Community and Technical College Partnerships to Support Entrepreneurship in Broader Middle East and North Africa 

February 24, 2011 
Kellee Edmonds

USAID Press Office: (202) 712-4320


WASHINGTON, DC – Higher Education for Development (HED), in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Department of Education, today announced the six higher education partnerships selected to participate in the Broader Middle East and North Africa (BMENA) - U.S. Community College Entrepreneurship Proposal Development Grants competition.

The awards, of up to $60,000 each for a six-month period, will support collaborating institutions in developing long-term partnerships of not less than three years to strengthen the capacity of BMENA partner institutions through the promotion of entrepreneurship.

The selected U.S. institutions and their partnering institutions are:

Central Community College (NE)/Bahrain Polytechnic (Bahrain): Bahrain Entrepreneurship Project

Middlesex Community College (MA)/Bristol Community College (MA)/Ecole Normale Supérieure de l’Enseignement Technique de Rabat/Ecole Normale Supérieure de l’Enseignement Technique de Mohammedia (Morocco): Linkages for Entrepreneurship Achievement Project (LEAP)

Washtenaw Community College (MI)/William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan /Al Quds College (Jordan): Integrated Entrepreneurship Training

Nassau Community College (NY)/Monroe Community College (NY)/North Country Community College (NY)/Onondaga Community College (NY)/Al-Kafaat Europa School of Technology (Lebanon): SUNY Community College Consortium

Gateway Technical College (WI)/Ecole Superieure de Technologie, Oujda/Université Mohammed I Oujda (Morocco): Collegiate Entrepreneurship and Collaborative Strategies

Eastern Iowa Community College District/Tulsa Community College (OK)/Sana’a Community College (Yemen): Economic Empowerment through Entrepreneurship

This joint initiative is a response to recent administration development goals for the BMENA region. In June 2009, USAID, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education sponsored a two-day conference in Amman, Jordan focusing on community and technical colleges as an important model for facilitating the school-to-work transition in the BMENA region. During a major speech in June 2009 in Cairo, Egypt, President Obama highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship in fostering economic opportunity and community development. Speaking in Doha, Qatar in January 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasized the importance of creating partnerships to promote development and opportunity for young people within the region.   

“The U.S. Department of State, through the Middle East Partnership Initiative, is pleased to support the Entrepreneurship Proposal Development Grants as a means to facilitate partnerships between U.S. community colleges and technical and vocational institutions within the BMENA region. Entrepreneurship is key to improving economic conditions and expanding job creation and social change. MEPI is committed to finding new ways to unlock innovation, spur private sector development, and create new employment opportunities for the region’s young population,” said Alice Blayne-Allard, coordinator for the G8-BMENA Initiative.

Facing acute youth unemployment, increasing poverty, and underemployment of semi-skilled and skilled workers, there is a need to expand job opportunities to keep pace with rapidly expanding populations and to ensure regional prosperity and stability. Community colleges and vocational institutions in the United States have programs and centers that are actively linked to industry, corporations, and local businesses; and graduates of community colleges are often more quickly employed due to their relevant studies and links to business.
“Partnering U.S. community colleges with technical and vocational institutions in the BMENA region will provide a valuable model of successful workforce and entrepreneurship development,” said Tully Cornick, Ph.D., executive director of HED. “HED is pleased to support an initiative that will improve the capacity of the BMENA institutions to contribute to national economic growth by preparing graduates to start their own small businesses, create new jobs, and fill positions in growth sectors.”   

The partnership proposals developed through these six-month planning grants will be submitted to HED at the conclusion of the grant period. HED will, through a peer review process, evaluate the proposals and rank them for consideration for implementation funding by USAID.

Higher Education for Development (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

Through a Leader-with-Associates Cooperative Agreement, signed in September 2005 USAID’s Bureau for Economic Growth, Agriculture and Trade, Office of Education (EGAT/ED) provides support to Higher Education for Development. These partnerships are funded by the U.S. State Department’s Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) through the Leader Agreement and is supported by the U.S. Department of Education.

The American people, through the USAID, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years. For more information on USAID, visit