POWERING THE FUTURE: USAID Celebrated Youth Innovation through Partnerships and Hands-On Learning in Asia



BANGKOK – On January 16, 2018, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the opening of the MekongSkills2Work (MS2W) Network 2nd Leadership Summit, welcoming representatives from youth, higher education, government officials, and private sector partners such as Cisco and Intel, to celebrate best practices to prepare young people for the 21st century workforce. The following 11 Mekong Learning Centers (MLCs) across the Lower Mekong sub-region (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam) shared how to “power the future” during the two day summit:

- Hanoi University of Science and Technology (Vietnam)

- Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and Education (Vietnam)

- Hue Industrial College (Vietnam)

- Institute of Technology of Cambodia (Cambodia)

- Mahidol University (Thailand)

- Maptaphut Technical College (Thailand)

- National University of Laos (Laos)

- University of Danang (Vietnam)

- University of Danang - University of Economics (Vietnam)

- University of South-East Asia (Cambodia)

- University of Technology, Yatanarpon Cyber City (Myanmar)

Assoc. Prof. Vo Trung Hung – Director of Research and Development Department, The University of Danang (UD) and Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Thanh Binh – Dean of IT Faculty, University of Science and Technology, UD participated in the press release in Bangkok

The attendees from The University of Danang (UD) were Assoc. Prof. Vo Trung Hung – Director of Research and Development Department, The University of Danang (UD) and Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Thanh Binh – Dean of IT Faculty, University of Science and Technology, UD.

At the summit, Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Thanh Binh shared that in order to increase job opportunities for UD students, UD has been attaching special importance to develop the cooperation relationship between university and enterprises. Every year, UD invites a lot of experts from various enterprises in Danang to teach at UD as well as send students to do internships at enterprises. Therefore, after graduation, UD students will have enough knowledge, skills and techniques to adapt requirements of each enterprise.

Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Thanh Binh – Dean of IT Faculty, University of Science and Technology, UD delivered the speech

According to a recent labor market assessment, 60% of jobs in Thailand and Vietnam are at risk of being replaced by automation in the near future. Innovation and creativity will be the main drivers of the 21st century global economic growth; hence education and training institutions, businesses, and youth must find new ways to take up the challenge.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is the fourth largest goods and export market for the US, with trade and investment supporting more than 500,000 American jobs. The region is primed for opportunities for economic growth, but youth, especially in the Lower Mekong sub-region, must be equipped with the right skills for the changing workplace to take advantage of this shared prosperity.

Education and training institutions are key components in inspiring youth to become lifelong innovators. In order to ensure sustainability of this approach, the MS2W Network offers professional development programs for instructors (online and face-to-face) to become master trainers on topics such as work-based learning, project-oriented learning, and designing innovation challenges.

The next phase of the MS2W Network will focus on empowering MLCs and partners to continue to “power the future”, to institutionalize, scale-up, and sustain efforts to improve the workforce in the sub-region.

The MekongSkills2Work Network is part of the USAID Connecting the Mekong through Education and Training (USAID COMET) project. USAID COMET is a workforce development program that equips youth with market-driven skills, promotes gender-balanced employment in key sectors, and increases technology-based learning in classrooms.

Detailed information about the MekongSkills2Work Network is available at www.MekongSkills2Work.org.

All participants of the press release in Bangkok

Formerly, on December 04 and 05, 2017, the delegation of  the project USAID COMET included Mr. Khemratch Amornwatpong, Partnerships Managerand Ms. Abhilawan Otwong, M&E Officer and HueIC Focal Pointwho visited and worked with UD, University of Economics - UD and College of Information Technology – UD.

This working session aimed to evaluate and summarize the project implementation process in phase 1, to review the advantages and challenges as well as to discuss a plan for the forthcoming period. During the last period, MekongSkills2Work's tool kit (MS2W) and USAID COMET Toolkit had been introduced and applied at some UD member universities to help students accumulate more necessary skills such as teamwork skills, information seeking skills, and collaborative skills in working.

After the meeting with UD, the delegation visited Maker Innovation Space – UD  and Axon Active Vietnam Company in Danang - one of the typical examples of UD’s success in cooperation between universities and enterprises.