One of the keys to the long-term recovery from the March 11 disaster is the capacity to revitalize the economic base in Tohoku. Manufacturing is a key part of the regional economy, but it requires a skilled workforce. In this region, national colleges of technology called “koto-senmon gakko,” or “kosen” for short, have played a particularly important role in developing that workforce (the employment rate for kosen graduates is 98%). However, the disaster has threatened the ability of students to attend these schools. The minimum cost of a five-year education at these schools is approximately ¥2 million for tuition and another ¥3 million for room, board, textbooks, and other expenses. Students who have been affected by the disaster may receive waivers or subsidies for their tuition, but many still have difficulty covering other costs.
As part of the Bain Capital Japan Disaster Relief Fund, a ¥27 million “Bain Capital Kosen Scholarship Fund” was established in order to help youths who would otherwise have difficulty staying in the kosen. The scholarship program is being managed by the Institute of National Colleges of Technology, Japan.
The scholarship has been awarded to 15 students ranging from 1st- to 5th-year students (16–20 years old) from the technical colleges in Ichinoseki (Iwate Prefecture), Sendai (Miyagi Prefecture), and Fukushima City (Fukushima Prefecture). These students are receiving support for the duration of their studies at the kosen.
Photo: Fukushima National College of Technology
Voices of the Students:
The 15 scholarship awardees have all suffered hardships as a result of the disaster. The more “fortunate” among them only lost their homes in the tsunami, or have had to evacuate their homes because of the nuclear accident. Many others have suffered the loss of family members as well. These hardships have put the students in a difficult situation, both psychologically and financially.
Despite the tragic aftermath of the disaster, though, many students described how the experience had helped them realize the importance of helping one another. One student wrote:
“The day that the disaster struck, I saw many children crying because they had lost their homes or their parents in the earthquake. And I saw children—much younger than I was at the time—who were crying as they watched the tsunami hit. I’m still not able to do anything yet, but someday I want to be able to contribute in some small way to help those children, those young victims with such promising futures ahead of them, to be able to fulfill their dreams. I want to help others in the same way that all of the businesspeople and kindhearted people who created this scholarship have helped me.”
With help from the Bain Capital Japan Disaster Relief Fund, these students have had one less worry; they have been able to continue their studies and will hopefully contribute to rebuilding their local communities in the future.
This fund is administered by JCIE/USA, a NY-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. JCIE/Japan is also a nonprofit organization registered under Japanese law, and the Institute of National Colleges of Technology, Japan, is a government–affiliated independent administrative agency.
About Bain Capital, LLC
Established in 1984, Bain Capital is one of the world’s leading private investment firm. Headquartered in Boston, Bain Capital has offices in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai, New York, London, Munich and Mumbai.
About the Institute of National Colleges of Technology, Japan
The Institute of National Colleges of Technology was established in 2004 to support the 55 kotosenmon gakko, or technical colleges, around Japan. The institute is a government agency and is registered as an independent administrative institution.