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León and Silao, Guanajuato; Ecatepec, Estado de México; Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua


Preparatoria Jóvenes con Rumbo (JcR) 

In partnership with YouthBuild USA’s International team, and modeled on YouthBuild charter high schools in the U.S., YouthBuild México (YBM) has successfully designed, piloted and scaled a network of alternative high schools that serve young people (ages 18–29) who have not completed their high school education and who, due to their age, can no longer access traditional schools.

This is the first employment-oriented high school in Mexico serving this demographic of young people, and it is leading to positive, systemic change in the national education system.

JcR High School is a unique program in Mexico that serves young people who are not in work, school, or training, reengages them with formal education, and also provides career skills and job placement opportunities.

The program is 18 months and enables young people to acquire a high school certificate as well as two vocational training credentials. Staff provide support to help place graduates in employment opportunities and in continuing education and training. Samuel, for example, graduated from Jóvenes con Rumbo High School as an architecture student and is now an urban artist.

“My grandfather was a bricklayer. My father is a bricklayer. It’s my turn to be an architect,” he said. 

After the first successful pilot program, YouthBuild México (YBM) has scaled the program, and now manages high schools that serve youth in the cities of León and Silao, Guanajuato; Ecatepec, State of México; and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua.

Last September, YBM was granted the Razón de Ser 2021 award to recognize the JcR High School Model as an inclusive and quality education program in times of crisis. One of the main reasons for this recognition was YBM’s successful adaptation of their program into a hybrid modality (virtual and in-person) during the COVID-19 crisis through the initiative “Technology for Everyone,” whose aim was to close the technology gap for students with less resources. Fundación Merced presents the Razón de Ser award every year to recognize organizations committed to high social impact in populations with increased vulnerability and that encourage individuals to improve their quality of life and to transform their surroundings.

In May, YBM and YouthBuild USA’s international team hosted the YouthBuild Global Schools Network (YGSN) Convening in Léon, Guanajuato, México. This event — the first of its kind for the YGSN — brought together 40 representatives of YouthBuild programs from Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, First Nations in Canada, India, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa, the UK, and the United States. During the four-day gathering, participants observed YBM’s Preparatoria Jóvenes con Rumbo high school model, from its planning to its execution. YBM also facilitated visits to the towns of La Ermita, Soledad, and Silao in Guanajuato, where attendees engaged with the program’s young people and heard testimonies from graduates who shared how the program has transformed their lives and their communities. Tere Lanzagorta, General Director of YBM, highlighted that the program has already been able to serve 500 young people from Guanajuato since 2018.

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