USF Career Center Hosts Algerian Counterparts

The Algerian team visited USF to learn about career services operations in the United States.



By Barbara Melendez News Writer


TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 13, 2010) – The University of South Florida Career Center’s expertise and experience were shared with a delegation of colleagues from Algeria during an intensive two-week training program and collegial exchange that ended Friday. 


Staff from the University Mentouri Constantine (UMC) Career Center shared insights on career planning, job search coaching, career assessment tools, experiential learning programs, career educational programs, career resources, recruitment services that connect students with employers, recruitment technology and general overall operations of a career center.


The visiting Algerian staff includes UMC Career Center Director Mohamed Salah Boulahlib; assistant director of employer relations Faycal Kahli; career counselors Imene Bakiri and Imene Kahli; and administrative assistant Rym Sebihi. All are new to the field of career development and were hired last November to develop the first career center at a university in Algeria. So far, they have conducted their first job search workshops, career fair and internships. They have come to USF to learn about and observe career services in the United States, as well as share their observations and impression. 


“We’re very pleased to have the opportunity to host the University Mentouri Constantine Career Center staff,” said USF Career Center Director Drema Howard. “It has been an enriching experience for all of our staff and certainly exciting to be involved in a project that is establishing the first career center in Algeria.  I’ve been very impressed with the level of commitment and hard work of the UMC staff.  They have not only become our professional colleagues but our friends.  The staff and I hope this is jus the first step in building a long- term global relationship between our two career centers.”


The visit was made possible by a three-year grant from Higher Education for Development and co-funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Embassy in Algeria, and the University Mentouri Constantine. The grant, under the direction of the William Davidson Institute (WDI) at the University of Michigan, provides funding for the creation and development of a new career center and the enhancement of both the English and business curricula at UMC. The University Mentouri Constantine Career Center was established in November 2009 under the leadership of Lakhdar Boukerrou, senior field coordinator for WDI.


“After working with the University Mentouri Constantine staff for eight months it is great to finally bring them to one of the best universities in Florida and to one of the top career centers. The Algerian colleagues are very excited about this opportunity,” Boukerrou said.


The University Mentouri Constantine, founded in 1968, is Algeria’s second largest university with a current student population of 80,000 and an expected growth of 120,000 by 2012. The university’s career center staff has been charged with introducing and embedding the concept of career services into its campus community, helping students develop employability skills through internships and teaching students effective job search skills that will help them transition successfully from the university to the workplace. The Career Center is also charged with developing partnerships between the university, the career center and the economic community.


“I have found lots of ideas that we can adapt and use when we go back to Algeria,” said Boulahlib. “The training has gone very well. One of my objectives is to reproduce the career center management I’ve observed and some of the services and programs that are offered. The staff is very knowledgeable and has been very hospitable.”


Other staff members concur.


“I very much appreciate the quality of the training we’ve received over these two weeks,” said Bakiri.  “I have learned a great deal that I can use when I return to Algeria.”


Kahli added, “This has been a very beneficial visit.  I am learning a lot of things that will help in the development of our center.”


Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563.