thanks in part to 266 job-fair events by PEA mobile offices in 134 municipalities of the country, the development of 401 employment micro-apprenticeships, and 159 international job-posting campaigns offering 1,269 vacancies for “Colombians interested in working in countries such as Canada, Spain, the United States, France, Mexico, Ecuador, Malta and Romania,” according to SENA.
Meanwhile, through its “Entrepreneurship Fund,” SENA last year loaned COP$100 billion (US$29 million) in seed capital for 801 new small-business initiatives, generating 4,600 new jobs in the “formal” (tax-paying, benefits-generating) sector.
On another notable front, the University of Texas at San Antonio has just certified the 33 SENA regional educational institutes as meeting U.S. Small Business Development Center (SBDC) standards – the first such certification in all Latin America.