Google launches Caribbean School with Jamaican partners and the Caribbean Open Institute (COI) have joined forces to help reduce the digital divide in the region.

Specifically, the organisations are seeking to empower youth populations of the Caribbean that are detached from the educational systems and the workforce through open data management. will support the COI to deploy the Caribbean School of Data (CSOD), an educational initiative that will develop a comprehensive and sustainable “data literacy” programme for underserved populations in Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Haiti , Saint Lucia and Puerto Rico generating greater awareness, skills, competencies and capabilities around data science, creating employment skills for the digital age.

COI partners, Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM) and The SlashRoots Foundation (SRFDN) attracted grant funding and active support from the for this initiative at the local level.

The Caribbean School of Data will enable the training of at least 1,500 disadvantaged youth on topics ranging from data literacy to advanced management skills, visualization, integration and data analysis, aligned with the needs of the labour market over a period of two years.

“From Google, we want to strengthen these initiatives that, in addition to generating real inclusion for less-favoured populations, promote the development of an entire region with great potential,” said Giovanni Stella, Google’s Country Manager for Colombia, Central America and the Caribbean.

According to the Inter-American Development Bank, young people between the ages of 16 and 24 represent an average of 25 per cent of the workforce in the English-speaking Caribbean, and approximately one in five people between the ages of 15 to 24 is not in school or is part of the workforce.

The Caribbean region occupies a low place in the levels of innovation and education, key components of economic growth. An investigation conducted by the Inter-American Development Bank found that innovation is less likely to occur due to human capital limitations, so the result could have adverse consequences for medium-term development.