Education changes your life is our motto, our mantra, but student graduation is not our only goal. We want our graduates to obtain a formal, well-paid job related to their career; that is the true measure of success when evaluating our program.
As of today, there are 142 Integrar graduates, and every year, we survey them to monitor their employment status and their personal situation.
Eighty percent of graduates are female. Although the average age of these women is 29 years, 60 percent do not have children. This is especially interesting when compared to data that indicates that almost 90 percent of poor women are mothers before the age of 25 (Observatorio de la Deuda Social, Universidad Católica Argentina): Eighty percent of the fathers and sixty percent of the mothers of our graduates did not finish high school, and only half of them have a sibling that goes to or plans to go college.
Argentina continues to lead the region with the highest rate of youth unemployment. The youth unemployment rate is three times that of the adult population, and 25 percent of young women and 15.4 percent of young men from the lowest quintile of wealth are unemployed. In contrast, 90 percent of Integrar graduates that live in the Buenos Aires area have a formal job related to their career, and 76 percent of them reported being satisfied or very satisfied with their current quality of life, especially when they compare themselves with other members of their families. These data are similar to previous years but, for the first time, more than half reported that they are actively looking to change jobs to improve their income.
The situation of graduates from La Pampa province reflects the difficulties of labor insertion among a mostly rural population, in a province where professional opportunities are scarce. Fifty-six percent of the graduates migrated to a larger city to be able to work in some activity related to their career. Those who decided to stay in their place of origin are unemployed, have an informal job, and/or work in an area unrelated to their studies.
To understand the impact of our program, it seems relevant to compare the information above with data on poverty and unemployment published by the INDEC. 36.6 percent of the total population is now below the poverty line, almost half of them are between 15 and 29 years old, and 43 percent are between 30 and 64 years old.
Soft and complementary skills
Because we believe financial education is essential, we repeat every year the personal finance workshop intended for students in the first stage of their careers. It aims at sharing comprehensive information about the financial tools offered by the banking system and promoting responsible attitudes and reasonable criteria to manage their income and improve their saving capacity. This year it was dictated by a 2020 Business Administration graduate, born and raised in Villa 31 de Retiro, who in addition to his knowledge, contributed his personal experience.
Integrar also held two workshops on topics we had not previously addressed: professional communication and cybersecurity. The first was intended to highlight the importance of email as a primary communication tool in most workplaces and the characteristics of formal communication. In the second, cybersecurity myths and truths were analyzed, common computer crimes were listed, and a compendium of safe online security practices was drawn up.
Getting ready for 2023
To increase the diversity of neighborhoods from which our students come, we contacted schools located in popular neighborhoods in city of Buenos Aires and strengthen ties with NGOs that support secondary education for vulnerable adolescents. Call for applications for the 2023 scholarships was disseminated through our historical strategic allies, the schools and organizations that joined our network this year, and for the first time, our social networks. This had two benefits: we received applications from neighborhoods where we had no presence, and young people with new profiles and interests applied.Two in particular, caught our attention. First, a technical secondary school graduate who wants to study to become a Higher Technician in Automotive because her dream is to have an auto mechanical workshop. Second, a young man who aspires to pursue a career as a Naval Machinist, one of the most critically needed professions in the country and therefore one of the best-paid professions, with full employment prospects.
Given the harsh economic crisis that is increasingly affecting the formal and professional labor market, we recommend applicants who have successfully passed the selection process give preference to careers in strategic areas or those that, by offering an intermediate degree, allow them to find a job related to their area of study while they advance with their career. A third of future scholarship holders chose careers related to health (nursing was the preferred career, followed by radiology, dental assistant, surgical instrumentation, and nutrition). A little less than a third chose a career in the area of economics (bachelor's degrees in administration, international trade, economics, and public accounting), and the rest chose technical degrees in the area of technology, professorships, law, social work, and graphic design.
Fundraising and stability
As annual inflation is reaching 100 percent, budget management has become increasingly difficult. We are lucky to count on donors like yourself who donate in hard currency to help us honor our commitment to offering more scholarships every year. Your continuous support gives us a stable and predictable horizon to plan our operations and work with the future in mind and the student’s best interests at heart.
Thank you very much for sharing our conviction that education is the tool that can effectively change the fate of a young and poor Argentinian.