Algerian Ministry of Higher Education Recognizes New Career Center
William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan + University of Mentouri-Constantine
Confronted with a high unemployment rate and a struggling economy, many college students in Algeria face bleak prospects upon graduation. However, unlike many of his peers, Boutadjine Bilel graduated from the University of Mentouri – Constantine (UMC), Algeria with his dream job as an engineer for KIS Company in Constantine – an industrial company in the petroleum sector. Thanks to a new Career Center at UMC, Bilel is one of just hundreds of students that have secured both internships and full-time jobs in Constantine.
“Our rapid needs assessment indicated that the jobs were there but that Mentouri graduates were simply not well equipped to seek them out. Furthermore, graduates didn’t know how to write a proper resume or have interviewing skills” said Khalid Al-Naif, Director of WDI development consulting services. As part of his work with the Career Center, Bilel participated in trainings that helped him become a better public speaker and understand what local employers look for in new employees. Bilel also learned how to present himself favorably to businesses and to network effectively with employers. He eventually developed a personal career plan and job search strategy that led to the engineering job he has today.
“The Career Center is serving as an engine of change in the way employers approach hiring, the way students prepare for the workplace, and the new relationship between university and employer.” — Lakhdar Boukerrou, WDI
The Career Center at UMC was created by the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan through the RESUME project. The RESUME project is a USAID-funded and HED-managed partnership designed to enhance business management and English curricula and establish a Career Center at UMC. The Career Center is working to reinforce the links between UMC faculty and local employers and the local community to improve the employability of UMC students and help them find jobs. Now only in its second year, the Career Center and the services it offers have helped over 4,000 UMC students prepare for employment. In fact, the Career Center has been so successful that officials at the highest levels of Algerian government have taken notice. The Algerian Ministry of Higher Education plans to establish 18 new career centers throughout Algeria based on the UMC model. The Career Center has also hosted delegations from universities in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco who are interested in replicating its success at their home institutions to bring invaluable career placement and training services to students across the region.
Lakhdar Boukerrou, a development consultant for WDI supports the expansion of this program. “The Career Center is serving as an engine of change in the way employers approach hiring, the way students prepare for the workplace, and the new relationship between university and employer.”