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Tomorrow’s Leaders College-to-Work Pipeline Program Launches at AUC

March 14, 2022

Fifteen current Tomorrow’s Leaders students joined the newly launched College-to-Work Pipeline (TLP) program this spring, becoming the first TLP cohort at AUC. 

Giving students the opportunity to launch their dream startup or get hands-on experience with industry leaders, TLP aims to bridge the skill gaps between the college to work pipeline, enabling undergraduate and graduate students to find meaningful employment and leadership opportunities in their areas of interest or launch their own startups upon graduation to become future employers. It is a joint effort between the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs Assistance Coordination and the American University of Beirut, Lebanese American University, Georgia Tech and AUC.

“The TLP program offers Tomorrow’s Leaders students a unique opportunity to either work on a startup idea or on a real-life hands-on project,” explained Ahmed Tolba ’97, ’01, associate professor of marketing, chair of the management department and academic director of TLP at AUC.

Partnering with the public and private sectors as well as nongovernmental organizations, the program offers Tomorrow’s Leaders students relevant, on-the-job training experience and entrepreneurial opportunities attuned to market demands. TLP seeks to incentivize employers to increase employment opportunities and preparedness for youth leadership in the MENA region.

“I am very excited about this opportunity and confident it will be an enriching and valuable experience for students,” Tolba said.

Under TLP, AUC has adopted two of Georgia Tech’s programs for students to take part in. The first is the Create-X course, which will instill entrepreneurial confidence in students and empower them to launch successful startups. According to Tolba, three TL students this semester will be guided by experienced faculty and industry experts to turn an idea into an entrepreneurial venture.

Create-X is implemented under the AUC course Entrepreneurial Lab: Developing and Launching a New Venture. Industry partners for Create-X so far include Wataneya for the Development of Orphanages and the AUC Venture Lab.

The other program, Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP), is a transformative approach to enhancing higher education by engaging undergraduate and graduate students in ambitious long-term and large-scale projects. Three TLP students will join industry partners, as well as other students from different disciplines, to tackle three real-life projects under the supervision of experienced faculty members. 

Industry partners for this semester include UNDP Accelerator Lab, Fusion Solutions, UNICEF Egypt and a local design studio, with the projects varying from developing a video game and creating an e-platform to raising awareness of nutrition and preserving the biodiversity of tourist areas. 

“I joined the gaming for impact project because I want to utilize all my capabilities (management, computer science and graphic design) to truly experience what multidisciplinary means. It will help me accelerate my learning process and push forward my career.” said Youssef Anwar, a TLP student majoring in management of information and communication technology.

Ola Dayeh, a TLP student completing her master’s in migration and refugee studies who is working on a UNDP-affiliated VIP project, echoed this sentiment: “I am thrilled to have this opportunity of working with a team and to be supported by a faculty member and development professionals.”

Most projects will be complete by the end of the semester, while some that require more time will continue through the summer. Sulaf Taha, TL senior director, is eager to see the results of both programs.

“We hope that this pilot project can demonstrate the success of hands-on cocurricular learning in enhancing students’ employability and ability to succeed in the changing dynamic labor market,” she said.