Photo of the city of Kosovo.

Barnhardt Leads $4M USAID-Funded Partnership Connecting Higher Education and Kosovo Private Sector


Cassie Barnhardt, senior research fellow in the Social and Education Policy Research Program, is leading a partnership with universities in Iowa and the Kosova Education Center, based in Prishtina, to improve how public universities in Kosovo interact with private sector companies, leading to more industry-driven graduates who are better prepared for the workforce. The partnership is part of a five-year $4 million agreement from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

UI experts are leading the efforts to increase cooperation between Kosovo and the state of Iowa to increase cooperation between Kosovo and the state of Iowa to increase economic opportunities for Kosovo youth by tangibly linking Kosovo's private sector to its public universities. Barnhardt said the project will create opportunities for University of Iowa faculty and staff to interact with their counterparts in Kosovo through mentoring, idea sharing, and capacity building.

Chris Kromphardt, education fellow in residence, is part of the USAID-funded Activity, implementing a training program for university students in Kosovo to participate in a variety of experiential learning activities ranging from internships and mentorship to capstones, practica, and co-ops. The custom-built modules will teach students how these work-based learning experiences differ from and complement their classroom learning. 

Kromphardt will be traveling to Kosovo in 2023 and 2024 to meet face-to-face with project partners and students and to present in-progress modules, gather feedback, and ensure that the modules meet the needs of people of Kosovo, even after the Activity officially ends.

The USAID activity was announced in a launch event on April 24 at the National Library of Kosovo in Prishtina, attended by U.S. Ambassador to Ksoovo Jeffrey Hovenier and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti. Project leaders and officials from UI and Iowa State University were also in attendance including Barnardt, College of Education Dean Daniel Clay, and Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs Russell Ganim.

Read the full story here.