September 23, 2022, Tashkent, Uzbekistan – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), along with the Ministry of Public Education, officially launched the five-year, $10 million Uzbekistan Youth Employment Skills (YES) activity. The activity will increase youth workforce readiness and employability by equipping young people in grades 8-11 with the necessary skills to enter Uzbekistan’s economy as competent employees or entrepreneurs. The activity will include school-based and after-school programs, and will focus on empowering young women and youth with disabilities, groups which remain underserved and underrepresented in Uzbekistan’s economy.
Emphasizing the importance of youth workforce development, the U.S. Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires Paul Poletes stated, “The U.S. government is proud to partner with the Ministry of Public Education in its efforts to empower youth to take charge of their career paths and to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need to successfully contribute to Uzbekistan’s social and economic development.” USAID Mission Director Mikaela Meredith added, “The YES activity has a special focus on empowering girls and youth with disabilities. We know that females and youth with disabilities are severely underrepresented in employment and therefore remain an underserved and untapped resource for Uzbekistan.”
USAID will develop and improve entrepreneurship and economics curricula and teaching practices by prioritizing practical, hands-on learning. The activity will include regular collaboration with the private sector to ensure that the knowledge and skills youth will acquire are relevant to Uzbekistan’s labor market. USAID will also provide hands-on training opportunities including internships, mentoring, and job shadowing. The activity will be implemented by American
Councils for International Education, along with a consortium of local and international partners.
The launch event was attended by diverse stakeholders including government officials, private sector representatives, international organizations, local non-governmental organizations, and various beneficiaries of the activity. A highpoint of the ceremony was two young Uzbekistani entrepreneurs, Mr. Dilmurad Yusupov and Ms. Malika Sharipova, who shared their personal experiences overcoming obstacles and becoming successful entrepreneurs. Both of the young business leaders spoke about the YES activity’s potential to help Uzbekistan’s youth succeed in the labor market and grow the economy as entrepreneurs.