AUC and USAID Launch the First Virtual Career Fair For Egyptian Universities

The American University in Cairo (AUC) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) launched today the first Virtual Career Fair for Egyptian Universities UCCD 2020. The event was attended by the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, AUC President Francis Ricciardone, AUC Counselor Ashraf Hatem, USAID Egypt Mission Director Leslie Reed, and presidents of ten Egyptian public universities.

The UCCD 2020 Career Fair hosted 45 corporate participants who shared job and internship opportunities with around 4000 university students. The main partner of the fair is the National Bank of Egypt. The fair is hosted by the University Centers for Career Development (UCCD), a USAID funded project implemented by AUC, jointly with ten Egyptian Public Universities: Alexandria, Ain Shams, Aswan, Beni-Suef, Mansoura, Menoufia, Minia, Sadat City, Sohag, and Zagazig. 

Abdel Ghaffar said: "A university degree alone is no longer sufficient, and the labor market gives priority to those equipped with skills and competencies. Accordingly, organizing the virtual career fair is a great opportunity to sharpen the skills of Egyptian university students and qualify them to compete in the market after graduation, especially in new sectors and specializations." The minister added: "The University Centers for Career Development implemented by AUC play an important role in helping students develop their skills, familiarize them with the labor market requirements, train them to meet such requirements and raise the standards. There are now 15 UCCDs in ten universities, reaching large segments of students and providing services that help maximize abilities and skills." Abdel Ghaffar added that such events are valuable opportunities that provide the business sector with the best calibers that can compete in the labor market, and create a link between the education sector and the different industries.

At the opening ceremony, Reed said: "All along, USAID's Career Centers have introduced innovations and a new model that bridges higher education and employment in Egypt's dynamic economy. Training in the skills demanded by employers, proactive outreach such as this career fair, and dialogues between businesses and universities combine to ensure that graduates have the skills they need for employment, and that they can put those skills to work. The Career Centers are the ultimate win-win for students seeking job opportunities and private sector companies looking to hire Egypt's best and brightest."

Ricciardone said: "The UCCD 2020 Virtual Fair, held under the auspices of Minister Khaled Abdel Ghaffar, has a great significance as it displays the importance of successful collaboration towards finding productive solutions during challenging times. Today, we are also honored by the presence of the presidents of ten of Egypt's great national universities, which, with AUC, have established their own University Centers for Career Development. We thank them for joining AUC in making this first virtual UCCD Fair possible with our other valued partners: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the generous sponsors, and 45 employers from various industries that share career opportunities with thousands of students. We wish both the students and partner employers great success in connecting with each other for their mutual benefit and the benefit of Egypt."

Hatem said at the virtual opening ceremony: "We are witnessing today a new era with this public university collaborative UCCD 2020 Virtual Fair, which is hosting ten public universities from nine governorates and over 4000 students. This virtual event is a demonstration of how innovation and technology can provide answers to unprecedented challenges, transcending geographical boundaries and social distancing. It is inspiring when universities and the corporate world join efforts, and with the number of job opportunities offered today we are optimistic that those positive indicators are a sign of hope even during these tough times."

National Bank of Egypt (NBE) Chairman Hisham Okasha said: "NBE is proud to be the main partner of the UCCD Virtual Career Fair. Throughout its long history, NBE has supported many initiatives that contribute to areas of sustainable economic development and social responsibility in Egypt. Today, by supporting the public universities Virtual Career Fair, we are enhancing a new virtual job search experience for thousands of university students to help them become productive citizens in the society. We look forward to hiring our future NBE talents at the event."

The UCCD 2020 Virtual Career Fair is an online event that uses a dynamic platform that mimics the feel of a physical event in which employers and university students meet in a virtual environment, using chat rooms, teleconferencing, webcasts, webinars, or email to exchange information about career openings. Job seekers, final year students, and recent graduates upload their resumes, browse companies' "booths", have live chats with corporate representatives, download corporate material, and attend webinars. 

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