Turning Moldova’s Brain Drain into Brain Gain

Over the last two decades, young Moldovans have faced a bleak economic future, with limited job prospects and low wages. Global and regional crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and unprecedented inflation have not helped matters. A strong workforce is desperately needed to help rebuild the economy, writes Chemonics.com.

The Chemonics-implemented Moldova Future Technologies Activity (FTA), funded by USAID and Sweden, is building on 15 years of support to Moldova through its backing of innovation centers at key public universities. Each center is uniquely designed to suit the needs of the targeted industry’s workforce, creating opportunities for both students and businesses and bringing much-needed innovation to burgeoning industries. The centers serve as focal points of modern infrastructure, equipment, teaching methods, and industry engagement for students, and match labor supply with business demands through a workforce trained in future-ready skills.


The impact of the FTA centers has been substantial. Since program inception in 2015, 180 teams and startups and more than 110 small- and medium-sized enterprises have benefited from acceleration programs in technology, fashion, and digital business. Over 24,000 young people and professionals have developed in-demand technical skills in coding, cybersecurity, “internet of things” technology, electronics, fashion patternmaking, design, and robotics. Between June 2021 and September 2022, FTA and its partners successfully launched 34 courses and assisted 145 private sector firms to improve technologies, efficiency, and management practices. The project found that 82% of 2,458 participants who joined workforce development programs had better employment opportunities. In addition, assisted businesses overwhelmingly indicated that their sales values increased over the reporting period.

Mediacor offers Moldova an opportunity to become a global hotspot for creative and media services. It is currently incubating 15 media startups and supported the launch of three exciting new Bachelor of Arts programs focusing on new media, animation, and game design at the Technical University of Moldova, Moldova State University, and the Pedagogical University. While the program’s goal was to solicit 150 applications for fall 2022 admission, it received 400 applicants and currently has 274 students enrolled. By creating a bright future for Moldova’s creative sector, these new programs encourage young people to keep their skills and talents in the country.

With the 2022 launch of the eighth innovation center, Nortek, in northern Moldova, program benefits are now spreading beyond the country’s capital. FTA and its partners will continue this critical work over the coming years, creating further opportunities for young Moldovans and local industries.

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