Putting Education to Work

A girl attending a jewelry making course at Dar Al-Kalima College in Bethlehem.
A girl attending a jewelry making course at Dar Al-Kalima College in Bethlehem.
Save the Children and Dar Al-Kalima College in Bethlehem

High unemployment rates among young people result from their lack of opportunities and market-relevant skills. However higher levels of education can raise developing countries’ productivity significantly. USAID is helping countries expand equitable access to higher education and workforce development programs, while improving the quality and relevance of these programs.

Youth Workforce Development

Youth with meaningful employment contribute to a stable and strong workforce, global security and economic prosperity. USAID's workforce development programs prepare young people for meaningful work opportunities through coaching, internship placement, job matching, skills development and entrepreneurship programs. We work with local businesses to ensure training responds to the needs of the job market. From 2011 to 2015, USAID programs have connected more than 609,000 individuals with new or improved employment.

Higher Education

Inadequate higher education systems have a negative impact on development issues such  as climate change, food security, global health, governance, and education quality at all levels. Without strong institutions, local ownership and generation of development outcomes is limited.

USAID invests around $225 million annually in higher education. These investments are used to build dynamic relationships between U.S. and overseas colleges and universities. Our educational partnerships strengthen collaboration between faculty and student leaders, and leverage higher education assets including research, student engagement, institutional capacity building, and access through scholarships.

USAID supports programs that:

  • Increase access to vocational/technical/higher education and training for underserved and the disadvantaged, including women, persons with disabilities, and the most marginalized and vulnerable. 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.

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.

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Read more about USAID’s programs:

See how USAID is partnering to make a difference in global education:

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Last updated: November 15, 2017

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