AUC launches employability and career development center at Suez Canal University
The American University in Cairo (AUC) launched recently the Employability and Career Development Center (ECDC) at Suez Canal University (SCU) in the governorate of Ismailia. Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the implementation of AUC, the ECDC aims to develop a generation of career educated graduates who possess the right skills for today’s job market, and bridge the current gap between education and employment needs.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by Lisa Franchett, director of Education and Training Office at USAID Egypt; Lisa Anderson, AUC president; Mohamed A. Mohamadein, president of Suez Canal University, in addition to Kamal Sharobim, SCU vice president of community service and environmental development; Mamdouh Ghourab, SCU vice president for graduate studies and research; Mahmoud Abdel Mohsen, SCU vice president for education and student affairs; Mary Ishak, agreement officer's representative of the ECDC Program at USAID; Amr Shaarawi, AUC provost; Amr Salama, AUC counselor and Maha Guindi, executive director of AUC’s Career Center.
“AUC is proud to be partnering with Suez Canal University to bring their smart, talented and ambitious students the kinds of skills that permit them to enter the labor market with confidence and find suitable jobs,” said Anderson. “This is a benefit not only for the individual students, but for their families, their employers, and the Egyptian society as a whole. We are grateful for the support and funding of USAID for this project and for the enthusiasm of our partners at SCU.”
Franchett believes that these centers are envisioned to play an active role in the future of the new Egypt. “They will develop a new generation of graduates who are not only educated to perform technically in their fields, but are also educated to be professionals with the right skills required by today’s job market.”
A Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics report revealed that unemployment rates have reached an all-time high of 13 percent in the last quarter of 2012, up from 8.9 percent on the eve of the revolt. With an increasingly competitive job market and dwindling employment opportunities, the importance of equipping graduates with pertinent employability skills becomes more apparent than ever.
To address this issue, AUC’s Career Center is launching four employability and career-development centers (ECDCs) across three Egyptian universities. Over the span of three years, AUC’s Career Center will be utilizing funds and space at Ain Shams, Suez Canal and Assiut universities to establish employability and career-development centers. AUC’s Career Center professionals, who are licensed from the National Career Development Association in the United States, will work closely with these institutions to furnish the ECDCs, as well as recruit, train and certify career-development facilitators. They will also build ECDC staff capacity by offering on-the-job training on how to run a career center, organize employment events and fairs, as well as create and coordinate career and employment activities.
With the establishment of the first ECDC in Assiut University last March, more than 200 students who are in their pre-final years have received services ranging from workshops to one-on-one consultation sessions. A wide range of topics were covered in the sessions, including leadership, teamwork, interview preparation, as well as résumé critique and writing. Additionally, the center offers basic courses in English and computers.
The ECDC inaugurated at Suez Canal University is the second in the project and the first in the governorate of Ismailia. To date, more than 200 students at Suez Canal University have completed employability skills training. “Establishing a career center in Ismailia is a critical step,” said Shaymaa Adel, director of the Suez Canal University ECDC. “The highest national unemployment rate is found here, and this reinforces the need for pioneering tools that help graduates secure a place in the job market.”
In the future, two additional ECDCs will be inaugurated at Ain Shams University, where training will also be offered in specific technical tracks, with one of the career centers being established with the sole purpose of servicing engineering students at Ain Shams University. Students chosen for this initiative should be in their junior or senior years, possess a high GPA and fit a set of employability criteria.
American University of Cairo
Founded in 1919, AUC is a leading English-language, American-accredited institution of higher education and center of intellectual, social and cultural life of the Arab world. Its community of students, parents, faculty and staff, trustees, alumni and other generous sponsors represent more than 60 countries. The University stands as a crossroads for the world’s cultures and a vibrant forum for reasoned argument, spirited debate and understanding across the diversity of languages, facilities and human experiences.