Youth of Africa Career Development (YACD) is an African American organization committed to providing career training and workforce readiness support to youth in Africa. YACD currently has youth programs running in Kumasi, Ghana, Kaoma, Zambia and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. In these African cities, YACD specializes in training youth with career development, entrepreneurial and English skills literacy training. It also provides nutritious meals to all youth program participants on every scheduled day of training. YACD’s program model is delivered to the youth through carefully-chosen instructors that have been trained to be well-versed in YACD’s professionally-designed curricula.
The idea crystallized five years ago in the mind of a young visionary, Willie Wynn, who serves as the organization’s non-paid chief executive officer. Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi Wynn is a proud HBCU School of Business graduate of Jackson State University. He carries over 14 years of previous Fortune 500 corporate America experience in training, sales, and distribution channel management throughout the western region of the United States. This experience has prepared him to lead YACD’s initiatives at an international level to benefit countless youth in countries throughout Africa.
Wynn’s interest in serving youth on the continent of Africa dates back to the summer of 2016 when his wife Kimberly urged him to visit the continent. After a two-week stay in Cape Town, South Africa the couple tells The African magazine they “fell in love with the people, the food, friendliness, and overall diversity of South Africa’s population.” As our young entrepreneur, with the unqualified support of his wife, built meaningful relationships with multiple Africans—referring to them as “distant family members”—the seeds of his calling to serve the people on the African continent were planted—and blossomed in no time.
In October 2020, Youth of Africa Career Development launched its first program in partnership with Bridge-To-Africa-Connection (BTAC’s), a non-profit organization located in Kumasi, Ghana. Wynn provided much-needed training to eight carefully-selected junior high school youth sponsored by BTAC’s. For six consecutive weeks over Zoom for over 55 hours, these youth received training on subjects such as Workplace Conflict Resolution, Time Management, Effective Listening Skills, Workplace Distractions, Workplace Ethics and more. Each junior high school program participant also took an online career assessment test. These tests better assisted the youth with navigating the waters of understanding what future career options best fit their interest and individualized strengths. The tests also helped each young person’s confidence in their future high school major concentrations.
The Youth of Africa Career Development launched its second program roll-out in Kaoma, Zambia in December 2020. Wynn and his organization partnered with WISE Zambia, a locally-registered organization within Zambia’s Western Province to train its youth in entrepreneurship development. During this program launch, Wynn selected and trained a talented young teacher that had a few years of primary and secondary classroom experience in Zambia’s Western Province. Through partnering with WISE Zambia, YACD has impacted 20 of its existing program youth. Approximately half of the Zambian students that have been impacted by this program are in Grade 11. The other half are recent high school graduates that are desiring to pursue various careers that require entrepreneurship-based training.
YACD’s most recent youth program launch was in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo through a partnership with the Kuvuna Foundation. In February 2020, YACD has already started to train two pre-selected teachers through YACD’s English Skills Literacy curriculum designed by Howard University professor Dr. Ocheze Joseph. This partnership will reach an additional 20 senior high school Grade 11 students to support them with their English skills development during the spring of 2021. Since the Democratic Republic of Congo is a French-speaking nation, English skills training as a second language provides youth with needed access to a broader range of career opportunities both within the Congo and at various international levels.