“When employers are looking for graduates—they know the [UNRWA] students have been really hands on and enjoy working in the lab, and they are working on the latest equipment all the time.”Nevine ElKadi, manager of Cisco learning and development, Middle East
Four generations of Palestinian refugees have received support from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) since 1950. To foster independence, UNRWA and Cisco Networking Academy launched a partnership to prepare Palestinian youth for technology careers. A 96% hire rate in Jordan is proof of their success.
Palestinian refugees who receive UNRWA support often lack the education and skills to apply for jobs that lead to stable careers and advancement out of poverty.
As the IT sector grew in the UNRWA’s hosting countries and the Arabian Gulf Region, UNRWA saw an opportunity to prepare youth, particularly women, for entry-level IT positions.
In 2001, the first Cisco Networking Academy opened at Wadi Seer Training Center in Jordan to test the possibility of a vocational IT program for refugees. By 2014, the program had expanded to nine UNRWA vocational training centers, with an internship and advanced courses in security and wireless technology.
The rigorous 2-year program prepares students for networking and IT-related careers and higher education in engineering, computer science, and related fields.
Graduates of the UNRWA program have earned an excellent reputation with hiring companies throughout the region. Potential employers value the hands-on work students gain from using the latest equipment in the up-to-date UNRWA labs.
UNRWA operates 150 secondary schools for Palestinian refugees and is piloting a summer camp program to extend IT training to younger students.