The concept of the ITCS technical center stemmed from an urgent need to develop a new generation of skilled workers in the area. These community leaders and entrepreneurs are critical to a region prone to devastating natural disasters. For ABC's Morisset St. Preux, the success of ITCS and its students will guarantee not only a sustainable institution that promotes local economic development, but also contributes to the decentralization of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s dangerously over-populated capital where over 3 million inhabitants.
Through a recent grant from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), ITCS is working in collaboration with the Physics and Engineering departments of Colorado University at Boulder and Arizona State University to train local instructors and students in an effort to develop the region’s first generation of skilled renewable energy workers.
In March, the excitement was palpable and the interest intense at the ITCS compound with Morisset's arrival, accompanied by graduate students from Colorado University (CU), to offer the first phase of training which will lead to the development of a solar grid at ITCS in June. This multi-phased project also offers a unique opportunity to ITCS instructors and students to work collaboratively with students and faculty from these two universities to develop a permanent solar grid as an alternative to ITCS’s current old diesel generator. Local students got a taste of this project by working with the CU students to install a micro grid which is capable of sustaining the center's electrical needs until June when the main solar grid is due to be installed under the supervision of the CU and ASU faculty and students.
This new energy source will enable ITCS to remain open for longer hours, thus tripling its student population and increasing its skills training program offerings to include trades that require power tools. A more reliable energy source also offers additional employment opportunities to a rapidly growing ITCS administrative team while extending program offerings to include computer literacy and the availability of a virtual library to local elementary and secondary school teachers and their students in an effort to help narrow Haiti’s current literacy and digital gaps, which is substantial compared to neighboring Caribbean countries. These initiatives will offer a unique opportunity to local youth and women, the two most neglected segments of the population to escape the recurring cycles of unemployment and poverty in the region.
ITCS has been driven by this principle: "The development of Haiti's rural communities is the first indicator and the best guarantor of any sustainable national development process."
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