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US-Brazil Partnership for Skills program

Challenge:

The World Connect / US-Brazil Partnership for Skills program aims to provide access to life-changing opportunities to Brazilian and American youth, reaching beyond students in universities and elite colleges. Specifically, its initial goal was to improve the English skills of 200 Brazilian technical students in high school and to create opportunities for U.S. community college students interested in science and technology careers to participate in intensive study and immersion in Brazil and develop the foundation for mutually-beneficial cooperation between community colleges in the U.S. and SENAI/SESI schools in Brazil. Based on a successful pilot, engaging Houston Community College (TX), Jackson Community College (MI), and Red Rocks Community College (CO), the program will expand in 2013 to engage more community colleges in the United States and more schools in Brazil, reaching 700 Brazilian students and approximately 70 participants from U.S. community colleges. “In addition to our work to benefit students in both countries, the US-Brazil Partnership for Skills builds institutional capacity by bringing U.S. community colleges together with the SENAI and SESI systems in Brazil. Altogether, these systems impact over 10 million American students and 5 million Brazilians,” explained Mary Gershwin, president of US-Brazil Connect. “Focusing on our common need to develop a skilled global workforce in both countries, our work helps students thrive in an interconnected world.” The World Connect/US-Brazil Partnership for Skills is led by an alliance of three organizations. US-Brazil Connect, a bi-national, non-profit organization focused on expanding U.S.-Brazil connections for education and economic opportunity, provides leadership and program management in the United States. In Brazil, the partnership is led by two organizations: SENAI (Serviço Nacional de Aprendizagem Industrial) is Brazil's largest organization of professional and technological education and SESI (Serviço Social da Indústria) is Brazil's leader in promoting improved quality of life for workers and their dependents including providing high quality basic education for students from first through twelfth grade.

Solution:

US community college student interns helped improve Brazilian high schoolers’ English skills through daily interaction at local Brazilian schools. Affordable and scalable assessment of English is a critical component of the Partnership. Assessments delivered via CASAS eTests Online measured progress in language skills throughout the program. Online access for proctors and administrators greatly simplified the process of administering, scoring, and interpreting test data in a timely fashion. Results helped determine scholarship winners.

Outcome:

Ten scholarship winners were selected from the 200 students who participated in the 2012 program in Salvador. US-Brazil Connect, Red Rocks Community College, the Denver Center for International Education, and other partners hosted the scholars in a leadership exchange in October. “We are creating a strong network of people and institutions for knowledge and culture, bringing young people in both countries together to develop their skills and to increase dialogue between our institutions,” said Sergio Moreira, Deputy Director for Education and Technology at Brazil’s National Confederation of Industries (CNI). “The two countries are benefiting equally. Our aim is to reach all Brazilian states, starting with the participants in the basic and vocational education programs run by SESI and SENAI.” CASAS is working closely with SENAI and SESI during this program expansion.

Read more on the US-Brazil Partnership for Skills and Conexão Mundo/World Connection

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