Standards and Planning Coordinator at the Grenada National Training Agency, Ms. Gennesta Charles has been recognized in the Penn State News of her Alumni, Penn State University in the United States for the work she has been doing to build the skill competency of the Grenadian workforce. Read the article here:
Gennesta Charles: Helping to create an entrepreneurial workforce in Grenada
August 05, 2020
Like many teachers, Gennesta Charles had a lifelong desire to make a positive impact in young people’s lives. She began her career in her native country of Grenada, teaching French and Spanish to students in grades seven through nine. After nine years in the classroom, Charles capitalized on an opportunity to expand her skills and knowledge in the field of education.
“I received a scholarship to attend the Workforce Education and Development graduate program at Penn State,” Charles said. “I knew that furthering my education would open doors to additional employment opportunities upon my return to Grenada.”
At Penn State, Charles’ educational experience far exceeded her expectations. And, although more than 2,200 miles separate University Park from Grenada, Charles never felt like she was far from home.
“Everyone at Penn State treated me like family,” she said. “Faculty took a genuine interest in my vision for what I wanted to get out of my education, and they were always supportive, from encouraging our research to challenging our minds,” said Charles. “Students came from diverse backgrounds and because I was one of the youngest in the program, I felt like I was bringing unique perspectives to the table.”
In 2014, Charles earned her master’s degree and returned to Grenada. She went back to the classroom for one month before joining the Grenada National Training Agency (GNTA), the coordinating agency for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in Grenada. In her role as an enterprise-based training officer, Charles was responsible for organizing interventions within various types of businesses and organizations, to conduct needs analyses, create training plans and assist with implementation of employee training programs and evaluations.
Today, Charles is the coordinator for standards and planning at GNTA. Her primary focus is coordinating the development and validation of occupational standards for different employment sectors which are used for training and certification. Her responsibilities also include labor market research to identify labor supply and demand needs in different sectors, as well as co-facilitating the training of instructors and assessors for the TVET system. Her efforts support GNTA’s role of developing, implementing and maintaining a national TVET plan that will create a workforce that is competent, certified, innovative, enterprising and entrepreneurial for local, regional and international markets.
Charles holds an associate degree in secondary teacher education from T.A. Marryshow Community College in Grenada and a certificate in teaching (secondary education) from the University of the West Indies (UWI). She also possesses a bachelor’s degree in educational administration from the UWI. It is her wish to return to Penn State in the near future to pursue a doctoral degree in workforce education and development.
“I am always looking for scholarship opportunities,” said Charles. “The Penn State Workforce Education and Development program is the best program I could have done. It made the transition to work very easy by infusing competencies with practical elements that are relatable in the field. It was a very meaningful experience, and State College is such a happy place.”
Charles resides in Grenada with her 3-year-old son, Xayne.