In making an equity investment in GRAS Academy, a vocational education and skills development provider, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation aims to improve livelihoods in low-income communities. The initiative will target 1.3 million school drop outs and unemployed youth over ten years. Trainees will not have studied past the 12st standard and will come from urban and semi-urban areas across India. The investment will help build on the work of the GRAS Academy, which already has 18 centres that train unemployed youth with job skills. The initiative will also help trainees with job placement. In a first of its kind collaboration in India, Gras Academy and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation will work together to impart quality vocational training to school dropouts and unemployed youth, aimed at enhancing livelihoods in economically challenged households

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is making an equity investment in GRAS Academy, a pioneer in imparting vocational education and skill development. As part of the strategic collaboration, GRAS Academy, supported by the Dell family foundation aims to train and assist with job placement of 1.3 million youth- many of whom are school drop-outs and from underprivileged backgrounds- in different trades across the country, over a 10-year period.

GRAS Academy is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company and a pioneer in the field of vocational skills training industry in India. The academy has been successfully conducting training programmes to enhance youth employability and skill development, with the aim of improving the lives of thousands of underserved youth across India. The collaboration will also bring international quality standards to the Indian vocational and skill set curricula, through the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s global expertise.

Mr. Ajay Swarup and Mr. Gautam Sen Gupta, Founders and Directors of GRAS Academy; Mr Debasish Mitter, Portfolio Director, Education and Mr Satyam Darmora, Program officer, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation; Mr Tahsin Zahid, CEO-GRAS Academy; and Mr. Arindam Lahiri Executive Director were present on the occasion to announce the collaboration.

Mr. Gautam Sen Gupta, Gras Academy, said, “It gives us immense pleasure to be associated with the Michael &Susan Dell Foundation. India has a growing pool of youth who would require skill development and up-gradation training in line with industry needs thus reducing the gap for needed skilled manpower. We hope and believe that through our extensive experience and the Dell family foundation’s support, the GRAS skill training and employment centres will create entrepreneurs out of these youth, increase their income generation potential, leverage their prior education and personal talent, and motivate them to participate in productive activity.”

Through this collaboration, GRAS and the Dell family foundation want to enhance the livelihoods at the bottom of the pyramid by ensuring relevant and quality skill education for youth across urban and semi-urban areas of the country.

The target trainees will primarily be those who have not had the opportunity to study beyond the 8th, 10thor 12thstandards.

Mr Debasish Mitter, speaking on the occasion said, “The mission of the Dell family foundation is to transform the lives of children living in urban poverty. In that context, we share a common desire to enable underserved and unemployed youth exit poverty by acquiring skills that allow them to enter trades and vocations of modern India. GRAS Academy is a leader in this space and has already set up 18 centers across India to train unemployed youth in industry-relevant job skills and has also successfully provided them with placements.”

“The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation’s equity investment will help with significantly scaling up the current operations of GRAS Academy, and will enable high quality training to be offered in retail, information technology/IT-enabled services, banking, financial services, insurance and education sectors through 325 GRAS Academy centres overtime”, he further added