Jordan—Workforce Development (WFD) Project

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2014-2018

Region: Middle East and North Africa

Country: Jordan

Solutions: Economic Growth

In 2014, the Government of Jordan responded to the King’s call for a 10-year economic blueprint for meeting a set of challenging objectives. Key among the objectives was “to enhance policies related to human resources, link education policies to labor market demands, focus on building a labor force through vocational training, especially youth, so that they gradually replace guest labor, and encourage women to join the labor market.”

The Jordan Workforce Development Project directly addressed this objective. WFD worked to create a competitive, demand-driven workforce development system that leads to increased private sector employment, especially for women, youth, and those living at or below the poverty line.

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Sample Activities

  • Pilot vocational training centers as “innovation hubs” for local communities.
  • Develop improved and new certification/accreditation of targeted technical and vocational professions.
  • Increase the number of public-private partnerships for job placement.
  • Implement a career guidance system for vocational education students.
  • Work with employers and business associations to implement alternative arrangements to facilitate more women being able to work, such as flex hours and part-time hours.

Select Results

  • Placed 5,100 Jordanians and Syrians in new jobs in the food production, clean energy, and garment sectors.
  • Completed more than 96,000 person-hours of vocational training.
  • Established Employment Promotion Units (EPUs) with the Zarqa and Irbid Chambers of Industry and Eastern Amman Investors Industrial Association; the EPUs registered more than 15,000 job seekers and 5,200 job vacancies.
  • Exceeded the cost-share target for the life of the project by more than $900,000; in all, $2.1 million in cost-share contributions were made by grantees, private sector partners, and others.
  • Developed national occupational standards for career guidance counselors; established career guidance offices in six vocational training institutes; trained 40 career guidance counselors, and produced films highlighting career paths for heating, ventilation and air-conditioning; die cutting; and electrical maintenance technicians.
  • Submitted policy papers to Jordan’s cabinet, including to address flexible working hours needed for women, which was endorsed by a Royal Decree, and to incentivize employers to hire Jordanians in labor-intensive occupations.
  • Submitted minimum-wage policy brief to the Ministry of Labor that provided guidelines for compensating entry-level workers with the goal of avoiding potential exploitation in the labor market.
  • Delivered the #PledgeForParity and “Blue Week” campaigns to advocate for blue collar jobs via social media platforms. WFD had 24,570 likes on its Facebook page.
  • Awarded $1.4 million in grants to eight organizations for projects in East Amman, Irbid, Zarqa, Ma’an, and Tafileh, including six “challenge grants” to advance innovative solutions to community-specific problems, and two fixed-amount grants to implement sustainability activities at the EPUs.
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