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.