Vocational Training and Non-Formal Education Specialist, Liberia Food and Enterprise Development Program [FED]


The USAID Mission in Liberia is implementing the Food and Enterprise (FED) project. Component Three of the FED project focuses on workforce development and building the technical and managerial capabilities of Liberians to engage in agriculture and related business. These activities complement FED’s other components by increasing the number of Liberians with the right skills and training. Generally, the main challenge with Vocational Educational schools in developing countries is to make their teaching relevant to the current needs of the local job market.  There are a lot of things that constrain their ability to do this – including poor education levels of Voc Ed students; outdated and overly theoretical curricula, lack of incentives to connect students to the job market; and lack of connections between the Voc Ed staff and current industry needs.  The Vocational Training and Non-Formal Education Specialist should assist in making curricula dynamic and practical to the current needs of the job market and design programs and incentives to link students and their teachers to growth areas of the Liberian work force and the economy.

The Vocational Training and Non-Formal Education Specialist will provide expertise in a number of areas: to help the Government of Liberia [GOL] and the Liberian staff upgrade five institutions: the Booker Washington Institute (BWI) in Kakata and the vocational training centers in Grand Bassa, Nimba, Lofa and Bong Counties.  These activities will include new approaches to training, including in-service courses, internships, work-study, and use of ITC etc.  Development of appropriate modern curriculum and innovative training methods to provide the skills for new entrants into commercial agribusiness will be a key outcome.  It is important that all curricula developed by the project be gender sensitive and socially inclusive to appropriately transfer relevant knowledge to a variety of audiences.  To support these efforts, the Vocational Training and Non-Formal Education Specialist will work with the Enterprise Development Specialist, the Capacity Building Advisor, the Vocational Agriculture Specialist, the Social Inclusion Specialist, and the Women’s Enterprise Specialist to adapt and develop gender sensitive curricula for use in the other components, with a range of public and private partners (such as extension workers, food inspectors, marketing managers, and seed processors) as well as female producers and groups.

PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: The Louisiana State University Agricultural Center is a sub-contractor to Development Alternatives, Inc.; the Vocational Training and Non-Formal Education Specialist will serve as a Long-Term Technical Assistance employee of the LSU AgCenter under the supervision of the FED Chief of Party or his delegate.

The Vocational Training and Non-Formal Education Specialist will embrace a gender-sensitive and socially inclusive capacity building approach to all interventions in the five Vocational Agricultural Institutes and schools and support the other components establish a network of suitable training partners in the FED counties. The Vocational Training and Non-Formal Education Specialist will undertake a number of innovative non-traditional approaches to gender sensitive and socially inclusive knowledge transfer and workforce development.  The Vocational Education and Non-Formal Education Specialist will ensure that interventions that are implemented to improve the performance of vocational educations schools are sustainable; by continually obtaining Liberian input from the various organizations engaged in training.

The Vocational Education and Non-Formal Education Specialist will work to sustainably build Liberian capacity to provide the right kind of training, in the right place and time and tailored to Liberia.   FED’s interventions will enhance the capacity of the vocational colleges to become Centers of Excellence [COEs] in vocational education and outreach, using BWI as a model for other schools to follow.  The Vocational Education and Non-Formal Education Specialist will be responsible for devising programs to attract more women into these institutions.  The Vocational Education and Non-Formal Education Specialist will work with the Ministries of Youth and Sport and Education to build upon the accomplishments of the USAID’s other Education programs, SIDA’s vocational education program, and the World Bank’s Fast Track Initiative Grant for the Basic Education Project to expand adult education opportunities particularly to women and to youth.

The following are key areas in which the Vocational Education and Non-Formal Education Specialist will focus:

  1. Plan and work closely with the GOL ministries and other organizations engaged in this sector to meet the objectives under Component Three: build local technical and managerial human resources, which include supporting the training provided by the other Components.
  2. Coordinate and work with other, complementary USAID and other donor-funded projects.
  3. Assist in customizing interventions for each institution’s specific situation and needs and ensure that such assistance will be guided by the demand for skills, thus ensuring alignment of skill enhancement with specific labor market needs and commercial opportunities.  Particular attention will be paid to ensuring that the curricula revisions are transformational and promote the entrance of men and women in nontraditional roles.
  4. Analyze the needs of the Accelerated Vocational Education programs of the MoEd’s Office of Scientific, Vocational and Special Education, as well those of three Multi-lateral high schools.
  5. Work with STTA and GOL specialists to develop gender-sensitive outreach programs aimed at specific employment opportunities.
  6. Closely coordinate with FED staff working to define the real labor and skill needs of the agricultural sector and to define the necessary career skills for the vocational graduates, as well as clarify the roles of the various GOL institutions and private sector players.
  7. Work with COE staff, students, returning Liberian expatriates and the existing post graduate organizations to link COE students to previous graduates for career opportunities.
  8. Work with Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Gender and Development and other ministries and FED to consider nontraditional ways to train and deploy female extension agents into service quickly.   This may include developing a cadre of female agents who may not be highly trained in all aspects of agriculture, but who could transfer discrete pieces of very important knowledge to women.

The first year activities for the Vocational Training and Non-Formal Education Specialist will include:

  1. Review and follow-up of previously conducted activities, including: office establishment visits with collaborating entities for role clarification, appraisal of curricula at BWI, appraisal of BWI’s internship program, and appraisal of BWI’s library facilities.   This appraisal will also include the extent to which BWI curricula are gender sensitive in content (does it cover key areas of agriculture where women are present, does it include training on how to assist farm households to make joint decisions?), and presentation (does it use gender neutral language and include images of men and women in nontraditional roles?).
  2. An assessment of short term training needs for BWI staff, leading to a strategy to meet those needs, recognizing that the need for capacity building in gender sensitivity training for trainers may be needed, but may not necessarily be identified as a need by BWI staff.
  3. Expansion of these interventions to at least two additional vocational centers.
  4. Additional activities as that emerge as needed and requested by the Chief of Party.

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: The minimum required qualifications for this position are as follows:

  1. An MS or a combination of education and experience in Agricultural Vocational Education, rural development or related field;
  2. Ten years experience in agricultural education showing increased levels of responsibility;
  3. Experience in agricultural development program management and exposure to a number of development sector disciplines;
  4. Knowledge of African agricultural development and familiarity with Sub-Saharan African countries particularly in agriculture, vocational education and workforce development;
  5. Excellent personnel management, interpersonal, networking and team building skills
  6. Effective writing and organizational skills to prepare reports, complete analyses and make presentations.
  7. Excellent written and spoken English; and
  8. Computer/software skills, including the use of MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

An applicant having these preferred qualifications will receive additional consideration:

  1. Previous position in the field of vocational education or workforce development;
  2. Knowledge of Liberia’s agriculture and workforce development in recent years;
  3. Ability to adapt to changing needs and evolving concerns.
  4. Experience working with ICT experts or in non-traditional education, and
  5. Knowledge of training approaches and curriculums for use in low literate environments

SALARY AND BENEFITS: The successful candidate will be an employee of the LSU AgCenter’s International Programs office.  Employment is anticipated to begin on or about May 1, 2012. The position will be based in Kakata, Liberia.  Salary will be commensurate with education and experience.   Current benefit options include retirement, multiple medical insurance options, supplemental insurances (dental, life, long-term disability, accident, vision, long-term care, etc.), Tax Saver Flexible Benefits Plan (saves tax dollars on some child care and medical expenses), university holidays (14 per year, typically includes a week off at Christmas), generous annual (vacation) and sick leave benefits, Employee Assistance Program, and possible educational leave and tuition exemption for coursework at campuses of the LSU System; however, specific benefits depend on job category, percent effort and length of employment and will be impacted by job location. Applicable USG mandated allowances for an expatriate professional approved under the LSU AgCenter contract with DAI will be provided.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 6, 2012 or until a suitable candidate is selected.

DATE AVAILABLE:  Upon completion of selection process.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Must apply online using the link provided by attaching a cover letter, resume, three references, a writing sample of up to three pages on a topic of the applicant’s choice, and salary requirements.  (Paper, faxed or e-mailed application materials will not be accepted.) For more information, contact: Jonathan Hubchen (



The LSU Agricultural Center is a statewide campus of the LSU System and provides equal opportunities in programs and employment, and is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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