In this webinar, we will discuss how Artificial Intelligence (AI) platforms can facilitate the scaling up of youth employment in MENA through AI-powered up-skilling and mentorship targeted at unemployed youth and tech startups. This webinar will highlight a model aim at connecting technology professionals in the United States with youth job seekers to enhance their networking opportunities, expose them to the US market, and assist them in accessing virtual tech jobs remotely. While technology serves as a platform for scaling up and driving jobs in developing countries, it also provides substantial career growth possibilities for the MENA youth in an ever-expanding technology sector either through employment or entrepreneurship endeavors.

This webinar will walk the audience through a case study of a cyber academy in Amman, Jordan, which was established by the Purdue Applied Research Institute (PARI) and has confirmed the starved demand for up-skilling and mentorship by both young job seekers and employers. This case study highlights the critical need for scaling this delivery model, while maintaining its efficacy, and explains how recent innovations in AI algorithms and high-performance computing will enable the necessary technological disruption in this space to suitably satisfy the massive demand.

Finally, the webinar will outline the parameters of the requisite and complementary partnership between academia and the private sector to cost-effectively bring these AI-powered up-skilling/mentorship delivery models to market at scale.

Dr. Jennifer DeBoer

Dr. Jennifer DeBoer is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education and Mechanical Engineering (courtesy) at Purdue University, and holds the position of Director of Practice for Education and Youth at Purdue Applied Research institute – Global Development and Innovation lab (PARI-GDI).

Her research focuses on international education systems, individual and social development, technology use and STEM learning, and educational environments for diverse learners. Her work addresses the complex social, cultural, and economic background factors that facilitate diverse students’ paths through the engineering education system around the world. Most recently, this has meant investigating the different ways in which students engage with MOOCS. She is interested in better understanding how online and blended learning spaces can support individual learners.

Dr. DeBoer obtained her Ph.D. in international education policy studies from Vanderbilt University in 2012 and two bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering and foreign languages from MIT. Before joining the faculty of engineering education at Purdue in 2014, she served as a postdoctoral associate for education research at MIT.

Dr. Hisham Kassab

Hisham Kassab has over fifteen years of experience within high-tech product management, that combines business and technology, with the last five years focused on cloud-native machine learning/AI solutions in the financial services sector (Citi Ventures, Capital One) and the online retail sector (Michaels Stores). Hisham is particularly focused on leveraging cutting edge AI technologies such as Generative AI, Probabilistic AI, and Graph AI to solve real-life business problems. Hisham’s previous professional experience was in the telecommunications sector, both as a strategy consultant and the founder of a startup. Hisham holds a PhD from MIT in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

MODERATOR: Larry Cooley

Larry Cooley is Founder and President Emeritus of Management Systems International and a specialist in managing large system change. He currently serves as Chair of the Governing Council of the Society for International Development and is the author of widely used methodologies for managing policy change, scaling innovation, entrepreneurship development, and results-based management.

Larry is an elected Fellow and Board Member of the U.S. National Academy of Public Administration and a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution; a Trustee of Elma Philanthropies; founder and co-curator of the Global Community of Practice on Scaling Development Outcomes, and Co-Chair of its Working Group on Monitoring and Evaluation.



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