MSU Receives Grant for Career Services Focused Partnership with Mozambique Universities

December 16, 2021

Providing guidance for students who are learning how to map their interests and majors with the needs of industry, while working with the business community seeking talented employees has long been a part of the work of Michigan State University’s (MSU) Career Services Network (CSN) within the Division of Student Life & Engagement (SLE). 

This depth of knowledge and ability to positively impact both students and economic development made a partnership between MSU and three universities in Mozambique, Africa, a logical match. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) recognized the potential outcomes and impact of such a partnership by awarding a $2 million, 4-year grant to the MSU Consortium, which includes MSU, the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Instituto Superior Politecnico de Manica and the Universidad Pungue.

The opportunity in Mozambique, Africa, where the higher education system has the opportunity to significantly enhance economic growth and stimulate revitalization, requires collaboration and project leadership. Enter MSU. The project also includes job market analysis for college grads, establishment of career services offices, access to work readiness training and improved service provisions for women and people with disabilities.

“We are honored MSU was selected to lead this important initiative in Mozambique and that we were recognized for our career services delivery model, our research specific to post-secondary student outcomes and our scope of expertise in career development and readiness,” said Matthew Wawrzynski, Ph.D., project director and principal investigator for the consortium and a faculty member in MSU’s Higher, Adult and Lifelong Education program in the College of Education. “This project further strengthens our institution’s impact in Africa and will directly support economic development through collaboration and knowledge transfer.” 

The MSU Consortium will work closely together during the next four years to establish a pilot career center at each of the three Mozambique universities that may be replicated by other higher education institutions in the country. The project is being led by Wawrzynski. Jeffrey Beavers, executive director of MSU’s Career Services Network is serving as content specialist. Wawrzynski brings years of experience with cross-border university partnerships and programming that is focused on sustainable capacity development and knowledge transfer. Beavers will provide oversight for the development of the career center services curriculum and staff training. 

“We are excited to be involved in something so transformative and for the opportunity it presents to leverage MSU’s best-in-class service model to improve career outcomes for all students in Mozambique,” Beavers said.

A part of MSU’s service model is the use of career peers in which student leaders help mentor and advise new students with resume reviews, internship searches and career exploration. The program empowers students to help each other while also adding scalability and flexibility to our staffing model, Beavers said. 

Another aspect of MSU’s program that will benefit the work of the consortium is the Collegiate Employment Research Institute (CERI).  For the past 50 years, CERI has conducted an annual survey of nearly 5,000 employers globally to analyze the labor market for college graduates. The institute assists HR professionals, recruiters and career services professionals in gaining insight related to current and emerging hiring trends and skills gaps and reports that information in the annual Recruiting Trends Survey and Report

To begin their work, the consortium will gather data to identify economic trends and specific soft skill needs within various industries, as well as gather feedback on student readiness. Career Center staff at the partner universities will also work to develop and strengthen relationships with the private sector to identify workforce needs, internship opportunities and careers available for new college graduates. Such data and guidance will help the Centers design relevant programs and workshops for college students and assist with job placement and increased student and employer satisfaction 

The agreement with the USAID for the MSU Consortium officially began Sept. 27.


About the Career Services Network

The Career Services Network (CSN) is part of the Division of Student Life & Engagement. The network offers career support and advising to the nearly 50,000 students of Michigan State University.  The scope of services includes career exploration and planning, career coaching, resume / CV reviews, interview preparation, and career development workshops. Additionally, the Network maintains partnerships with hundreds of employers globally and helps students connect with recruiters and alumni to support their desired career outcomes and success.



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