USAID and NI join hands to provide Lower Mekong youth with sci-tech training

  • To create learning centres at universities and vocational colleges in next 5yrs
  • Students and professionals get access NI’s embedded and measurement devices
USAID and NI join hands to provide Lower Mekong youth with sci-tech training

THE United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and National Instruments (NI) have announced a new partnership to provide hands-on training to aspiring young scientists and engineers in the Lower Mekong sub-region.
The training will empower youth with technical skills to help grow the region’s workforce, NI said in a statement.
The partnership has been made possible through Planet NI, a programme with a mission of empowering engineers and scientists in emerging countries to achieve sustainable prosperity by providing increased access to NI technology, it added.
“The United States is committed to developing essential skills in youth and creating an environment for youth – including women – to thrive in school and in the workplace,” said US Ambassador to the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Asean) Nina Hachigian.
“This includes training in hard skills, but just as importantly, work readiness skills, including team work, entrepreneurship, adaptability, and critical thinking,” she said at the launch of the partnership at the Asean Secretariat in Jakarta.
Over the next five years, USAID and NI will work together to create learning centres at universities and vocational colleges to enable students and professionals to access NI’s embedded and measurement devices, including software, hardware, training and technical support.
They can also acquire practical science and technology skills and use them to build solutions and, potentially, new companies, NI said.
This partnership involves developing curricula, training instructors and supplying lab equipment to these schools, startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), it added.
Contributing US$4.5 million in-kind to the partnership, NI commits to provide access to its software and hardware technology platforms, product training materials, virtual and in-country support for multiple regional projects.
These project include the USAID Connecting the Mekong Through Education and Training (USAID Comet) project and the USAID Asean Connectivity Through Trade and Investment project.
NI and USAID previously collaborated through the USAID’s Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER) science programme to support scientists in developing countries.
Since announcing the partnership in 2013, both organisations have worked together to bring scientific equipment, training and support to several research projects, which have also translated into knowledge transfer, patents and establishing new startups, NI claimed.
“We are excited to announce this new alliance with USAID and contribute our technical expertise and products to accelerate the productivity and innovation in the Lower Mekong sub-region,” said Victor Mieres, NI vice president of sales and marketing, emerging markets.
“Access to technical skills and flexible tools combined with the ideas of the young population in this region will enable them to leverage this talent and generate the local solutions needed to ensure the sustainable development of their countries,” he added.
The Asean Economic Community (AEC) promotes a strong mobile and vibrant workforce to help businesses become innovative and grow across the region, NI said.
This is particularly important for the Lower Mekong countries as there is a high demand for scientists and engineers in the food processing, automotive manufacturing, electronics, construction and even tourism industries.
The Lower Mekong sub-region cuts across Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.
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