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HCC and Brazil announce partnership to build workforce

Creating economic opportunities by connecting communities

HOUSTON [April 5, 2012] Houston Community College, in partnership with US-Brazil Connect, the National Industrial Apprenticeship Service of Brazil (SENAI) and Social Service for Industry of Brazil (SESI), recently announced a new workforce training initiative: the US-Brazil Partnership for Skills.

The Partnership will create opportunities for U.S. community college students interested in science and technology careers to participate in intensive study and immersion in Brazil. It will also provide opportunities for the Brazilian technical students to improve their English skills and to develop the foundation for mutually-beneficial cooperation between community colleges in the US and SENAI/SESI schools in Brazil.

“Today, we are seeing the US community college evolving as an active and respected player in the global arena, exporting the flexibility and adaptability of the American community college model abroad, while helping to deliver education as the new diplomacy,” says Mary Spangler, Chancellor of Houston Community College and US-Brazil Connect board member. “Through this experience in Salvador, Brazil, students will come to see in real-life terms how truly small and connected our world is.”

Houston Community College (TX), Jackson Community College (MI), and Red Rocks Community College (CO), founding members of the US-Brazil Connect consortium, have selected the first group of outstanding community college students who will travel to Salvador, Brazil, for a four-week exchange in June 2012. This first cohort of twenty US participants will tutor 200 Brazilian technical students in English and participate in an intensive program focused on Brazil’s sustainability, technology and innovation. The program is designed to make the international experience accessible: selected community college students pay less than five percent of the total costs of the program.

In October, 2012, the participating U.S. colleges will receive Brazilian students.

“US-Brazil Connect works to build lasting bridges in support of education and skills, with young men and women from both nations serving as vehicles for understanding, shared learning and fruitful cooperation,” says Paulo Sotero, Director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. “Education becomes especially powerful when used to strengthen people-to-people ties between such continental, multiethnic democracies as the United States and Brazil.”

Altogether, these systems impact over 10 million American students and three million Brazilians,” explains Mary Gershwin, president of US-Brazil Connect. “Focusing on English for Brazilians and our shared need to develop science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in both countries, our work will help students thrive in an interconnected world.”

Jeff Moseley, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership, fully supports the idea of promoting STEM education through US-Brazil Connect. He says, “Greater education in these areas builds a better workforce and stronger industries. That, subsequently, leads to more opportunities for partnerships, trade and economic growth. The Houston region is Brazil’s second largest trading district and sixth largest trading partner. In 2008, trade between the two was valued at more than $9.9 billion. Imports and exports include mineral fuels, chemicals and machinery. Trading in educational opportunities is a natural and very productive progression of things.”

About the Organizations:

HCC is one of the country’s largest singly-accredited, open-admission, community colleges offering associate degrees, certificates, workforce training and lifelong learning opportunities for 75,000 students each semester. HCC is composed of six colleges that serve the greater Houston area’s diverse communities by preparing individuals to live and work in today’s increasingly international and technological society. To learn more go to

US-Brazil Connect
US-Brazil Connect seeks to strengthen education and build economic opportunities by connecting communities, engaging leaders, and creating transformational learning experiences linking the United States and Brazil. An initiative of the non-profit, Business Champions, US-Brazil Connect has worked to strengthen workforce quality with hundreds of US community colleges, leading U.S. foundations, the U.S. embassy in Brazil, and a broad range of Brazilian partners in education and the private sector.

US-Brazil Connect is partnered with the Brazilian organizations CNI, SENAI, and SESI.
The Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (CNI) is the preeminent Brazilian industry association, representing over 196,000 industry establishments. CNI is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of the National Service for Industrial Apprenticeship (SENAI), which provides education and training to nearly 3 million Brazilian professionals each year. As part of the Brazilian Industry System, the Social Service of Industry (SESI) promotes social welfare, cultural development, and improved quality of life of workers in participating industries and their communities. Through its national network, SESI provided education to over 1.7 million Brazilians in 2010.

Participating Community Colleges
Houston Community College
Jackson Community College
Red Rocks Community College-

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