AMIDEAST, Citi Foundation Recognize Youth Participants in Employability and Entrepreneurship Program

AMIDEAST and the Citi Foundation are proud to recognize 72 new youth participants in the Skills for Success®: Employability and Entrepreneurship program, a two-year partnership designed to provide economic opportunities for youth in Lebanon.

Designed and implemented by AMIDEAST, the Skills for Success program served unemployed Lebanese technical and university education graduates aged 20-24 living in four regions of Lebanon: Tripoli and neighboring towns in North Lebanon, Rachaya and Hasbaya in South Lebanon, the Aley region in Mount Lebanon, and the greater Beirut region. The program provided intensive training on personal development, professional skills, workplace experience, and career guidance to enable the young participants to select and successfully follow a path of employability or entrepreneurship. Complementing the total of 275 formal training hours were practical, relevant internships, mentoring, and coaching.

“AMIDEAST is proud to be completing this strategically vital program in partnership with the Citi Foundation to empower the futures of 72 youth in four regions of Lebanon. Their jobs, new businesses, and the skills they have gained will position them for better economic futures,” said Barbara Shahin Batlouni, AMIDEAST/Lebanon Country Director. “Several participants were so successful that they found jobs even before finishing the program’s formal components, and although they will not be at the graduation event, we are enormously proud of their accomplishments.”

To date, 42 youth have secured jobs, 12 are starting businesses, and eight are continuing their higher education—each a symbol of success in their own way. During the graduation event, which took place on February 22, seven entrepreneurship track teams pitched their new businesses from an array of diverse sectors, such as agriculture, jewelry and fashion design, natural food products, cosmetics and essential oils, and academic centers and after-school programs.

In a signature capstone activity for similar AMIDEAST programs across the MENA region, the Skills for Success participants conducted a series of “Pay-It-Forward” workshops for other youth in their communities, broadening the program’s impact by sharing the knowledge and skills they gained as well as helping them build presentation skills and self-confidence.

“We were astounded at the growth our program participants showed as they developed critical business skills and then shared them with other youth in the culminating ‘Pay-It-Forward’ component,” said Country Director Batlouni. “In this phase, our participants provided further skills training to 250 other youth, increasing their awareness about multiple career paths and the skills important for building a better future.”

The program, part of the Citi Foundation’s global Pathways to Progress initiative, focused on efforts to build a new generation of entrepreneurs and work-ready youth by helping them gain skills needed to succeed in the job market, and for those with entrepreneurial potential, to hone their skills and establish their own businesses.

As with other programs in the Citi Foundation’s global Pathways to Progress initiative, Skills for Success focused on developing economic opportunities for youth through activities such as entrepreneurship education, engagement in the formal economy through first jobs, and the acquisition of leadership, financial, and workplace skills. 

“Citi Foundation has a longstanding relationship with AMIDEAST and we are thrilled about this partnership to support Lebanese youth move closer towards their career goals and help them build a sustainable future here in Lebanon,” said Michel Sawaya, Chief Executive Officer, Citi Lebanon.