Hi Amplify Team! Thank you so much for the feedback and for the opportunity to participate in this challenge. Here is our response to some of your questions:
1.) Our inspiration came during a trip in Cambodia. Touring Angkor Wat in 2000, Jeremy Hockenstein, our Founder and CEO, who then a business consultant trained at McKinsey, was struck by the mixture of poverty and progress in the country. On one hand, he met talented and promising youth who went to many schools that offered basic computer training. On the other, there was a severe lack of actual opportunities that connected youth to jobs. It was a trip that formed the core of DDD – a relentless drive to propel youth to rise out of poverty.
Today, this core continues to push us to do better as we expand and develop new programs. The idea for BEST Training began in Cambodia and was inspired by our realization that many of the youth that we recruit do not readily possess essential work skills.
We are learning from our Impact Sourcing peers as part of the Global Impact Sourcing Collaborative, as well from other youth education and employment programs, such as: Education for Employment, Generations, Harambee and Maharishi Institute. In particular, we’ve identified a key challenge in closely monitoring labor market demand to ensure that skills development maps to the current needs of employers. While DDD will bring its own BEST training program from Cambodia, other organizations have similar programs which we are learning from--including one with the same name!
2.) One challenge we see is for youth to persist to complete a diploma or degree. This is especially true for young women in our program; and we are heartened that four of them are graduating this December. The greatest challenge is finding a professional job after DDD. We are supporting youth with training in preparing a resume, as well as in networking and interviewing, and with mentorship from our senior managers.
We ensure that we have a supply of work for the youth employed at DDD through marketing, an international salesforce, and support from our board. DDD has always built partnerships with clients that share our commitment to create better futures for disadvantaged youth. Aligning our impact work with our business needs is key to strengthening the services we offer, thereby enabling us to attract new clients.
We provide youth with ongoing professional and personal support even after finishing the program. The following groups provide mentoring to guide youth in pursuing their academic aspirations and career track: :: Educational Committee :: Young Professional Club
3.) Our criteria for recruitment are the following: :: Aged between 18-23 years old :: High school graduate or 1st/2nd year college student :: Highly motivated to pursue a personal goal :: Comes from a family with a per capita income of less than $120 :: Speed and accuracy test minimum score is 50% :: Demonstrates potential and eagerness to learn
4.) DDD graduates find jobs as professionals and also serve as community leaders and role models. Most of our alumni have gone on to careers in information technology or banking and finance. Others have become teachers or worked in hospitality or retail. Some have started their own businesses after working for 2-3 employers. Many come back to share their experience with youth currently in DDD’s program. Their insights inspire current program participants and motivate us to continue our work.
5.) Our vision is a world in which every youth has the opportunity to develop themselves to their full potential through education and employment. For us and our program participants, success means professional employment with a growing income, as well as opportunities to contribute back to the community. In addition, DDD’s success means achieving this in a way that is financially sustainable.