International Partnerships Work to Close Gap between Higher Education and Workforce Development 

June 20, 2012 
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U.S. Community and Technical Colleges Collaborate with Institutions in the Broader Middle East and North Africa

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Higher Education for Development (HED) in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today announced the expansion of four existing partnerships and five new partnerships under the Broader Middle East and North Africa-U.S. Community College Initiative. The international partnerships are seeking to improve local workforce skills through new higher education efforts that will increase entrepreneurship opportunities and youth employment.

The nine partnerships grew out of four short-term small grants and five proposal development grants managed by HED beginning in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Despite their initial short timeframes, the grantees accomplished major objectives and laid the ground work for more curriculum development opportunities in areas such as solar technology, entrepreneurship, automotive diagnostics, mechatronics, and business plan development. These partnerships span five countries in the region and involve community and technical colleges from eight U.S. states. Learn more about these partnerships in the chart below and at

USAID Division Chief of Higher Education, Workforce Development, and Training Gary Bittner shared his appreciation for the partnerships' efforts in the key area of local workforce development: "These community-based partnerships are focused on institutional reform that adapts or creates new curricula, transfers science and technology, and applies entrepreneurial skills for employment. They have the potential to model system-wide reform by advancing higher education policies, programs and operations that are relevant to employment, entrepreneurship and the needs of the productive sectors in society."

Creating linkages among higher education institutions, local communities, and the public and private sectors offers solutions to the region's struggles with high unemployment rates. In President Obama's May 19, 2011 remarks on the Middle East delivered at the U.S. Department of State, he said: "We will continue to make good on the commitments that I made in Cairo--to build networks of entrepreneurs and expand exchanges in education, to foster cooperation in science and technology, and combat disease." HED Executive Director Tully Cornick said, "The ambitious work plans and accomplishments of the U.S. community and technical colleges and the higher education institutions in the BMENA region drew the attention and support of USAID. Their activities are fulfilling important capacity building needs. I am confident that these partnerships will make major contributions to strengthening workforce development across the Middle East and North Africa."

These partnerships involve training students and professionals to meet the evolving demands of the job market and foster economic stability. "The strength of the community college model is its flexibility and responsiveness in meeting local and regional workplace needs," said Dr. Jim McKenney, vice president of workforce, economic development and international programs for the American Association of Community Colleges. "That experience can be invaluable to ensure vital career pathways for youth and to help stabilize regional economies in the Middle East and North Africa."

Both sets of grants were originally funded by the U.S. Department of State and supported by the U.S. Department of Education and are now funded as longer-term partnerships by USAID. The awards total approximately $3,800,000 from USAID's new Bureau for Economic Growth, Education and Environment, Office of Education, Higher Education and Workforce Team (formerly USAID's Office of Education, part of the Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade). U.S. partnering institutions have pledged to contribute an additional $1,600,000 (approximate) in cost share. The partnerships are managed by HED and are scheduled to close in late 2014 and early 2015.


The American people, through the United States Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years. For more information, visit

HED mobilizes the expertise and resources of the higher education community to address global development challenges. HED manages a competitive awards process to access expertise with the higher education community in coordination with the American Council on Education (ACE), the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). For more information about HED, visit



Broader Middle East and North Africa-U.S. Community College Initiative

(formerly the BMENA-U.S. Community College Small Grants Initiative)

Country BMENA Institution State U.S. Institution Partnership Title
Egypt Mataria Technical College Washington Highline Community College Creating Educational Pathways to High Skills Employment at Mataria Technical College
Jordan Al-Huson University College/Al-Balqa Applied University Colorado Red Rocks Community College Expanding Jordan’s Green Collar Workforce
Jordan Al Quds College Iowa Eastern Iowa Community College District/Muscatine Community College Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship
Morocco Ecole Supérieure de Technologie, Oujda/Université Mohammed I Oujda Wisconsin Gateway Technical College/Shoreline Community College/San Diego Miramar College/Snap-on Automotive Diagnostics Training Partnership

Broader Middle East and North Africa-U.S. Community College Initiative

(formerly the BMENA-U.S. Community College Entrepreneurship Proposal Development Grants Program)

Country BMENA Institution State U.S. Institution Partnership Title
Bahrain Bahrain Polytechnic Nebraska Central Community College Bahrain Entrepreneurship Project
Jordan Al Quds College Michigan Washtenaw Community College /William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan Community College Entrepreneurship: Integration to Incubation
Lebanon Al-Kafaàt Foundation Schools New York Nassau Community College/Monroe Community College /North Country Community College /Onondaga Community College SUNY Community College Consortium
Morocco Ecole Normale Supérieure de l’Enseignement Technique de Rabat/Ecole Normale Supérieure de l’Enseignement Technique de Mohammedia Massachusetts Middlesex Community College/Bristol Community College Linkages for Entrepreneurship Achievement Project (LEAP)
Morocco Ecole Supérieure de Technologie, Oujda/ Université Mohammed I Oujda Wisconsin Gateway Technical College/Red Valley College/Wisconsin Business Incubator Association/Nation-al Business Incubation Association Collegiate Entrepreneurship and Collaborative Strategies