Ambassador Luis E. Arreaga and INGUAT Director Jorge Mario Chajón signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to build the capacity of Guatemalan youth in the tourism sector. The MOU formalizes the partnership between the U.S.-Embassy-funded English Access Micro-scholarship Program and INGUAT. The agreement will result in training and opportunities for Access alumni, who have advanced English fluency due to their Embassy-funded language training, to work in the tourism industry – a profession in Guatemala that often lacks English-speaking guides capable of assisting foreign tourists. The economic opportunities the program creates will benefit not only Access alumni, but also their local communities with increased resources for attracting foreign tourists.
The English Access Micro-scholarship Program, an English language training program funded by the U.S. Department of State, currently operates in over 90 countries. The Access program began in Guatemala in 2010, has been offered in 20 of the 22 departments, and, with 4000 graduates, is the largest program in Central America. Access recruits economically disadvantaged high school students and takes them from zero English language fluency to intermediate level in two years. Many alumni have obtained jobs with English-proficiency requirements or pursued higher education abroad.
The new MOU with INGUAT will enhance the Access program’s economic benefit to Guatemala by allowing young Guatemalans to work and study in their communities. After signing the agreement, Ambassador Arreaga stated: “Guatemala’s youth are talented and hard-working and can create economic growth here in Guatemala. We’re proud to help them do so by funding the Access program and partnering with INGUAT to prepare tourism professionals who will reveal the country’s cultural and natural heritage to the world.”
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