“Strengthening capacity:” HECDI in Year 2  

January 12, 2024

Nearly 1,500 Mozambique higher education students have learned about career development thanks to a Michigan State University-led initiative. The momentum is just getting started.  

Career ambassadors collaborate during a workshop session. Photo courtesy of Matthew Wawrzynski.

The Higher Education Career Development Initiative (HECDI) is led by MSU Professor Matthew Wawrzynski and is backed by $2 million in funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).  

The project is designed to increase access and sustainable practices for improved employability services. Halfway through its four-year funding, leaders are seeing success.  

“We’re grateful for the continued success of the HECDI project,” said Wawrzynski. “We also look forward to the projected outcomes in the remaining two years of funding.”  

Portrait of Matt Wawrzynski
Matthew Wawrzynski

Among the notable accomplishments in its second year (September 2022-2023), the HECDI focused on hiring and training within career development centers at its three Mozambique partner institutions. Recruitment coordinators, training coordinators, and career ambassadors who support people with disabilities were hired at all three institutions: Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Instituto Superior Politécnico de Manica and Universidade Púnguè. 

All three launched social media pages and hosted career fairs and/or pop-up advising events to support students and promote the work of the career development centers. 

The project also launched a connection back to Michigan State University. The Ambassador Fellowship program connects trained career ambassadors in Mozambique with those at MSU to share best practices, accomplishments and resources that support career exploration and advising. 


HECDI representatives at a job fair in 2023. Photo courtesy of the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane communications team.

A theme across all project activities — including many more efforts not listed here — is inclusivity. Workshops, forums and roundtables were held regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion at the career development centers. Four career ambassadors with disabilities were hired, and 35 students with disabilities participated in career development workshops. Wawrzynski also successfully applied for funding in USAID’s Rainbow Funds initiative, which will improve LGBTQI+ support in the country.  

While many of the successes are visible in the number of students supported or events held, the HECDI team was also productive in research to inform future efforts. One of the project’s objectives is to connect relevant national and private sector areas such as economics and finance, tourism and culture with higher education institutions to develop and implement policy. HECDI leaders conducted an assessment and gap analysis of current private-sector partnerships as well as a labor market analysis report.  

Representatives from HECDI visited MSU for a workshop in 2022. Photo courtesy of Matthew Wawrzynski.

Read the project announcement story, and an update about year one