Empowering youth to take charge of their career paths and equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to successfully contribute to Uzbekistan’s social and economic development.
With over 60 percent of the population under the age of 30, Uzbekistan’s youth have the potential to transform the country through their contributions to the labor market and Uzbekistan’s economic growth. To accomplish this, the country’s growing youth population requires support to secure or create employment in the existing job market, and to develop the knowledge and skills they need for the job market of the future.
In January 2022, USAID, in partnership with the Ministry of Public Education of Uzbekistan (MOPE), launched the five-year, $10 million YES activity to increase youth work readiness and employability. The activity aims to equip youth in Grades 8-11 with the necessary skills to enter Uzbekistan’s economy as competent employees or entrepreneurs. The activity addresses both school-based and after-school programs to ensure a successful school-to-work transition, while giving special attention to women, girls, and youth with disabilities.
To equip youth in grades 8-11 with the necessary skills and tools to participate in Uzbekistan’s labor market as competent employees or entrepreneurs, by improving the quality and relevance of curricula and teaching practices in school-based and after-school programs, and through practical, experience-based learning.
OBJECTIVE 1: IMPROVED QUALITY OF SCHOOL-BASED ECONOMICS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAMS
The activity will partner with MOPE agencies, and the private sector, to update the curricula and teaching and learning materials used for Grades 8-11 entrepreneurship and economics instruction. As students with disabilities are not typically integrated into mainstream schools in Uzbekistan, special education schools, teachers, and other stakeholders with expert knowledge will be included in this process. The revised curricula will be tested in schools in the target pilot region in a randomized control trial.
OBJECTIVE 2: IMPROVED QUALITY OF AFTER-SCHOOL ENTREPRENEURSHIP, SOFT SKILLS AND WORK READINESS PROGRAMS
To improve the quality of after-school entrepreneurship, soft skills and work readiness programs, the activity will continue strengthening its partnership with the MOPE and private sector stakeholders, while also partnering with local government and community groups in the target pilot region. Private sector perspectives will be integrated into the development of curricula and programming. Additionally, the activity will cultivate and leverage private sector partnerships to create opportunities for hands-on training of youth through job shadowing and mentorship opportunities.
OBJECTIVE 3: STRENGTHENED ENABLING ENVIRONMENT TO SUPPORT AND ENGAGE YOUTH
The activity will focus on building attitudes and corresponding behaviors conducive to youth, women and girls, and people with disabilities entering the workforce. All activities under Objective 3 will target and support behavior change in four groups in the target pilot region: youth participants (Grades 8-11), parents, teachers/mentors, and employers. In addition, the activity will actively engage the private sector, from a diverse group of businesses, with a key focus on forging sustainable relationships and mechanisms for communication between the MOPE and private sector actors, and on enacting policy or procedural-level change through targeted involvement with government.
USAID’s Uzbekistan Youth Employment Skills activity is implemented by a consortium of partners including American Councils for International Education as the lead organization, World Learning, Tech4Impact, Sharoit Plus, and Ergo Analytics.
Leesa Kaplan-Nunes, PhD
Chief of Party
American Councils for International Education – Uzbekistan