Unlocking the door to employment opportunities

Volunteer, Haya, directs  children during a football match

As we've been discussing a lot recently, youth unemployment remains a tremendous worldwide concern. The Center for Strategic and International Studies recently reported in follow-up to the release of an International Labor Organization study on Global Youth Unemployment trends, 40% of the world youth a unemployed. Though there are many negative social and economic concerns stemming from this issue, one of the main areas of interest for us at TYO is how underemployment and unemployment effects skills stagnation.

Tomorrow’s Youth Organization tries to help the youth in Nablus to be prepared for jobs by developing their skills. According to the Palestinian Center Bureau for Statistics, 55% of people in the West Bank are unemployed. This high unemployment rate is a serious issue that impacts the country’s economics, and it wastes the capacity. For those fortunate enough to find work, the average wage in the West Bank equates to roughly $25 per day. Such low wages limit options for young people as it gives them little opportunity to invest in themselves, or search for work elsewhere. Such restrictions cause a lot of physical and emotional health problems, which negatively affects both the country as well as the community.

Decreasing the unemployment rate amongst recent graduates can be achieved by increasing productivity from a healthy, well-educated and trained young labor force.  The Youth Service Learning Program at TYO helps to increase the undergraduates and graduates students’ skills to be able to get to jobs and find study and scholarship opportunities abroad. TYO helps the youth to develop the essential professional skills such as leadership, commitment, time management, and communication skills. The volunteers go through an intensive training process about the importance of voluntary work to develop their professional experience to get an opportunity.

The volunteers at TYO are required to commit to the Youth Service Learning program for ten or twelve week programs. During that time they receive feedback on their performance and through the support of the teaching staff and Volunteer Coordinator they are able to hone in on their own strengths and weaknesses. Also, they have access to trainings on the professional skills they should develop. For example, TYO’s interns give English Professional Classes at An-Najah University to the students to empower them more on how to write the CV in English, make job interviews, and develop the public speaking and presentation skills. And there will be a training for the volunteers at TYO to develop the skills they lack the most after a need study and observing the volunteers in the classrooms. Hence, TYO tries to cover the challenges in the school- to- work transition.

Though change won't happen overnight, TYO is hopeful that through rigorous support and encouragement of the youth in Nablus, real economic change will be possible as TYO helps to unlock the door to employment opportunities.

-Ruba Hafayda, Volunteer Coordinator

This program - as part of Student Training and Employment Program (STEP!) - is sponsored in part by the Abdul Hamid Shoman Foundation.