Panama may have the geographical advantage for Latin America but from an education point of view it is sadly lacking, which is costing it more than just jobs. GE had seriously looked at Panama for a new logistical center but due to inadequacy of human resources has decided to open in Chile. Canal Expansion. metro's and new airports are all great, but without education of the locals and opening up immigration to teachers from outside the country, it is only show without substance for the people. The job creation by big projects is only temporary during construction and then what?
Machine translated from La Prensa
The multinational General Electric (GE) ruled out to install in Panama a center for export of software and services to serve its customers worldwide because the lack of qualified personnel in new technologies in the country.
This project would have required the efforts of a 1500 engineers and computer scientists who have mastered English. An application that the Panamanian market could not satisfy.
Panama could not even score a goal with three years to hire and train workers, and reducing by 50% the number of engineers who were fluent in English, and give assurances that the installation would prove successful, GE assured sources of La Prensa.
At the option of Panama, GE also contemplated hiring Costa Rican staff, but the company realized that the number of foreigners employed would be too high, something that does not fit their policies, whicch are more directed toward local recruitment.
Moreover, it would far exceed the 10% foreign personnel that can be hired by firms established in Panama.
Since the company pointed out that the decision was taken when the Panamanian government was in transition, they could not negotiate a special labor regime for the project. GE ultimately decided on Chile, one of the options being considered, and last August, GE, UST Global and its partner Chilean officials announced at the Palacio de la Moneda in Santiago the installation of the center.
Human capital development in information technology and telecommunications (ICT) is one of the priority objectives of the ICT National Strategy in Panama 2008-2018.
The National Secretariat for Science, Technology and Innovation (Senacyt) and the Panamanian Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications (CAPATEC) launched the second phase of implementing the strategy.
This stage, which runs this year, has a budget of 1.2 million dollars, of which 80% (960 thousand dollars) will be provided by Senacyt and 20% by private enterprise.