Education For Employment’s (EFE) mission is to create economic opportunity for unemployed youth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by providing world-class professional and technical training that leads directly to jobs and entrepreneurship support.

We are an affiliated network of locally-run non-profit organizations in MENA that provides youth with training in vocational and professional skills in high demand by the local labor market, and connects graduates to jobs. To promote job creation and an alternative pathway to economic opportunity, we are piloting youth entrepreneurship programs.

Graduates of our programs have access to the EFE alumni network, which offers opportunities for continuing professional development, civic engagement and leadership, mentoring, networking, and international exchange.

To broaden its impact for systemic change, we work with governments and public educational institutions to implement youth employability programs.

The EFE Network is comprised of locally-run affiliates in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Yemen, and a presence in the Gulf, and support organizations in the USA, Europe and the UAE that support the regional affiliates.

Why Arab Youth Employment?

MENA has the largest youth population in the world – double the global average – which presents a unique opportunity for the regional economy to benefit from young energy and talent.   Despite the immense potential of the region’s youth, MENA has the highest youth unemployment rates in the world, averaging above 25% regionally with unemployment among certain groups exceeding 60%.  Almost ninety percent of CEOs in the Middle East believe that the limited supply of candidates with the right skills presents the biggest organizational challenge in the near-term.

One of the key contributors to the record high youth unemployment rates in MENA is the mismatch between the skills taught in local educational institutions and the needs of the labor market.  Social and gender divides often intensify this labor mismatch. Private-sector employers often are reluctant to hire youth from marginalized socioeconomic backgrounds, and youth in turn do not trust that the system will give them a fair chance.  Young women, despite attaining higher levels of education, are especially vulnerable. In some MENA countries the unemployment rate among university-educated women is three to eight times that of university-educated men.

Young people need the opportunity to develop the skills that employers seek.  They also need to believe that they can add significant value to the companies they work for, and the confidence brought by hands-on learning and on-the-job training.

We help young women and men by providing the training they need to secure a job and by creating ongoing opportunities for young women and men to develop their professional skills, build social capital, and engage in their communities.  Through partnerships with the private sector and educational institutions and regional reach, we are also working to enhance how educational institutions prepare youth for the workforce, and to change attitudes of educators, youth and employers.