In the heart of Guatemala City’s bustling streets, there is a vocational training center that has become a beacon of hope for marginalized young people who are excluded from society because they lack the knowledge and skills to earn a decent living. Many of them come from the outskirts of Guatemala City and rural areas throughout the country, where there are few opportunities to learn a skilled profession.
The Padre Bartolomé Ambrosio Center for Professional Training (CFP for its initials in Spanish), part of the Salesian Congregation and the Marvelli Foundation, is an oasis of knowledge and youth empowerment. For the past 15 years, the CFP has promoted holistic education, shaping the character and careers of countless young Guatemalans who lacked the financial means to move up the academic and professional ladder. The Salesian’s holistic approach seeks to help young people develop academically as well as personally and spiritually, thus contributing to stronger and more just communities in Guatemala.
With the capacity to serve 300 young people each year, the CFP offers a range of eight technical pathways: motorcycle mechanics; industrial electricity; carpentry; industrial mechanics; welding; and technology tracks in networking, software development, and computer operation and repair. In addition, they offer English classes for careers in sales and customer service, as well as a music academy.
In recognition of its transformative work, PriceSmart Foundation awarded a grant to CFP in 2023 to improve facilities, upgrade equipment, and enrich the curricula of the technology, motorcycle mechanics, and industrial electricity courses. Thanks to the support of PriceSmart Foundation and other Guatemalan partners, a promising new chapter is beginning for the young people of CFP.
The grant supports the installation of new equipment for the CFP’s computer lab. Modernizing the available computers will benefit all young Guatemalans studying at the CFP and will be of particular value to those studying technology careers.
The grant also allows the CFP to expand its workshop spaces and training courses. Since its inception, the Motorcycle Mechanic program has been in high demand, both from young people and the labor market. For that reason, CFP has prioritized expanding the workshop capacity to double the number of students they can enroll annually. This training area has benefited since its inception in 2023 from the support of Canella, a local company that has repair shops and motorcycle parts and is the exclusive distributor of Yamaha in Guatemala. Canella donated new equipment, tools, advice, and training to Salesian instructors. Grupo Master, a Guatemalan automotive parts company, joined the project to support these young mechanics and students in other technical careers by providing a generous donation of equipment and tools for the 2024 school year.
Additionally, with the support of Grupo Cemaco, a leading Guatemalan retail company, a workshop will be built to house a new training option on the Installation and Repair of Photovoltaic Equipment. This course will be guided by the experience and support of Makbi, a Guatemalan company at the forefront of renewable energy, which has also donated equipment and tools for this new specialized skill area that has high demand in the labor market.
These collaborative contributions demonstrate the power of working together and joining resources among private sector partners to enhance social impact. By incorporating other companies into the project, PriceSmart Foundation also hopes to inspire and increase job offers for the young Guatemalans graduating from these technical courses, demonstrating how technical and life skills training has the power to change lives.
We hope that through this grant, CFP will have greater capacity to train and graduate hundreds of men and women into careers with growing labor market demand. Our goal is to see CFP’s current and future generations successfully secure permanent jobs in the formal labor market, achieve economic independence, and together with their families, strengthen communities in Guatemala.