----Presents special report on “Global Benchmarks and High Value Best Practices for Improving Performance in Massive Scale Youth Skilling.----

Dateline: New Delhi, August 3, 2011

The American India Foundation (AIF), in collaboration with the National Skill Development Corporation (NDSC), held its third national knowledge seminar on skill development entitled “Skilling India’s Youth: Successes, Lessons, and the Way Forward” at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi on August 3, 2011. 
The annual seminar, which brought various skill sector experts from around the country together, was especially notable this year as Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, former President of India, attended and delivered the keynote address to an audience of training providers, governmental agencies, employers and non-profit organizations.

“Skilling India’s Youth” addressed poignant topics for India including how the youth of the country must be armed with marketable skills for India to compete in the global world economy. Particularly discussed was the way in which stakeholders, including the governmental organizations and NGOs, will address the emerging challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for providing skills training to unemployed youth. Additionally, ways to present innovative delivery approaches and facilitate private-public partnerships to expand skill building capacity in India were debated as some of the best practices in the field were shared.

AIF CEO Dr. Sanjay Sinho remarked, “As India continues to grow and evolve in the 21st century, it still faces significant issues with unemployed youth. We hope today’s event can be a jumping-off point for knowledge sharing between organizations that allows all important information to be collective, because it will take many actors to be a part of the solution.” 

Mr. Dilip Chenoy, MD and CEO of NSDC, added, "Skill development holds the key to India being able to leverage its demographic dividend to join the league of developed nations by the turn of this decade. All stakeholders – government, industry and civil society – would need to play a part to achieve the Prime Minister’s goal of skilling 500 million people by 2022, and transforming India into the skills capital of the world.”

The August 3rd event also had a special address on Global Benchmarking on Skill Training by Mr. Paul Kazarian, the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Japonica Partners and the Charles & Agnes Kazarian Foundation. Dr. Kazarian presented, for the first time, a special report on “Global Benchmarks and High Value Best Practices for Improving Performance in Massive Scale Youth Skilling.” The report featured the results of a year-long study covering organizations from across the globe on the best practices for addressing the critical need to rapidly advance skills training for youth in the 16 to 30 year old range. “The social pressures of unproductive youth have become ever more increasingly pressing and obvious over the past year, as youth unrest and related political turmoils have shaken all forms of governments … this Project Report seeks to empower great aspirations [to combat youth unemployment] in the whole human family.” 

Another highlight of the seminar was the launch of the Financial Literacy modules by Dr. Kalam, Ms. Paula Bennett, Director, Corporate Citizenship, Citi Asia Pacific and Victor Menezes, Chairperson, AIF. AIF recently entered into a partnership with the Citi Foundation to expand their Market-Aligned Skills Training (MAST) program. The Citi Foundation's grant aims to provide 2,500 unemployed youth in Delhi and Jaipur with the necessary skills to secure entry-level service sector jobs, and for the first time includes financial literacy training. Ms. Bennett said, “We are delighted to be partnering with AIF to support the MAST program and to incorporate customized financial literacy modules into the MAST curriculum. At Citi, we believe that financial capability is a critical life skill. Learning about budgeting, saving and financial planning can improve people's financial security and well-being, and is especially important for low-incomeindividuals."

A wide panel of expert speakers attended to discuss and participate in the meeting, including Manish Sabharwal, CEO, TeamLease; Central Bank of India; Shyamala Deshpande, President of HR, Café Coffee Day; Arbind Singh, CEO, Nidan; and Venkat Srinivasan, Founder, EnglishHelper. 

The event was sponsored by the Central Bank of India, who’s Executive Director, Mr RK Dubey, also spoke on the financing of skill training through skill loans - a pilot currently being conducted in partnership with AIF - and the Charles and Agnes Kazarian Foundation. 

The American India Foundation (AIF) is the largest diaspora philanthropy organization focused on India that is based out of the United States. Since its inception in 2001, AIF has benefited more than 1.5 million people through its innovative programs and partnerships with Indian non-governmental organizations. President Bill Clinton serves as its Honorary Chair; Nobel Economist Dr. Amartya Sen chairs AIF’s U.S. Advisory Council.

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) is a one of its kind, Public Private Partnership in India. It aims to promote skill development by catalyzing creation of large, quality, for-profit vocational institutions. It provides viability gap funding to build scalable, for-profit vocational training initiatives capable of skilling 150 million people by 2022. Its mandate is also to enable support systems such as quality assurance, information systems and train the trainer academies either directly or through partnerships.

The Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of individuals and families, particularly those in need, in the  communities where we work so that they can improve their standard of living. Globally, the Citi Foundation targets its strategic giving to priority focus areas: Microfinance, Enterprise Development, Youth Education and Livelihoods, and Financial Capability and Asset Building. The Citi Foundation works with its partners in Microfinance and Enterprise Development to support environmental programs and innovations. 

The Charles & Agnes Kazarian Foundation is a private operating foundation established in 1998. The Kazarian Foundation seeks to empower great aspirations in the whole human family. The Kazarian Foundation focuses on global economic development, education, healthcare, and technology initiatives. The Kazarian Foundation’s mission is guided by the knowledge contained in “New Philanthropy Benchmarking: Wisdom for the Passionate”, especially the principle that the social sector can achieve transformative change by cultivating intense positive competition among its stakeholders. 

The Central Bank of India is the first commercial bank wholly owned by Indians and has significant presence in 27 states and 3 union territories in India. Its mandate is to emerge as a strong, vibrant and proactive Bank and to positively contribute to the emerging needs of the economy through consistent harmonization of human, financial and technological resources and effective risk control systems.

Media contact details

Payal Rajpal,
The American India Foundation (AIF),
+91 9873403234,

  The Charles & Agnes Kazarian Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3)