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US halts training 3000 Lankan youth in outsourcing

The US has suspended the training of 3000 youth from the war-ravaged northern Lankan districts in outsourcing skills. Sutirtho Patranobis reports.

world Updated: Sep 10, 2010 19:08 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times

The US has suspended the training of 3000 youth from the war-ravaged northern Lankan districts in outsourcing skills.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID), a government agency that provides humanitarian and economic aid worldwide, suspended the programme apparently to ensure that the new jobs created will not take away employment opportunities from Americans.

The announcement comes within days of the US state of Ohio imposing a ban on offshore outsourcing. India has said it would formally convey its disappointment over the ban at the bilateral Trade Policy Forum meeting in Washington later this month.

On July 30 this year, the US Embassy in Colombo announced a programme to generate 10,000 jobs in the north.

Part of the programme was a training module for youth in the northern districts titled "Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Alliance."

According to press statement from US Embassy in Colombo, it was to be done to "help fill workforce gaps in BPO and IT, USAID is teaming with leading BPO and IT/English language training companies to establish professional IT and English skills development training centers in each of the five districts in the Northern Province. Courses in Business Process Outsourcing, Enterprise Java, and English Language Skills will be offered at no charge to over 3,000 under- and unemployed students who will then participate in on-the-job training schemes with private firms."

It has now been put on hold. "The programme has been suspended and is being reviewed," Glen Davis, US embassy spokesperson in Colombo, told HT.

Davis did not comment on the rationale behind suspending the programme begun a barely a month ago.

On September 9, US Republican lawmaker Tim Bishop, according to reports, announced the programme's suspension. Bishop then shared a letter from USAID with website Hamptons Online which said "it had suspended a job skills development project in Sri Lanka while we conduct a review to ensure the project will not take any jobs away from Americans."

The USAID has been active in Sri Lanka since 1956 and invested Rs 230 billion country-wide on various projects.

First Published: Sep 10, 2010 19:05 IST