In Jordan, where twenty-five percent of youth are unemployed, a program funded by USAID and administered by the International Organization for Youth (IYF) endeavors to reduce that number significantly by offering comprehensive skills training to Jordan’s young people.
The program educates students (age 15-24) to be successful employees in Jordan’s burgeoning retail industry. Jordan currently ranks 18th in the world on the Global Retail Development Index (GRDI) and is experiencing rapid growth in the e-commerce sector as well. A recent survey found that 15.4 percent of Jordanians shop online, which was a steep increase from previous studies.
This is fantastic economic news for Jordan, but the labor force is having difficulty keeping pace. New workers must be trained with the necessary retail skills to continue this growth.
The joint USAID-IYF program provides that training. Graduates of the program receive 60 hours of English language instruction, 70 hours of information technology preparation, and 120 hours of retail technical training. Additionally, students completing the program gain valuable life skills training that establish a foundation for success that they can utilize throughout their careers.
USAID’s involvement in the development of Jordan dates back to 1951, when the country’s population was only 500,000 people and the infrastructure to support industrial and economic growth was non-existent. Now, with a population of over six million people, Jordan has transformed itself into a lower-middle income country that is on the rise.
Support from USAID has directly created over 50,000 jobs, constructed 28 schools and 21 water treatment facilities, and helped increase the life-expectancy of Jordanians from 49 years in 1961 to 73 years in 2011.
Last week, 95 students, 79 of whom are young women, became the first graduates of the retail training program. Rana Al Turk, IYF Director, notes that the goal of the program is to create job opportunities for these young people in order to positively impact their lives and their communities.
In addition to the USAID-IYF program, numerous other partner organizations, like the Jordan Career Education Foundation (JCEF), are creating similar youth skills programs to ensure that young people are properly prepared for a rapidly changing Jordan where poverty and inequity are becoming a thing of the past.
– Aaron Faust
Sources: AMEinfo, ATKearney, USAID, IndexMundi, Jordan Career Education Foundation
Photo: Pass Blue