Activists Explore Career Center Models at Algeria Youth Employment Summit
This summer, World Learning gathered more than 112 activists from around Algeria for an inaugural Youth Employment Summit under the theme “The Career Development Center Model: Building Concrete Solutions for Youth Employment.”
Participants applied and were selected in groups representing local technical schools, universities, and civic groups from 21 wilayas across Algeria.
Some participants traveled nearly 1,000 miles to attend the three-day summit in Algiers this July, where they worked with international practitioners to examine career center models and services from Algeria as well as El Salvador, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, and Palestine. The activists drew inspiration from these models as they developed action plans for establishing new career centers to serve their own local communities.
“The experience had, without doubt, a great impact on us,” said Baha Obeidi, an activist from El Oued, “We are currently pursuing the action plan we created at the Summit. Without it I can safely say that we wouldn’t be able to make such a progress in such a short time.”
US Ambassador to Algeria Joan Polaschik and World Learning President Carol Jenkins opened the summit, which was organized with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). Several dozen leading members of the Algerian business community and government officials also attended the opening.
In her remarks, Jenkins stated the summit workshops “are a reminder of how learning, training, and educating all need to be practically focused to solve real problems and to make the lives of youth tangibly better.”
The summit marked the culmination of World Learning’s MEPI-funded Promoting Education, Altruism, and Civic Engagement (PEACE) project, launched in 2012 to prepare Algerian students to succeed in the world of work through professional development and civic engagement activities. Under the project, World Learning supported Career Development Centers (CDCs) at five universities across Algeria, providing training, counseling, and other career services to more than 10,000 students. It also organized three TechCamps, supported 17 career fairs, funded 23 civil society projects, and offered training to 147 local civic groups.
To help aspiring career center founders build on these previous experiences, World Learning unveiled a comprehensive Career Development Center Toolkit at the summit. This guide includes best practices, lessons learned, and practical tools designed to help Algerian institutions launch new career centers.
“With the Toolkit in hand,” said World Learning Algeria Field Director Leah Bitat, “aspiring career center founders will have the knowledge and tools they need to launch their own centers successfully and support youth in their local communities.”
The summit also marked the beginning of the MEPI-funded Youth Employment Project (YEP), under which World Learning is establishing career centers in seven private vocational training schools across Algeria this year.
“The Summit was a great experience,” said Abdellatif Baghli, a participant from the University of Tlemcen. “I learned a lot from it and I think that it will be a good thing to establish CDCs across our universities. This will give new opportunities to our students and give them some tools to undertake new challenges.”
For more information about the event, please visit World Learning Algeria on Facebook.