The Education For Employment Foundation has received a $1.65 million grant from the Drosos Foundation to expand its work improving the futures of young Palestinians.
Over three years, EFE will train 450 disadvantaged, unemployed West Bank youth with cutting-edge business, communications and English-language skills. Successful graduates will be placed with employers who have previously committed jobs and will be supported by a network of EFE alumni and local business leaders as their mentors.
The EFE program fills a crucial need in Palestinian society, where more than one in three young people are jobless, poverty is pervasive, and employment prospects are dismal. EFE graduates will earn up to $600 a month – about twice the average wage. Their incomes will not only have a direct impact on their lives, but affect their families and benefit the communities in which they live.
"This grant will advance EFE's impressive efforts to promote economic growth in the West Bank, and it will open doors for young Palestinians seeking better lives for themselves and their families," said former Congressman Lee Hamilton. "Encouraging and aiding professional development in underdeveloped areas helps build stronger and more stable communities."
A pilot for 25 students will begin in the spring of 2009. Potential employers include Al-Ahleia Insurance Company, the Bank of Palestine, and Al Quds Bank. Lasting approximately four months, the training will consist of three components - a Business English course, EFE’s Workplace Success professional skills course and its Mini-MBA Program. All three modules are courses that have already been successfully launched by EFE and will be adapted to respond to the needs of the graduates’ future employers. Students will be taught by local faculty trained to EFE’s international standards.
The program will be run by Palestinian EFE, one of EFE’s network of affiliate foundations operating across the Middle East and North Africa. The new program builds on EFE’s track record of creating opportunities for Palestinian youth through its Construction Management Program, launched in Ramallah in the summer of 2008, and its Mini-MBA Program, launched in Gaza in 2006.
The Drosos Foundation, a politically, religiously and ideologically independent organization, is committed to enabling disadvantaged people to live a life of dignity. Established in 2003, it supports projects in Switzerland, Germany, the Middle East, and North Africa that give individuals the skills to take responsibility for themselves, others, and the environment.