Expanding Access to Higher Education and Workforce Development

 girl attending a jewelry making course at Dar Al-Kalima College in Bethlehem
"Goal 2: Improved ability of tertiary and workforce development programs to produce a workforce with relevant skills to support country development goals by 2015." A girl attending a jewelry making course at Dar Al-Kalima College in Bethlehem.
Save the Children and Dar Al-Kalima College in Bethlehem

Higher levels of education can raise developing countries’ productivity significantly. One study shows that an additional year of average secondary or university-level education in a country raises national output by 19 percent. As globalization increases the demand for higher-level skills, a growing number of young people in the developing world find themselves without the relevant knowledge to fully participate in and contribute to economic growth. 

USAID is helping countries expand equitable access to higher education and workforce development programs, while improving the quality and relevance of these programs.

USAID supports programs that:

  • Increase access to vocational/technical/higher education and training for underserved and the disadvantaged, including women, persons with disabilities and marginalized ethnic groups.  This includes the provision of merit and need-based scholarships, internships and exchange programs that align with host country development goals.  
  • Improve the quality of higher education and research in support of country development priorities.  USAID promotes public-private partnerships, including university. partnerships and alliances), to deliver skills, and science and technology relevant to market needs.
  • Improve the relevance and quality of workforce development programs.

Since 1997, USAID has supported more than 400 partnerships between institutions of higher education in the United States and 77 developing countries. These partnerships supported education programs and research aimed at country- specific development challenges. Partnerships have led to improvements in areas such as financial and human resources management, strategic planning and service delivery in schools.

USAID’s workforce development programs are also providing youth with the skills necessary to engage in productive activities.  

Learn more about the Agency's  Higher Education for Development Partnership Program.

USAID State of the Field:

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Last updated: October 24, 2014

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