USAID Collaborates with Iraqis to Reopen Vocational Training School

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, March 24, 2009
USAID Press Office

BAGHDAD, IRAQ-The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the Mada'in District Council, reopened Salman Pak Industrial School today. The school's mission is to improve Iraqis' skills that will enable them to find a better life through further employment and improved businesses in their communities.

The Iraqi Ministry of Education (MoE) offers technical and vocational training in the last three years of secondary education. There are about 154 industrial vocational education schools in Iraq, according to the ministry. The renovated Salman Pak school has the capacity to train up to 700 students in eight courses: sewing, generator maintenance; welding; automotive repair; plumbing; electrical installation; masonry; and carpentry.

In his remarks at the opening, USAID's country director Christopher D. Crowley said, "The reopening of the school will provide Iraqis with useful skills in a competitive job market and local employers with a qualified labor force that increases their productivity." He also said that he hoped the Iraqis who receive training at the school will contribute to an expanding and diversified private sector and help the Iraqi government in its reconstruction efforts.

Local Iraqi officials identified the renovation of Salman Pak Industrial School as an important community priority, after insurgent-led attacks had destroyed much of the building. The MoE and the Mada'in District Council worked in partnership with the embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team, the U.S. military, and the local security officials to complete the project, which created short-term jobs for unemployed laborers and long-term jobs for the staff.

USAID invested $600,000 in the project, as a part of its country-wide efforts to help create an environment for stability and establish the conditions for long-term development to take hold in violence-affected areas. The Government of Iraq contributed approximately $58,000 in labor to remove and dispose of trash and debris from the grounds, and drain the standing water that had accumulated in the garden. Moving forward, the MoE will maintain the building grounds, provide a full-time guard and hire and retain qualified teachers for the school.

Since 2003, USAID has partnered with Iraq in more than $6 billion of programs; all designed to stabilize communities; foster economic and agricultural growth; and build the capacity of the national, local, and provincial governments to respond to the needs of the Iraqi people.

For more information about USAID programs, please visit our website at The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years.