Honduras is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. About 65 percent of its 8 million people live in poverty. Informality prevails in its labor market, affecting particularly the young, women and persons with limited education.
Now, 12,500 young Hondurans have taken part in PROEMPLEO, the program supported by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) as a part of $30.6 million secondary education project from 2004 to 2011. The goal of the program was to boost job opportunities for unemployed and underemployed people aged 18 to 29.
A strategic alliance with the private sector enabled the program to achieve a high job placement rate of over 77 percent. Out of all the young people who went through the program, 9,607 obtained a steady job with benefits at the companies where they interned at the end of their training. More than half the beneficiaries were women. Trainees also received a certificate for their future job searches.
The program was developed by the Labor Ministry in partnership with the Honduran Maquila Association, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Tegucigalpa and Puerto Cortes and others, with IDB support. The business association played a crucial role in promoting the program among companies with vacant positions as well as in identifying young people with matching profiles for the jobs.
There is also the Honduran National Employment Service (SENAEH), established to link people looking for work with domestic and overseas organizations in need of workers. SENAEH currently consists of 15 employment offices managed and supported by the Labor Ministry.
SENAEH offices provide career orientation and counseling; training, and access to equipment such as computers. They also run an electronic jobs database, EMPLEATE, which has already registered 24,000 job seekers and some 15,000 vacancies posted by 10 companies in 2011, making it possible to dramatically increase the rate of successful matches.