Over the past three years, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through its Community Support Program (CSP), has supported the Technical Vocational and Education Training (TVET) sector and raised awareness on employment opportunities that TVET offers. This support builds on a survey conducted by CSP on public perceptions of the TVET sector in Lebanon under its $7.3 million Workforce Development (WFD) program. The survey indicated that despite progress in the sector, a major barrier continues to be the lack of awareness among Lebanese youth and their parents on the improvements made by USAID and other entities to the TVET sector, and the negative perception of TVET as a second-tier education system.
For this purpose, USAID has actively worked since 2019, to strengthen this sector and improve perceptions through a range of initiatives. USAID’s CSP is developing adapted, market-needs based curricula for vocational courses in three sectors with growing employment opportunities: home-based health care, industrial repair and maintenance, and information & communication technology (ICT). The courses are currently available across CSP’s thirteen partner TVET institutes to improve labor skills and employment opportunities for Lebanese residents. CSP is also providing scholarships to job seekers aspiring to work in these sectors, partnering with private sector businesses to create linkages with partner TVET institutes, and facilitating graduates’ access to employment opportunities. Further to full tuition coverage, scholarship recipients receive health insurance, a monthly stipend covering transportation fees, and a computer or tablet to facilitate online learning. The scholarship also includes placing graduates in a two-month internship at one of the program’s 48 private sector business partners.
USAID CSP’s efforts towards facilitating an enabling environment for TVET in Lebanon are being complemented by multiple other stakeholders such as donors, TVET institutes, the private sector, local authority and other implementers, who are coordinating and collaborating to develop a national reform action plan for the TVET sector. By 2023, USAID’s CSP aims to improve the skills of and career opportunities for at least 1,000 Lebanese residents and change perception about the sector.