ccDaily > U.S. colleges, Brazil partner on building workforce skills

U.S. colleges, Brazil partner on building workforce skills


Mary Gershwin of US-Brazil Connect briefs community college students selected to participate in a month-long fellowship abroad.
Photo: US-Brazil Connect

​A new partnership between three U.S. community colleges and Brazilian organizations is designed to broaden technical skills and international experience for students from both countries.

The US-Brazil Partnership for Skills—co-created by US-Brazil Connect, the National Industrial Apprenticeship Service of Brazil (SENAI) and the Social Service for Industry of Brazil (SESI)—aims to improve the English skills of 200 Brazilian technical students in high school. It will also create opportunities for U.S. community college students interested in science and technology careers to participate in 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.

“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. “The two countries will benefit 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.”

Ready for the exchange

Houston Community College (HCC) in Texas, Jackson Community College in Michigan and Red Rocks Community College in Colorado—founding members of the US-Brazil Connect consortium—have selected the first group of two-year college students who will travel to Salvador, Brazil, for a four-week exchange in June.

“We are seeing the U.S. community college evolving as an active and respected player in the global arena, exporting the flexibility and adaptability of the American community college model abroad while helping to deliver education as the new diplomacy,” said Mary Spangler, HCC chancellor and US-Brazil Connect board member. “Through this experience in Salvador, Brazil, students will come to see in real-life terms how truly small and connected our world is."

The 20 U.S. students will tutor Brazilian technical students in English and participate in an intensive program focused on Brazil’s sustainability technology and innovation.

“Focusing on our common need to develop science, technology, engineering and math education in both countries, our work will help students thrive in an interconnected world,” said Mary Gershwin, president of US-Brazil Connect.

The program is designed to make international experience accessible, according to organizers. Selected community college students will pay less than five percent of the total costs of the program.

Following the month-long fellowship in Salvador, selected Brazilians will then have the opportunity to visit U.S. colleges.