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Three Greater Caribbean countries harmonize engineering accreditation criteria to create a market for skilled labor

The Inter-American Development Bank today announced a $600,000 grant for a project to help the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Panama jointly develop and adopt a Regional Engineering Accreditation System for engineering programs in the Greater Caribbean region.

The accreditation system will support efforts to build a qualified engineering and technical workforce, facilitate mobility and cross-border activities, engage the international private sector and greatly enhance the region’s ability to attract foreign direct investment.

Financing for the project will come from the IDB Regional Public Goods Program, created to promote regional collective action on high-impact issues. The Technological Institute of Santo Domingo (INTEC) will be the executing agency.

The project will receive $142,000 in additional in-kind and cash contributions from INTEC and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology of the Dominican Republic; the Ministry of Education and Youth of Jamaica; the Technological University of Panama; the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers; Hewlett Packard; ABET, USA; Microsoft; and the Organization of American States.

“In a highly innovative and exciting multi-stakeholder program involving the private sector that is being funded by the IDB, three Caribbean countries will soon begin a coordinated university-level program to harmonize engineering accreditation criteria with international standards,” testified Diane Willkens, founder and President of Development Finance International Inc., before the Subcommittee on Security and International Trade and Finance of the U.S. Senate. “The result will be a market for skilled labor and the encouragement of widespread educational and employment development in the region.”

“Today, global participation depends on the strength of our innovative abilities,” said Wayne Johnson, Vice President of University Relations at Hewlett-Packard. “HP is proud to be among the partners working with the IDB on the critical topic of developing engineers and technical talent to meet the competitiveness needs of the Americas.  HP is pleased to see the collective will expressed by the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Panama to pursue regional accreditation of engineers, since this will bring international recognition and opportunity to the region over time.”

IDB Regional Public Goods Initiative

This project is among 12 selected by the Initiative for the Promotion of Regional Public Goods in its fourth annual call for proposals. The initiative distributes a total of $10 million in grants each year to support  innovative solutions to common or transnational problems of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Under this mechanism, the IDB receives and selects proposals from countries that tackle problems, for which a collective approach offers comparative advantages over individual efforts. In 2004 the IDB became the first multilateral institution to create an operational instrument for the promotion of regional public goods. The initiative benefits its 26 borrowing member countries in a wide range of areas.