In Chajul, less than 6% of adults are formally employed and less than 1% of youth graduate university. Our graduates are some of the most well-positioned for the few positions that do exist in Chajul and are the most prepared to succeed in college. Despite this, they often need extra support in their transitions to either higher education or the workforce.
Our Emerging Leaders Program was created in 2018 to address the increased size of our Youth Development Program alumni pool and to deepen our investment in each of the youth we serve. With this added support, high school graduates are better supported to obtain employment, start small businesses, and/or pursue further education. Limitless Horizons Ixil’s long term goal is to develop a pipeline of young professionals to drive and grow the local economy, leading to a decrease in overall unemployment. We believe that breaking the cycle of poverty among families in Chajul is possible through empowering youth with an education and opportunities to gain the knowledge, skills, experience, and networks to launch and succeed in professional careers.
We continue to support our youth to begin developing these skills while they are still in our Youth Development Program and continue supporting them after they graduate high school in the following ways:
Professional Development Workshops: All graduating high school students engage in one-on-one job readiness sessions to receive assistance with application and CV writing, mock interviews, and job searching techniques. Youth participate in workshops on a variety of professional development topics and introductory entrepreneurship.
Career Mentorship and Guidance: Youth receive one-on-one guidance in selecting their field of study as well as assistance in applying for jobs, university scholarships, vocational courses, and entrepreneurship programs. LHI also hosts career panels with professional role models in the community. Our staff also serve as role models and mentors for youth in Chajul.
Emerging Leaders Fellowships: We offer a competitive, paid fellowship to 4-5 graduates each year. Fellows gain their first professional experience, working in our library, artisan program, or office for 20-25 hours each week. Fellows also participate in 2 hours of weekly professional development workshops, additional training and field trips, and are each paired with an individual supervisor. Upon completing the fellowship, they are eligible for university or vocational training scholarships.
“Limitless Achievers” Alumni Group: As the alumni pool grows, our hope is that they continue to build strong connections with each other and provide peer support as they seek to establish careers and professional networks. Our alumni group, self-named “Triunfadores sin Límites” (Limitless Achievers), is led and designed by alumni and overseen by staff. Their activities include supplementary training/workshops, field trips, volunteer and extracurricular activities, and using communication channels.
Job Creation and Staff Development: Limitless Horizons Ixil creates jobs for local leaders, often hiring our alumni and promoting from within. We also offer staff educational and professional development opportunities such as university scholarships and other training.