Webinar: "Forging a Future: Better Skills, Better Economy, and Better Pathways for El Salvador’s Youth: Analysis and Best Practices of the USAID Higher Education for Economic Growth (HEA) Activity"

The USAID Higher Education for Economic Growth Activity (HEA) (2014-2019) in El Salvador is a highly effective example of a multi-faceted effort to catalyze economic growth by aligning the needs of the private sector with those of universities and youth, supported by enabling government policies. By analyzing the project’s successes and challenges, we can learn about promising practices that can be applied to higher education and youth workforce development programming across different regions of the world. In countries where trust is low, institutions are weak, and where citizens have experienced a history of violence and exploitation, building trust, institutional capacity and supporting dialogue among adversarial stakeholder groups provides a solid foundation for sustained economic development. USAID HEA demonstrates the value of building “social infrastructure” and social capital as a foundation for sustainable university-industry partnerships.  Project success is strongly linked to communication and cooperation on tangible and practical win-win-win solution packages for business, government, education and youth and their parents.  While it may be tempting to rush in with a quick set of technical fixes such as improved curriculum or better teacher training, addressing each of these separately without building the social infrastructure among the stakeholders will have limited impact and often fail. 

Event Objectives

  • Provide an overview of the USAID Higher Education for Economic Growth Activity (HEA) and its innovative design
  • Explore the ways in which program stakeholder groups - business, universities, government, and youth - are benefitting from the program
  • Better understand how such a program affects youth and their employment aspiration
  • Share successes and lessons learned


  • Ami Thakkar, RTI Project Manager
  • Reina de Alvarado, RTI COP
  • Sandra Duarte, USAID COR
  • Gracia Rossi, Digital Transformation Leader and Director, Microsoft Central American Region, and leader of the ICT Industry Advisory Board for the Project
  • Mario Rafael Olmos Argueta, President, University Don Bosco 


  • Monika Aring, FHI 360 Technical Advisor

Proposed Schedule/Event Plan

  • 3:00 – 3:05 Welcome & Introductions
  • 3:05 – 3:20 HEA Project Design & Intentions of the project (USAID COR, Sandra Duarte and RTI Project Manager, Ami Thakkar)
  • 3:20 - 3:25 Role of the Industry Advisory Boards and ICT Board/Sector. What Industry needs & how it is benefiting? (examples include use of applied research, better curricula and a deeper understanding of how universities work (Digital Transformation Leader and Director at Microsoft, Gracia Rossi)
  • 3:25-3:30 How have universities improved & how are they are benefiting from this project? (University of Don Bosco President, Dr. Mario Olmos)
  • 3:30 – 3:40 Lessons Learned from USAID (USAID COR, Sandra Duarte)
  • 3:40- 3:45 Project Results and Plans for Sustainability (HEA Project COP, Reina de Alvarado)
  • 3:45 – 3:58 Q&A (Facilitated by FHI 360 Technical Advisor, Monika Aring)
  • 3:58 – 4:00 Closing Remarks (FHI 360 Technical Advisor, Monika Aring)



September 17, 2018 at 3pm - 4pm
Elebthel Gebrehiwot ·
Katherine Pavelich Evelyn Torres jeffrey matu Margaret Hendrickson maria Gomez Laura Dominguez

Who's RSVPing

Katherine Pavelich
Evelyn Torres
jeffrey matu
Margaret Hendrickson
maria Gomez
Laura Dominguez

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