By Laura Sanabria - Education Degree Student

Recently, our country has experienced an increase in unemployment due to different factors, such as the lack of people’s preparation and the sudden outbreak of COVID-19. As the National Institute of Statistics and Census (INEC) mentioned “the unemployment figure reflects an increase of 12.1 percentage point compared to the second quarter of 2019, when the lack of jobs was already a government priority” (Zuñiga, 2020). Based on this situation, and the lack of opportunities people have, several programs have been created to provide them with the chance to develop competencies in the English Language for getting favorable circumstances to perform in different work fields. For this reason, programs like Empleate play a relevant role, in our society and institutions, at the time to prepare people to get those linguistic skills to face the current demanding companies have.

Empleate is a program created to give education access to those poor people who are neither working nor studying, by allowing them to be part of a program to acquire the appropriate skills companies are looking for. The Ministry of Labor stated that this type of program works through alliances with public or private institutions that grant the appropriate training for this population (MTSS, 2020). It provides poor people with those tools they cannot afford, and take advantage of the program benefits offered by the institution. Students in this modality can find the opportunity to master abilities they had not acquired before.

As an Empleate teacher, I have seen the progress poor people have had not only at the time to get knowledge in the language, but also at the time to expand their ideas of the world, while becoming more critical of the current events that our society is being through. Also, these students are getting new opportunities to develop those competencies companies are looking for, such as soft skills and bilingualism. Without the implementation of this program, these people could not have had the chance to get the appropriate knowledge to communicate in different contexts that could allow them to improve their social and economic conditions. This program has reached not only the students who are part of the program, but also the families who take a relevant role and see in these students an overcoming example of getting out of that comfort zone. Empleate has helped students to look for new horizons where they can grow not only professionally, but also personally; allowing them to be more prepared to face the current conditions our society is going through.

My objective as a teacher for this program is not to give students a list of verbs or formulas to learn the grammatical structure. The purpose is to help them to open doors they can use in the work field by getting better chances to be hired by companies in which they can succeed and accomplish their personal goals. The Empleate program has allowed people from different places to dream again, to have hope for a better future for them and their families. For this reason, as teachers, no matter what program you are teaching, our goal is to prepare people for life and not for a score, allowing our students to build their path with our guidance and be proud of everything they have achieved against all odds.

MOXIE es el Canal de ULACIT (, producido por y para los estudiantes universitarios, en alianza con el medio periodístico independiente, con el propósito de brindarles un espacio para generar y difundir sus ideas.  Se llama Moxie - que en inglés urbano significa tener la capacidad de enfrentar las dificultades con inteligencia, audacia y valentía - en honor a nuestros alumnos, cuyo “moxie” los caracteriza.

• Ministerio de Trabajo y Seguridad Social (MTSS). (2020). Empléate.
• Zuñiga, A. (2020). Unemployment in Costa Rica reaches 24%, the highest in its history. The Tico Times.