Home to nearly 10 million people, Jordan’s rapidly growing population is disproportionately young, with over 60% of the population under the age of 30. With nearly 40% of 15-19 year olds and 35% of 20-24 year olds unemployed, youth unemployment remains one of the most significant challenges facing Jordan. Meanwhile, employers in the service industry struggle to identify and retain employees with requisite knowledge and skill sets. It is estimated that 660,000 new jobs will be needed by 2025 in order to meet Jordan’s 8% unemployment rate goal. Without work prospects or employable skills, youths’ social, economic, and political participation is limited.
In 2016, USAID and the Americana Group partnered in developing the Global Development Alliance initiative titled Youth With Potential. Responsive to market needs, the initiative’s enterprise-driven development model aims to provide 2,000 youth with vocational and on-site training opportunities in the service industry that lead to long-term employment. USAID aims to foster a spirit of self-sufficiency and resilience among youth, in order to ensure the inclusive development and economic stability of Jordan.
The Youth with Potential Initiative provides 2,000 underprivileged youth from throughout Jordan with long-term employment, continued access to professional development, and prospective upward mobility. Marrying theoretical knowledge with practical skills training, in both the classroom and on-the-job, trainees quickly gain a comprehensive knowledge of the service industry and are prepared to work at any of the Americana Group restaurants. Youth are placed at either TGI Friday’s, Costa Coffee, Hardees, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken or Americana Commissary Center, nearby their residence and are mentored by their managers. In addition to station rotations, youth continue to learn through Americana’s online learning platform. Due to the unique partnership, Americana Group has witnessed great achievements in staff retention and reduced turnover. The Youth With Potential Initiative has not only provided Jordanian youth with skills and employment, but it has reinvigorated hope, sense of belonging, and accountability to community.
»Provide training opportunities for 2,000 youth
»Work with the Vocational Training Corporation to develop a curriculum, provide training and certification
»Offer permanent, full-time positions within Americana Jordan’s restaurants for program graduates
»Build the capacity of Jordanian youth and empower women to join the Quick Service Restaurant sector
»Increase the number of women in the field by 20 percent
»Equip youth to cope with the demands of the employment market and link vocational training with job placement to meet the needs of the labor market
1307 trainees joined the initiative as of Jan 2019, they successfully finished the initial theoretical training with the vocational training corporation, 1183 youth moved to on-job-training in one of Americana’s restaurants to apply their knowledge and skills while earning an income and elevating their lives.
Over the course of three years, Americana Jordan aims to steadily build up the rate of female participation in the Youth with Potential initiative, with the goal of reaching 20% female participation by the end of the three-year period.
The number of females participated in the project is 270 out of 1183 as of Jan 2019, with a percentage of 22.8% of the total number of participants.
A bookworm and car aficionado, 19-year old Sami is fascinated by hybrid cars and mechanical engineering. Without a secondary high school diploma, Sami has been given a “second chance” in life to gain employment skills while attending college. The most thing he loved is that the program educates new employees who don’t have previous work experience.
It enlightens the employees about the work environment and prepares them for the job. In the future, Sami will apply the skills and procedures he’s learned to the automobile industry and pursue his true passion. Sami has been promoted to crew trainer and currently he is attending the supervision training course at Americana, after completing the training course he supposed to attend the exam, if he passes the exam he will be promoted to be a supervisor.
Dana, a 20-year old from Yajouz, dreamed of being a nurse yet struggled to pass her high school examinations. After receiving training and employment through USAID’s Youth with Potential Initiative, Dana’s gained new confidence, alongside mentorship and a sense of community. The recognition she has earned through her hard work, including a promotion, has also revitalized her hope of pursuing a university degree to become a nurse. Dana explained that the restaurant manager also helped her a lot when she would need a day off for exams.
Dana passed the high school examinations, and currently she is working at the restaurant and continuing her study at the university in the field she always dreamed of, In January 2018, Dana has been promoted to crew trainer and currently she is attending the supervision training course at Americana and after completing the training course she supposed to attend the exam, if she passes the exam she will be promoted to be a supervisor.
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