On the 12 &13th of May in New York City, Education For Employment (EFE) President and CEO Jamie McAuliffe spoke at the 2015 Shared Value Leadership Summit. Jamie joined EFE partners John Irons, Managing Director, The Rockefeller Foundation and Lisa H. Neuberger, Director of Corporate Citizenship Programs, Accenture and other business leaders in discussing new private sector solutions to social issues, and discussing ways to scale the impact of “shared “value” approaches to youth unemployment.

More information on the meeting and participants can be found here. Additional information on the “shared value” model can be found here.

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CGI Commitment

MARRAKECH, MOROCCO (Wednesday, 6 May, 2015) – Education For Employment (EFE) and 17 partners launched a landmark Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action on youth employment, announced by President Bill Clinton at the opening plenary of the CGI Middle East & Africa meeting (video here, starts 18:08). The commitment “New Sectors, Frontiers & Insights For Youth Employment” will provide employer demand-driven training to over 13,600 MENA youth, expand the EFE Network into Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and catalyze systemic change by generating knowledge and new pathways for companies to engage.

To highlight the role that youth themselves will play in helping the MENA region to unlock the potential of its young women and men, Layla Madihi, an alumna of EFE in Morocco (EFE-Maroc) who currently serves as the organization’s Monitoring & Evaluating Officer, spoke at a special session at CGI on May 6 WEST entitled “Pathways to Employment” (video here, starts 10:22).

“New Sectors, Frontiers & Insight For Youth Employment” is to be included as a part of Job One, a series of Commitments dedicated to expanding training, hiring or mentoring opportunities for youth, and building the business case for more companies to engage unemployed youth.

With this commitment, EFE joins private sector companies – from global Fortune 500s to local SMEs – with philanthropic and media institutions to create impact for unemployed MENA youth and to promote new ways for companies to invest in youth employment. The commitment demonstrates the necessity of collective action in unlocking the potential of the MENA region’s growing youth population.

"Never before in MENA has such a diverse group of actors united in a Commitment to Action on youth employment,” said EFE-Global President & CEO Jamie McAuliffe. “Our partners defy grim headlines on MENA’s youth employment crisis and recognize the untapped potential that the region’s young women and men represent. With this commitment, we are proud to join our partners in expanding programs that directly provide economic opportunities for thousands of youth, including in new geographies, and in producing insights that can engage more companies and inform systemic change in MENA."

EFE’s commitment creates lasting economic opportunity for youth in MENA by targeting growing sectors, reaching new frontiers, and generating novel insights.

Through the commitment, EFE will provide demand-driven training to support 13,600 MENA youth, with a special focus on young women, in entering the workforce. To meet the skills demands of companies operating in the region, EFE will adopt a sector-specific approach for job placement programs that focuses on employing youth in digital, sales, construction and hospitality jobs, among other industries seeking talent. To complement job placement training, which will result in direct job placements for graduates, EFE will implement entrepreneurship programs that connect graduates with startup support, as well as job skills trainings that prepare youth for the work world.

With MENA’s internet adoption and tech sector growth outpacing most other areas of the globe, EFE will train youth for digital jobs at employers such as Accenture (Morocco), SunGard (Tunisia), e-commerce giant Souq.com (Egypt) and online payment company M2T (Morocco) with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation (Egypt and Morocco) and Accenture (Morocco and Tunisia).

As the hotel and tourism industry emerges as a key employer in MENA, EFE will create a Hospitality Training Academy with the guidance of restaurant chain Zooba, which will employ graduates. EFE and OCP Foundation will also create hospitality job opportunities for youth in Morocco.

To provide talent that supports the region’s construction industry growth, EFE will train Palestinian youth for employment in companies such as Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), the largest engineering firm in the region.

With the sales and retail sector expanding, EFE and Bluedrop will build a sales curriculum in Arabic, including e-learning components, and will train youth for jobs in the sector with support from Boeing. In Morocco, companies such as retailor Folly Fashion (Marwa) will hire youth in sales jobs, with OCP Foundation OCP Foundation supporting trainings.

In order to strengthen the EFE Network of affiliates, EFE will partner with Accenture to build an e-Learning platform, with Bluedrop to create a Learning Management System, and with Potential.com to enhance the corporate outreach and partnership-building capacity of EFE Network staff in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Yemen.

EFE’s commitment expands the EFE Network of affiliates to reach new frontiers in linking unemployed youth to economic opportunity by founding EFE-Saudi Arabia and creating a presence in the UAE. The Suliman S. Olayan Foundation and Alturki Holding will support EFE’s Saudi expansion.

To inspire more companies to engage unemployed youth, EFE will contribute novel insights to the youth employment field and outline tangible ways for companies to invest. With Bayt.com, EFE will generate new research on women’s employment, and through blog campaigns with The Huffington Post and the innovative use of social media supported by Facebook, EFE will provide a platform for employers and other partners to inspire concrete action on youth employment.

The challenges across MENA, the region with the world’s highest youth unemployment rate, are considerable, but so too is the potential of its youth. Building on EFE’s track record in the region placing over 7,800 youth in jobs in partnership with the private sector, this commitment enhances EFE’s ability to directly impact the lives of thousands of youth and produce insights that can influence systemic change and inspire companies to engage unemployed youth.

CGI Commitment Infographic

On May 6, 2015, USA Today published an article centered on the impact of EFE’s education and employment training programs across the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. With over 25% of youth left without jobs, many businesses and companies cite the lack of qualified candidates as a primary reason for this phenomenon. The article praises EFE’s commitment to ensuring that youth have the skills that employers want and need.

In the article, EFE|Egypt alumna Menna Mohammed attributes her newfound confidence and job as an IT programmer to EFE’s comprehensive skills-based training program. "What happened was a miracle. My personality changed completely — 100% — and now I can communicate easily with people." Menna’s transformation is another example of EFE’s commitment to decreasing unemployment across the MENA region.

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At a networking event in Dubai, UAE on May 3, H.H. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Youth, Culture and Community Development, praised EFE’s pioneering work in youth employment.

At “The Future of Youth Employment,” coordinated by EFE with sponsorship from the Citi Foundation and Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), HH Sheikh Al Nahyan urged the 80 executives in attendance to support EFE’s work in the Middle East & North Africa.

"Do we need the job placement training advocated by EFE? The answer is absolutely yes."

His remarks concluded a high-energy event, EFE’s first in the UAE, which focused on attracting new supporters to MENA youth employment.

EFE-UAE board member Raza Jafar CEO of ENSHAA PSC and EFE Founder & Chair Ron Bruder opened the event. Fred Sicre, Managing Director of EFE partner The Abraaj Group, moderated a lively discussion panel with speakers including EFE-UAE board members H.E. Ameera BinKaram, Executive Committee Chairperson of the Sharjah Business Women's Council and Karim Seifeddine, Public Affairs & Government Relations Head, MENAP, Citi.

EFE-Global board member Samer Khoury, President of Engineering & Construction at CCC, spoke as EFE’s first employer partner. He noted that, “as business leaders, it is up to us to create 100 million jobs in the next years. We have a partner in EFE.”

Dalel Samti, an EFE Alumna and Civil Engineer at CCC, underscored his words. She explained that, “for six months, I was unemployed. It was a dark time. But today, I am working in one of the largest construction companies in the Middle East, managing a team of five - all men.”

The event marked an important step in EFE’s work to catalyze region-wide support for youth employment.

You can read a press release on the event here, and read coverage in Gulf Today (English), Al Bayan (Arabic) and Al Khaleej (Arabic).

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Panelists Karim Seifeddine (Citi); H.E. Ameera Binkaram (Sharjah Business Women Council); Samer Khoury (CCC); Dalel Samti (EFE Alumna and CCC employee); Fred Sicre (Abraaj Group).

 

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His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan addresses the audience in the event closing remarks.

In its March 2015 issue, leading international Arab lifestyle magazine Enigma featured an in-depth interview with EFE Founder & Chair Ron Bruder about EFE and its growing presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

The interview delved into questions such as Bruder’s decision to work in a politically unstable part of the world, with Bruder indicating that in order for societal peace to exist, there must first be economic peace and stability. By tackling regional unemployment through job skills training programs, he pointed out, EFE hopes to force educational reform throughout the region that will result in youth being better equipped for the workplace upon graduation, no matter the level of degree they earn.

Bruder indicated that the secret to EFE’s success in such a wide range of countries is that in each location, the EFE entity is managed by a fully local board and staff. According to Bruder, youth in the MENA region desire more employment opportunities, and he has confidence that with the right skills, they are internationally competitive and “they could stand strong with anybody in the globe.”

Read the full interview and follow-up article here.