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Project: Foundation Builders International Institute- Abaco, Bahamas

Executive Summary
Summary of Foundation Builders International Institute – Abaco
Phase 1
Foundation Builders International, Inc. started in 2016 to teach vocational skills in emerging nations per the International Building Code, TVET standards, and US trade certification requirements. Our students receive training and practical applications to equip them to pass the certification tests in their vocation. Our commitment to the students is to work with them even after graduation to ensure their desire to receive a certification. For each location where a training center opens, The name will be Foundation Builders International Institute – the name of the location.
Since the beginning of Foundation Builders International, Inc., we have added personal finance and money management courses to the vocational classes that all students will take. Those students showing the desire and aptitude towards business will receive training in business development and management. These students will manage the enterprises the Institute starts to help the local community. The students will ultimately be creating their SME with help from FBII.
The goal for each Institute is to train the students, prepare the national teachers to be the primary teaching staff at the Institute, and work with community leaders to develop businesses that meet community needs for employment, retail markets, and manufacturing. The Institute, through its community coordinator, develops an ongoing relationship with community leaders, the Ministry of Education, business leaders, and other NGOs working in the area to ensure the Institute is a positive part of the local community and is economically sustainable. Our graduating students will be well-equipped to handle workplace and marketplace challenges. Through part of their financial training, they will understand the value of ethics and honesty in life's pursuits.
We are securing a 10-acre site and funding for the Foundation Builders International-Abaco campus. The goal is to complete the initial site work and construct the educational buildings by early 2024. The following construction sequence will be the administration, classroom building, and duplex housing for staff. We will receive students once the educational facilities are completed and equipped with classroom furnishings and equipment. The beginning vocational courses will be welding, general construction and carpentry, masonry, HVAC, auto mechanics, and marine mechanics.
This campus will model what we can do in other locations through satellite campuses. The Abaco campus will show the full range of vocational and business training we can offer. The other campuses will have parts of what the leading campus offers. Each campus is tailored to the community's particular needs for vocational training. At the Abaco and satellite campuses, the teaching and administrative staff will be converted from temporary teachers from the US to teachers trained in teaching vocational and business classes to our standard for excellence
Details and costs for the Foundation Builders International Institute – Abaco are in this Proposal.
According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs: Population Division, the current population of the Bahamas as of June 21, 2023, is 404,366. The Bahamas' population is projected to increase by 5,934 people and reach 414,608 by the beginning of 2024. The natural increase is expected to be positive, as the number of births will exceed the number of deaths by 3,821. If external migration remains at the previous year's level, the population will be increased by 2,113 due to migration reasons. It means that the number of people who move into the Bahamas (to which they are not native) to settle there as permanent residents (immigrants) will prevail over the number of people who leave the country to settle permanently in another country (emigrants).
The 2023 World Population Review stated that Abaco Island is a series of islands in the northern Bahamas. The two main islands are Great Abaco and Little Abaco. Several small barrier islands surround the larger islands but do not have a significant population. In total, the Bahamas has approximately 31 government districts. Close to a quarter of them are located in this region of the country. They include Grand Cay, North Abaco, Green Turtle Cay, Central Abaco, South Abaco, Moore's Island, and Hope Town. In addition, the island is home to Marsh Harbour, the central commercial hub of the Bahamas. Abaco is a 120-mile chain of islands comprising 776 square miles.
The population in the area has fluctuated throughout the years, but it is estimated that approximately 17,000 people live in this region of the Bahamas. The number of people on the island is significantly higher throughout the year. One of the main drivers of the economy is tourism. Therefore, tourists come from all over the world to check out the islands. The population can swell significantly during the summer, mainly because the islands are close to the United States. It is easy for tourists from Florida and Georgia to get to the islands, which contributes to a population swell.
Because the area is surrounded by warm water, it is also a magnet for large hurricanes. In September 2019, Hurricane Dorian landed on Elbow Cay in the Abaco Islands. During this hurricane, the wind speeds reached 225 mph, which tied the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane as the strongest hurricane to form in the Atlantic. The storm caused catastrophic damage, devastating approximately eighty-seven percent of the Abaco Islands. Seventy-five percent of all buildings on the island were destroyed, and about sixty-seven people died. Close to 30,000 people suffered significant property damage, leading to widespread economic losses. The recovery process has been slow because the coronavirus pandemic started shortly after Hurricane Dorian made landfall. Despite substantial aid, the area is still rebuilding.
The unemployment rate in the Bahamas went down to 10.1 percent in 2022 from 11.7 percent in 2021
The youth unemployment rate focuses on individuals aged 15-24 seeking work without results. In The Bahamas, the youth unemployment rate was 30.78% in 2021, which is higher than average. Historical data also see youth unemployment rates hover between 24%-30% since 2018.
The Bahamas minimum wage was previously $5.25/hour or $210 per week, which translates to a salary of $10,080. However, the Bahamian government recently announced a minimum wage increase to a weekly $260, translating to a $12,480 salary. The World Bank listed an inflation rate for the Bahamas in 2022 as 5.6%, an increase from 1.4% in 1994
Vocational skills
Ministry of Education has made the following statement concerning Technical training in the Bahamas. As global trends change, there has been an increased focus on Career and Technical Education (CTE), with a vision to boost entrepreneurship, technical competence, national development, economic expansion, and sustainability. The Bahamas is no different! We have come to appreciate the relevance and level of expertise required in the CTE areas of study. This focus has resulted in program expansion in our schools and increased diversified professional development for our educators. Trends have mandated a shift from teacher-centered, theoretical approaches to learning to student-centered, practical, and discovery-based environments, which harness our diverse student population's interests and skill sets. We are mandated to 'Understand the Whole Picture and Imaging The Finished Results'.
As teachers are exposed, similarly are the students within CTE. To showcase the collective efforts of teachers and students, The National CTE Exhibition & College Fair is facilitated annually during CTE Month, which falls in February. In addition to showcasing the talents, training, and expertise of residents in CTE, industry professionals, and colleges, our students align their interests and abilities with Corporate Bahamas and local/international tertiary institutions.
As we continuously sought creative and relevant opportunities for student development before the Job Readiness component of the Bahamas High School Diploma (BHSD), CTE students were exposed to annual two-day industry training during January, tagged Workforce Readiness Bootcamp. The event partners with The College of The Bahamas and The Hotel & Tourism Association. These yearly activities attracted and exposed thousands of public and independent school students over the years, seeking to address interpersonal, deportment, and communication skills for potential employees.
Business students have been engaged in various training seminars and workshops, seeking to allow them to apply the academics learned daily. They have participated in Business Bowl, a partnership with Berkley University Graduate students that challenges students in a marketing/advertising capacity. This initiative expanded and led to challenges in Accounting, Commerce, and Economics, where we have engaged professional partners who are asked to mentor students and provide hands–on training and exposure to complement our program offerings. Local accounting firms like KPMG, Copper's & Lightbourne, the Financial Services and  Accounting Associations, and entrepreneurs and local businesses here all partnered to ensure exposure for teachers and students.
The Bahamas Information Services authored a press release for the Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training, which gives the breakdown of recommendations of the National Review Commission to amend the Bahamas High School Diploma (BHSD). One of the changes to the Academic Criteria to obtain a BHSD is OPTION 2 (General Pathway): Numeracy/Literacy Equivalent OR BJCs OR City and Guilds, 2.0 CGPA (The credentials will be channeled through NAECOB to the Evaluation and Assessment Division of the Ministry of Education and Technical and Vocational Training. They will be accepted if approved as a criterion for receiving a BHSD.) We are saying to all that a career in Aquaculture, Plumbing, Electrical Installation, and Engineering is just as important as a career Scientist, Mathematician, or Lawyer.
In February 2019, Minister of Education, the Hon. Jeffery Lloyd, said technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is the "most critical need in the country." "Were it not for technicians, society would come to a halt," said Minister Lloyd recently at TVET Day at the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI). "It is regrettable that as the foundation of any society, TVET is seen as a discount in people's minds," he noted.
At the ceremony, Mr. Basden said, "TVET is the backbone of our country." "We tend to minimize the technical aspect of life until something goes down, whether there's a leak or the computer system goes down. Do not think you are less of a person because of a technical education. Not only does it allow you to be employed, but to be the employer."
Project Goals
Promote socio-economic development through vocational training and business development, providing the skills to qualify for job opportunities and livelihood sustainability.
FBII-Abaco- Institute
Based on our analysis of vocational training needs in Abaco, the specific objectives for Foundation Builders International Institute-Abaco will start Phase 1 by offering welding, construction, and masonry and expand to cover our entire curriculum. The goals for the first courses are:
  • To begin with, a maximum of 25 students
  • To start Welding, Metal Fabrication, Carpentry, Concrete/concrete forms, Masonry, Marine Mechanics, and Auto Mechanics, along with mathematics and design classes offering certificates of completion showing skill levels to pass the TVET or American Welding Society qualification test.
  • To teach all vocational classes per the International Building Code (IBC)
  • Work with each student until they pass the TVET or AWS qualification test.
  • To teach basic economics and personal financial sustainability.
  • To teach business development.
As the Institute begins to train its first-year students in core vocational skills, FBII-Abaco's Enterprise development team will coordinate with local government and business leaders to establish an enterprise that provides needed products to the community. The Enterprise will employ students to give them practical application of their vocational and business operations skills.
Beyond the Enterprise working side by side with the Institute, the students will also have the opportunity to employ their vocational skills and project management understanding to build projects in the community. These projects will be developed with local government, community groups, and other NGOs.  FBII-Abaco will provide the construction management oversight to ensure the construction's quality, funding, payroll management, and timely project completion.
Duration of Institute and Enterprise
The goal of Foundation Builders International, Inc. is not just teaching a one-time course or building a project. We begin with the initial evaluation of the location, community needs, governmental involvement (both local and national), partnerships with other organizations working in the area, and cost analysis. Once the site and project have been chosen, a project development schedule is established to track the Institute's development and student involvement. The Institute and Enterprise are expected to be established and fully functioning two years before the first construction project is accepted. The students will use their growing knowledge and skills in those first two years to develop the Institute campus and the business enterprise.

By year three, we evaluate the Institute staff and students as our first students graduated in year two and now had one year in practical application working on Foundation Builders International Institute-Abaco construction projects or in the private sector. This evaluation allows us to transition management of the Institute and Enterprise to members of the local community, many of whom are former students stepping into leadership roles at the Institute and the Enterprise.

At this point, we maintain a regular evaluation of staff to ensure the highest quality of administrators, teachers, and support staff to provide for the sustainable success of both the Institute and Enterprise. These evaluations are a close partnership between Foundation Builders International, Inc.'s management team, our students, and the local citizenry. All that happens through FBII-Abaco in the local community is designed to involve the community to ensure the projects are built with a culturally appropriate focus while maintaining the highest educational and building practices.

Finally, the FBII-Abaco design of the campus is to showcase all that Foundation Builders International, Inc. offers in vocational and business skill development. The campus will integrate environmentally acceptable practices in construction, property management, and sustainability. Ultimately, the administrative board of directors will comprise people from the community. The staff will be individuals whom FBI, Inc. has trained. Foundation Builders International, Inc. will maintain a relationship with the FBII-Abaco Board of Directors to help in the ongoing success of the various components of the Institute.
Investment Required
2024-25 Project Summary
Year One- FBI, Inc. will coordinate with the government officials on Abaco Island to secure a ten-acre FBII-Abaco campus site. With the site approved to occupy, construct the main office building, two shops, and classroom buildings. Phase one will require creating the entrance, parking lots, staff housing, and security building.
  • Proper welding booths will provide a safe environment for the students to practice the various welding styles they need to master.
  • Each module has the latest welding machine, welding supplies, and proper safety equipment.
  • Proper ventilation ensures the students’ air quality
  • Video cameras are in all the booths to monitor the student’s work and adherence to appropriate safety regulations. The video feed also allows the Director of Education to monitor the quality of instruction given to the students.
  • Cameras and media equipment will be in each classroom to allow for remote instruction and interaction with the teacher. Classes will also have an onsite instructor.
  • Instruction for year one will be two weeks of classes and two weeks off. Ten modules in the welding curriculum will cover the four fundamental areas of welding needed for students to pass the qualification exams offered by TVET and the American Welding Society.
Measured Results
Year One
  • Complete the facility
  • Graduate 25 students
  • Assist the graduates in passing their qualification test
  • Recruit five persons who will start their instructor training in year two
  • Have the first Enterprise identified and the business plan completed
  • Have year two courses prepared to accept students
  • Be able to demonstrate community involvement with FBII-Abaco
Funding needs and focus are establishing the initial Institute with core vocations, which we have addressed through this proposal. In this first year, FBII-Abaco will have had time to develop relationships with local government agencies, community groups, the business community, and NGOs, allowing us to fine-tune the Institute’s development in year two. By year two, we will have actual data showing student participation. The information will enable us to set forth the proposals for year two and beyond. The income generated by the SME will allow us to develop the Enterprise’s profitability timeline and how that will benefit the Institute. Along with what additional vocational training is offering the highest interest.
Funding Needed to Launch Phase One
Phase One Projected Cost
Phase One will set up the initial campus comprised of the administrative office, the classroom building, the lab building, the welding shop, and two staff housing duplex units. The main entrance will be constructed along with a security guard house.
The cost of the buildings and site development                      $6,305,284.00
The Cost for the Welding Shop                                               $76,187.28
The cost of staffing     2024                                                     $353,660.00
                                    2025                                                    $718,738.00               
The Classroom Furnishings                                                    $47,532.00     
Annual Curriculum/Software Usage Fees                               $4000.00        
                                                Total Phase 1                           $7,505,401.28             
Action Taken
  1. We have received the survey of the ten-acre parcel located on Spring City Road south of Marsh Harbour. 
  2. We are currently completing the crown land application to gain title to the ten-acre parcel.
  3. We have completed incorporating in the Bahamas as a non-profit educational institute.
  4. We have applied for our NGO recognition in the Bahamas.
  5. We have established the Foundation Builders International Institute-Abaco Board of Directors
  6. We have set up the US staff to start the project.
  7. We are currently receiving pledges to cover the cost of Phase 1
Success factors
Experience in Implementing Youth Development through a Foundation Builders International Institute.
Foundation Builders International worked in Port au Prince, Haiti, for several years before the political unrest made it impossible to operate the Institute safely. We focused on welding, concrete, rebar design and fabrication, carpentry, and blueprint reading. When the Institute was open, we used a local facility donated to us to train our cohorts of students. Our students were young men eager to learn a skill or increase their knowledge.
Here is what a local contractor had to say about our courses.
(Boss Loulou) said that the Foundation Builders School teachings were excellent. I learned things that I never knew. The training was different from the training that I received. They focused on international code and practical application. I felt that as a construction contractor, it helped me immensely. I improved on my cages and form-making. Also, I learned how to fabricate wooden trusses better. Those I have contracted to build see that my work is different and better than other contractors, opening doors for more work. Overall, I feel that it has built my confidence and abilities.
Even in Haiti’s challenging environment, our students are given a sense of empowerment through the skills they receive. After completing our welding courses, one of our welding students had this to say.
Adancy -  I learned proper welding techniques and how to prepare better and plan my welding projects. I now have a better understanding of welding principles. Yet, I cannot perfect them as I would like because I cannot find work in my field. Yet, I know that I am better prepared for future work projects. I am delighted with what I learned and would recommend others in the future to participate in Foundation Builders school. I hope that in the future, I can further my studies with them in welding and fabrication.
Through developing their vocational and business skills, FBII-Abaco students will experience the importance of interpersonal relationships with co-workers, reconciliation, conflict resolution, civic responsibility, and enterprise development. They will understand the connection between ethics and prosperity. Learn the importance of personal responsibility in work and business. Through the economics course, they will develop the skills of a responsible citizen.
Challenges faced
The primary challenge FBII-Abaco faces is securing the donations and pledges needed to complete the crown land application and begin the work. 
Our next challenge will be to get the construction supplies from the US to Abaco Island. The material must be sent in by cargo container and delivered to the site.
Project Achievements
  1. We have completed our documentation with the government to be recognized as a Bahamian corporation.
  2. We have met with the local community to analyze the vocational training skills we will offer.
  3. We have assembled the initial US staff to teach and train the nationals to staff the Institute ultimately.
  4. We have secured the teachers qualified to teach the certification requirements for the vocational skills offered at the Institute.
  5. We have completed the design plans for the Phase 1 buildings. They are designed at a Cat 4 strength and can serve as emergency shelters when needed.
Macro Social & Economic Impact
The Foundation Builders International-Abaco strategy contains several vital components involving the students receiving vocational training and primary economic education. The second component is entrepreneurial skill development and enterprise development.
Cross-Cutting Strategy
  • Youth Involvement in Educational Strategies
  • Gaining life skills is equally essential to acquiring vocational skills. Each student starts with an aptitude test to assess their educational level and help them decide which vocational skill they will be most compatible with. The student's involvement in this process helps them identify their needs and support their choices. The information also helps the staff and students plan, implement, and control their development process. All these facets of the student's vocational training and economic courses build their self-esteem and confidence.
  • Involving Communities and Other Key Players
  • The second phase encompasses starting an SME once the Institute is established. The SME will develop a management team of institute staff, business students, and local business leaders to develop emerging business leaders in manufacturing using students in vocational training, product quality, marketing, and distribution. The business students will analyze the local community for business opportunities. From the data analysis, students and business instructors will work with the local community to determine what SME best matches the vocational skills available to the institute students with the most immediate needs of the community. The SME team will also work with governmental agencies focused on developing the local economy.
  • Advocacy
  • The ongoing development of the Institute will include networking and collaborating with The Ministry of Education, TVET, government leaders, and other partners to maintain a standard that prepares students to take the certification test administered by Government agencies and other certifying organizations. Foundation Builders International Institute-Abaco will keep a close relationship with certifying agencies while working with our graduates to ensure our students receive their certification. FBII-Abaco will develop linkages and alliances with government institutions, agencies, and NGOs working in vocational/business training, which will be promoted to improve leverage, advocacy, and employment for youth receiving vocational and business training.
  • Small Scale Enterprise Development
The youth Enterprise development support will comprise financial and economic assessments and small-scale business management training. The Enterprise management team will be self-managed based on systems and procedures jointly developed with FBII-Abaco Institute of Business, local business leaders, and community leaders. The SME will be designed using skills and knowledge taught at the Institute. Students will work at the Enterprise both in management and production. Income generated by the Enterprise will cover operating costs, including payroll for those working there. FBII-Abaco Institute will use a percentage of the profit to cover some of the cost of operating the Institute. The Board of Directors will regularly monitor the operation of the Enterprise for FBII-Abaco.
  • Vocational and Business Skills Training
This component will follow formal and informal approaches to skills development based on needs assessment and skills audit activities. The main emphasis of vocational training is to prepare the student to pass the certification test associated with their skill. Placement of the student in the local community practicing the skills they have acquired is an integral part of the student's development. Existing businesses offering relevant services will be identified as outlets for student placement. Businesses that hire an Institute student in an apprentice program will receive help from an Institute facilitator to ensure the student is a good fit for the company and acclimates to the work environment.
FBII-Abaco Institutes will be constructed at strategic locations identified to serve as multi-purpose centers to train youth from other satellite communities. Each Institute will provide training based on recognized and preferred needs (e.g., welding, metal fabrication, carpentry, masonry, and concrete/concrete form ). The Institute will provide students with essential training tools and materials during the training.
Students who complete the Institute's courses and receive a certificate of completion will be encouraged to take the TVET certification test. The Institute staff will work with them to ensure they obtain the certification.
Students interested in starting their businesses will be paired with a mentor who will help them through the start-up process. The Institute will maintain an ongoing relationship with these entrepreneurs. Through the network developed by the FBII-Abaco, the businesses will be encouraged to form Co-ops around the vocational skills they have learned to leverage their production and market share. Accessing micro-loans for business development will be a feature of the Business Institute.
Project sustainability plan
FBII-Abaco envisages continuity with our graduates beyond the institutional setting. The following steps will ensure continued support for the graduates.
  • Development and creation of alternative skills for self-employment: FBII-Abaco will promote the growth and innovation of skills that provide opportunities for graduates' self-employment.
  • Involvement of graduates at all levels: FBII-Abaco will demystify the steps needed to achieve economic growth and business development with the participation of the stakeholders through the various disciplines the student will encounter. This process will continue after graduation as the facilitators and mentors will continue to work with the graduates.
  • Training and Institution building: graduates receiving the production, leadership, and management skills will be the vehicle to accelerate the societal transformation or change process. Females who graduate from the Business Institute will focus on community business development and management opportunities. Graduates will be encouraged to work in groups and Co-ops to address common problems.
  •  Investment in micro-finance activities: graduates will be encouraged to work in groups or co-ops to embark on income-generating activities with the view of revolving funds to allow for growth and expansion. Through the small-business training they have acquired and the continued mentor support of the Business Institute, they can sustain their financial growth.
  • Community service information collection and analysis: FBII-Abaco will involve the consistent collection and analysis of information through networking, collaboration, and partnership to guide the implementation and business development process. Such information is fed back to communities and other agencies for replication and to drive local business development. FBII-Abaco will also link emerging businesses to the communities they serve. 
We welcome your financial support to empower our students to achieve vocational and economic success. We appreciate our monthly supporters and invite you to join this group of donors. You can make your donation and become a monthly supporter at
If you prefer to donate by check 
Foundation Builders International Inc.
8033 Iona Way
Milford, DE 19963
Gallery of Foundation Builders International Institute- Abaco, Bahamas