Talento Sin Fronteras (Talent Without Borders) Program

Integrating & Including

Participants from Talento Sin Fronteras (Talent Without Borders)
  • 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10 Reduced Inequalities

Talent knows no boundaries

There’s a story we hear nearly every day  refugees and asylum seekers across the globe leave their homes, families and careers to risk their lives for a better, safer future. The reality is that among an estimated 71 million refugees worldwide, far too many are driven to living on the margins of the society they fled to. But this is a story about Panama, a country that chose to write a different ending. And about our efforts to bring skilled workers out of the shadows to fill critical talent shortages and contribute to the greater good. 

Today, more than 16,000 refugees and asylum seekers call Panama home. They set out from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Colombia, Venezuela and other countries throughout Latin America. They bring what they can carry, along with their skills and talent.  And that’s where this story gets its inspirationthe dual purpose of assisting a large migrant population, while also creating an opportunity to address the country’s talent shortage. So ManpowerGroup partnered with the UNHRC and the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) to build a pathway to stable and sustainable employment for this untapped workforce  transforming people’s lives, as well as Panama’s future. 

“As refugees, it is very difficult to find a job. Many, like me, have professions. We have a lot to contribute and we want to give 100% of us. If we work hard, we can achieve our dreams and prosper in Panama.” — Mericce Mago, Venezuela, Office Admin

of employers in Panama report talent shortages 

Refugees in Panama: Tapping into Talent

  • 62%
    are of working age
  • 25%
    have university degrees or technical qualifications
  • 30%
    have administrative, customer service, or office experience

Empowering talent

Talento Sin Fronteras (Talent Without Borders) provides training to both refugees and existing citizens who need help finding and securing a job. Participants receive face-to-face coaching as well as online soft and hard skills certifications to boost their employability. On top of that, they get opportunities to interact with potential employers in practice interviews at job fairs  ultimately leading to real interviews and job offers. In the first year, nearly 200 individuals have gone through the program, and early success has led to setting the ambitious goal to grow by 300% annually. Achieving such rapid growth requires large-scale innovation while still maintaining a personalized, human touch. ManpowerGroup has years of experience blending assessment to identify adjacent skills and career guidance on pathways to learn and grow, in addition to providing digital and face-to-face training and certification experience. 

“These businesses have the opportunity to impact refugees’ lives and society. Our allies will be getting a talent force that’s already skilled, coming with experiences and knowledge that will be shared with local talent too.” — Andres Soto, ManpowerGroup, Sustainability Manager for Panama

Building belonging

The program’s success is broad and far reaching. The tangible benefits include access to healthcare and educationand the emotional benefits are even greater. The refugees who participate in the program finally feel a sense of security and belonging through sustainable employment in their new country. Carlos, a 55-year-old Colombian refugee, has become a leader at the large car rental company he went to work for after participating in Talento Sin Fronteras. His customer service and interpersonal skills won him the job, but his attitude and motivation won their hearts, and he has emerged as an office role model for his coworkers, native-Panamanian or otherwise. 

“Thanks to Talentos Sin Fronteras, I am able to work hard, and now I can think about buying a home in the next two years. I am so grateful.” — Carlos, Colombia, Customer Service Representative

The path toward resilience

With this innovative program, companies gain access to a pool of workers with relevant skills and the capability to fill the talent shortages they face due to lack of applicants, experience and skills among the existing workforce. First year progress shows that Talento Sin Fronteras is on the right pathnearly two hundred participants have finished the program, one third of whom have secured jobs and the rest on their way to reaching the same goal. As the refugees and other participants gain meaningful employment, Panama advances toward a more solid foundation for longterm economic sustainability and sets an example for other countries who seek new solutions that integrate refugees into society in a way that transforms their lives  and the country  for the better. 

  • 200
    program graduates
  • 61
    people hired
  • 4 Quality Education
  • 5 Gender Equality
  • 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10 Reduced Inequalities
Challenge Accepted