Antigua and Barbuda and Monroe College Formalize New Academic and Vocational Initiative

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – The Antigua and Barbuda government says it has entered into a collaboration with the US-based Monroe College to create new academic and vocational training opportunities for nationals.

ARIELBARPrime Minister Gaston Browne (left) flanked by Ariel Titus, a dormer Monroe College student and the College's President, Marc Jerome at the signing ceremony.A statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister said that Monroe College, had formalized an expansion of its partnership with the government to provide additional academic opportunities and vocational training programs.

The statement said Prime Minister Gaston Browne finalized the details of the agreement with the President of Monroe College, Marc Jerome, and that there are three core components to the new collaboration all designed to prepare local residents for sustainable jobs that align with the country’s economy.

It said that the first component is a three-year agreement to provide matching scholarship funds to make a Monroe College education highly affordable to residents, regardless of whether they study online or on the College’s campuses in New York or St. Lucia.

The scholarship would cover tuition and fees related to any degree program Monroe offers and that the next two components will be especially well-received by those seeking careers within the travel and tourism industry, which is a significant contributor to Antigua and Barbuda’s economy.

The statement said that through the Office of the Prime Minister, the College will seek to partner with the Antigua Barbuda Hospitality Training Institute (ABHTI) and The University of the West Indies (UWI) Five Island Campus on a baccalaureate degree program in hospitality management that includes a two-semester study abroad opportunity at Monroe in New York.

It said while at Monroe, students will participate in internships designed to gain practical work skills while learning the fast-paced, high-touch customer service expectations of today’s business and recreational travelers.

The third component of the expanded partnership between Monroe and the government “is designed to meet the needs of those eager to prepare for entry-level, non-managerial jobs within the hospitality sector.

“Monroe will open a new branch of its International Hospitality Training Institute (IHTI) at a location yet to be decided within Antigua and Barbuda. It will be modeled after the highly successful program launched in St. Lucia with the country’s National Apprenticeship Program to prepare young residents there for starting positions with cruise ships, resorts and hotel,” the statement said.

“Antigua and Barbuda has been building relationships with outstanding tertiary institutions in the United states and elsewhere. The relationship between Monroe College and UWI Five Islands can only be beneficial to the ambitions of our youthful citizens who are pursuing college education. I welcome this new drive,” Prime Minister Browne said.

“We are delighted to embark on this new partnership with the Government of Antigua and Barbuda, and are honored to work with Prime Minister Browne in realizing his vision for improving educational access and affordability for local citizens,” said Jerome, adding “Monroe has a long and proud history of educating Antiguan and Barbudan students, which will continue to grow under the announced programs.”

Currently there are over 100 Antigua and Barbuda students pursuing studies with Monroe College, which has had a relationship with the Caribbean island for the past 25 years.