AUC Launches First Career Centers at Minia, Beni Suef Universities
Extending its career guidance services across Egypt, AUC launched this week the first two out of 20 University Centers for Career Development at Minia and Beni Suef universities.
The centers in Upper Egyptian universities mark the first of 20 sustainable UCCDs in 12 public universities in Upper Egypt, Delta and Greater Cairo, benefiting roughly 1 million students — more than 70 percent —at a total cost of $20 million — a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by AUC.
At the inauguration, President Francis J. Ricciardone highlighted how UCCDs playing a significant role in the Egyptian community on a wider scale. "I am so pleased that today The American University in Cairo is launching our newest, important collaboration with the Egyptian national university system," he said, thanking the Ministry of Higher Education for facilitating this program. "We thank the people of the United States of America for their very generous grant provided through USAID.”
Maha Guindi, executive director of AUC’s Career Center and principal investigator of UCCDs, asserted that all parties involved are looking forward to seeing the larger impact of the centers in Minia and Beni Suef. "It was very encouraging to listen to the opening remarks of the governors of Minia and Beni Suef, and the presidents of Minia and Beni-Suef universities at the inauguration of their University Centers for Career Development (UCCDs) and hear about their ambitious visions for development," she stated. "They assured that the role that these centers will play in equipping the university students with the required employability and entrepreneurial skills will not only meet the industries’ growing need for qualified job candidates, but will also help the students contribute to the economic development of their respective governments and country at large."
The centers help students pursue their professional choices and facilitate their transition from university to the labor market. UCCDs will offer a comprehensive package of guidance and training in the areas of professional management, employability skills, technical training and entrepreneurship.
"The impact of this project will go beyond helping the students,” said Sherry F. Carlin, director of USAID Egypt Mission. [It] will also have a positive impact on linking universities to the labor market, reducing unemployment rates among graduates and impacting the Egyptian economy in general.”
President Ricciardone highlighted how the new UCCDs will serve as a bridge among the employers of this region, the university and its students. “This will enable them to better understand and meet each other's needs, as employers seeking talented employees and as future graduates seeking promising jobs," he affirmed. "As we celebrate our AUC centennial with the coming academic year, this University Centers for Career Development project stands as a proud example of AUC's continuing dedication to serve the people of Egypt.”
In cooperation with the public universities and private sector training partners, the centers will offer comprehensive and engaging training in career management, employability skills, and entrepreneurship to university students. “This center is an important addition to [the] prominent Minia University and provides an important service for its students to better qualify them for the labor market and provide them with employability skills through training courses, career guidance and researching labor market needs to raise competitiveness,” said Gamal El Din Aboul Magd, president of Minia University. "It will have a positive impact on the business sector and industry in Minia governorate as a whole.”
Mansour Hassan, president of Beni Suef University, proposed that the UCCD services should be extended to cover students at other universities in Beni Suef. “This center is considered an advanced and unique initiative to connect the university, its students and graduates to the labor market in an exceptional way and strengthens the role of the university in advancing the economy and the country, particularly in Beni Suef.”
Guindi noted that the next steps include "training staff to become professional career service providers," in addition to students receiving training programs, such as English courses, project management and entrepreneurship and technical tracks. Above all, she emphasized, the highlight of the openings was seeing the first signs of success through students attending the first employability skills training rounds. "Students are already highly engaged in the training and eager to learn," she said. "They commented on how the training is contributing to their self-understanding, communication skills and personal development."