USC’s university-wide hiring freeze finally came to a conclusion on July 1, but officials say that departments will still be carefully evaluating the need to create new positions from here on out.The university initiated the freeze in 2008 as a financial buffer in the slowing economy. The freeze was originally scheduled to end in June 2009, but university officials announced an extension of the freeze last year.“The hiring freeze was a pre-emptive move to make sure we wouldn’t be in a position where we would have to cut out any of our programs,” said Robert Cooper, vice provost for planning and budget.Before the freeze, departments could create new staff and faculty positions at their own discretion, as long as they had the funds to do so.Anticipating that families of university employees could be impacted by the economy, USC initiated the freeze as a precaution to prevent any dramatic layoffs or other cutbacks during the economic recession.“The financial issue for USC was minimal,” Cooper said. “We did not see a reduction in the number of students, so in terms of tuition revenue, we weathered the storm.”The university implemented a new hiring process that asked each department to closely analyze new positions and streamline any administrative work during the freeze. Hiring requests were handled on a case-by-case basis within each department, before being sent to the university and then to the provost’s office for a final decision.“Deans were to look at the positions and they were asked to only post the critical positions,” Cooper said.Though the freeze is now over, the university will continue to follow the hiring procedures enacted for the last two years. The process requires analysis of each new position and top approval for those positions, Cooper said.According to Cooper, the administration wanted to ensure that the student experience at USC would not change if the university experienced any sort of financial difficulty.“It was not an across the board, ‘no exceptions made’ type of freeze,” Cooper said. “We wanted to make sure what we did didn’t impact the students.”Geneva Overholser, director of Annenberg’s School of Journalism, said her department was able to make hires during the freeze when it was necessary.“We are lucky since many of our fellow journalism schools, especially state schools, were not able to hire faculty,” Overholser said. “We have been very blessed with wonderful faculty hires we made during the freeze and I am grateful to the university for keeping the faculty lines open to hiring.”Samantha Klein, a senior majoring in fine arts, said she did not notice any changes because of the hiring freeze.“As a student, the only reason I knew there was a hiring freeze was because I heard people where I work in [Information Technology Programs] talking about it,” Klein said. “Other than that I didn’t notice anything, especially since the school stepped up the off-campus security with all the new guards.”USC is currently looking to create 550 new positions.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Government of Liberia (GOL) will today begin a ten-day aquaculture training seminar in Compound #2, Grand Bassa County, on economic development through youth employment, entrepreneurship, and improved nutrition and poverty reduction.The ten-day seminar is organized by FAO in partnership with the government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports (MYS) and the Bureau of National Fisheries (BNF) of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA). The training is expected to bring together 40 participants, mainly youths from Grand Bassa and Margibi counties. Others will include officials from the MYS, aquaculture experts from FAO, the BNF, young Liberian entrepreneurs and other key stakeholders.The participants of the seminar are expected to also acquire fish farming and hatchery management techniques, better business development strategy as well as develop a training guide that will be used as a reference tool for youth aquaculture.FAO provided up to US$492,000 under its Technical Cooperation with the GOL. The project is entitled “Creating Aquaculture Enterprise for Youth Employment, Poverty Reduction and Food Security.” The training is in line with FAO Strategic Objectives 2, 3, and 4 focusing mainly on rural sustainable development agriculture and rural poverty reduction. It is aligned with the United Nations Development Framework (UNDAF) Pillar II (Sustainable Economic Transformation), and is also contributing to the FAO Country Programming Framework (CPF) for sustainable agriculture development. The FAO-funded initiative is geared toward building the capacity of 600 vulnerable youth in aquaculture development in four regions in Liberia comprising Grand Bassa, Margibi, Bomi and Grand Cape Mount counties.According to a release, youth unemployment has been a major challenge to the government; with the 2010 Labor Force Survey conducted by the government and its partners showing high rates of vulnerable youth unemployment in the country, especially in rural areas, with an overall rate of 86 percent.The objective of the training, the release said, is to develop small business management skills, gender wealth creation opportunities, and develop the potentials of young people for a sustainable aquaculture entrepreneurship. Phase two of the training seminar will be conducted in Sinje, Grand Cape Mount County, from June 27 to July 7 for an additional 40 youth participants. The two seminars are expected to bring the number of youths trained in both Grand Bassa and Grand Cape Mount counties to 80.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)