The effects of the compact were amplified through successful partnerships between MCC and the GoG, and also the U.S. Embassy, Georgian private sector, and a number of domestic and international organizations. As important context for the U.S.-Georgia partnership specifically, at the time of compact signing, MCC’s $140 million Georgia II Compact was the single largest bilateral economic growth program in Georgia and the largest donor investment ever made in Georgia’s education sector. Its scale and nationwide reach have helped to further strengthen the relationship of the United States with Georgia and advance the shared goal of contributing to greater economic prosperity and regional stability.
Over the course of the compact, MCA-Georgia and MCC partnered with the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi, the GoG, and private sector partners to run the Millennium Innovation Awards, an annual national competition to support innovation in key STEM fields among youth ages 13 to 18. The Millennium Innovation Awards continues to grow year-after-year. Since MCA-Georgia launched this competition in 2014, 900 students from nine regions of Georgia have participated. The U.S Embassy in Georgia continues supporting this partnership after the compact.
Throughout the Georgia II Compact, MCC worked with the U.S. Embassy. In 2016, to mark the 25th anniversary of U.S.-Georgia relations, the U.S. Embassy funded five full tuition scholarships (valued at $30,000 each) for ethnic minority students accepted to SDSU-Georgia. The Embassy joined MCC in bringing the public-private partnership “Women in Science (WiSci)” to Georgia. In 2018, the Embassy joined MCC, alongside Google, Intel, the State Department, and the UN Foundation’s Girl Up, in co-sponsoring a two-week international girls STEM camp. Also, in 2019, the Embassy organized and funded a three-week U.S. community college tour for 12 Competitive Program Improvement Grants Activity recipients aimed at increasing female enrollment in newly introduced TVET programs. In 2019, the Embassy joined MCC and the Tiger Woods Foundation to send three Georgian STEM teachers to the U.S. to participate in a weeklong “STEM Studio.”
Finally, over each of the five years of the compact, the Embassy, through the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program, partnered with MCC to send multiple compact stakeholders and beneficiaries on relevant professional study tours to help maximize compact results and ensure the sustainability of MCC investments. For example, through the program, MCC and MCA coordinated to have four Georgian participants from MCA and the Educational and Scientific Infrastructure Development Agency visit various organizations and schools in the U.S. over a three-week period. Five Georgian participants were also sent on a second three-week International Visitors Leadership Program on financially sustainable higher education management. These visits to the U.S. provided the participants with tools to support education management and reform efforts already underway in Georgia.
Private sector partnerships aimed to improve the employability of graduates of SDSU’s programs in Georgia. SDSU and MCA-Georgia engaged 17 of Georgia’s largest public and private sector employers through an industry advisory board, held regular internship and job fairs, and expanded outreach to industry through a Career Development Center launched in 2018. In November 2016, a public-private partnership fund was launched under the STEMHigher Education Project to attract public and private sector support for Georgian student scholarships. Over $3.5 million in private sector funds were leveraged from approximately 15 different institutions and individual donors. In fall of 2020, a student loan facility that is funding Georgian students accessing vocational and higher education programs was launched by the Millennium Foundation. Through these efforts, the Millennium Foundation is enabling students to gain access to these educational opportunities that they otherwise would not be able to access.
MCA-Georgia also entered into a wealth of partnerships to ensure that compact investments benefited girls and women. The partnership with UN Women allowed MCA-Georgia to provide world-class gender sensitivity trainings to high school teachers and principals, as well as TVET administrators. MCA-Georgia signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federation of Business Women, “Women for Tomorrow,” which will continue with the “Business for Gender Equality” competition and award process designed to celebrate Georgian businesses for women’s empowerment efforts. These efforts include meaningfully integrating women into the workplace, mentoring, and networking. These partnerships are integral to ensuring the sustainability of the compact’s gender and social inclusion achievements.