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Week of 7.11.08

Jobs for Jordan

An unemployment epidemic in the Middle East: what does it mean for America?

NOW travels to Jordan to explore the implications of - and possible solutions to - having millions of young people out of work in the Middle East. Staggering unemployment rates among the region's massive youth population is fueling anger, frustration and resentment.

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To combat the problem, Jordan's Queen Rania has made job creation a top priority. "To me the Middle East is about young people. And if we fail to create opportunities for them then you're going to see a lot of frustrated hope," she tells NOW.

Another initiative comes from an unlikely source: a Brooklyn, New York businessman who has set up programs across the region to give young people the real world skills they desperately need to gain employment. Both have their work cut out for them: nearly 70 million jobs are needed in the Middle East by the year 2020, according to the World Bank.

Can these training programs work to stem the tide or are they just a drop in the bucket?

This show is part of Enterprising Ideas, NOW's continuing spotlight on social entrepreneurs working to improve the world through self-sustaining innovation.

Related Links:

CIA World Bank: Country-by-Country Ranking of Global Unemployment Rates

Education for Employment Foundation

YouTube: Queen Rania's Page Promoting Cross-Cultural Dialogue

Wolfensohn Center for Development at Brookings: Middle East Youth Initiative

Middle East Youth Initiative: The Costs of Youth Exclusion, The Economic Imperative of Marriage, Inclusion: The 100 Million Youth Challenge, Delaying Marriage, Delaying Adulthood

Injaz: Jordanian non-profit under the patronage of Queen Rania aimed at improving opportunities for the country's youth

Ruwwad: Jordanian community-based development organization

Sadat Chair at the University of Maryland/Zogby International: Annual Arab Public Opinion Poll

The World Bank: Middle East and North Africa: Job Creation in an Era of High Growth