Empowering Vietnam’s Workforce for Expanding Innovation Opportunities

In the fast-evolving landscape of Vietnam’s economy, the need for a skilled workforce equipped for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) has never been more crucial. Recognizing this imperative, the USAID Vietnam Workforce for an Innovation and Start-up Ecosystem (WISE) Activity, implemented by Cadmus from March 2021 to January 2024 as part of the US-Support for Economic Growth in Asia (US-SEGA) Project, has been instrumental in catalyzing Vietnam’s ability to respond to and expand the benefits of innovation and the digital revolution.

Speaker on stage presenting to a room of event attendees seated around tables.
The WISE Activity Final Event was held in Hanoi on January 23, 2024.

At the core of the WISE initiative were three key components, each addressing specific innovation ecosystem components, and propelling Vietnam towards building strong local capacity to expand digital skills and meet growing industry demands across the country.

Support to the Vietnam National Innovation Center

Under WISE, the collaboration between US-SEGA and the Vietnam National Innovation Center (NIC) aimed to foster an environment conducive to innovation and entrepreneurship. Through various initiatives, such as the development of the Digital Workforce Website and the NIC Learning Management System, WISE provided essential support to enhance NIC’s capacity in engaging with the private sector to better understand and respond to the innovation ecosystem. Additionally, the Mekong Innovation Initiative and the New Opportunities Program underscored WISE’s commitment to driving inclusive growth, particularly in non-urban regions, and facilitating the reskilling of industrial workers for the demands of the 4IR.

Training Partnerships

WISE forged strategic alliances with nine leading Vietnamese training institutions, laying the groundwork for the upskilling and reskilling of over 1,400 learners in critical 4IR-related fields. Through these partnerships, WISE not only addressed immediate employment challenges but also fostered a culture of continuous learning and innovation. The impact of these efforts extended beyond direct participants, with over 500 trainers equipped to disseminate knowledge to over 1,200 indirect beneficiaries, thus amplifying the reach and sustainability of the program.

Bridging the Digital Divide

In a concerted effort to bridge the gender and urban-rural digital divide, WISE conducted extensive outreach initiatives and knowledge-sharing events. By broadening the reach of training programs and hosting events covering diverse topics such as 4IR careers, women in AI, and digital education, WISE played a pivotal role in democratizing access to digital opportunities and fostering a more inclusive workforce.

By equipping individuals with the essential skills and knowledge required to thrive in the digital era, WISE has established a robust framework for Vietnam’s sustained advancement. As the country builds its path towards digital transformation, it has provided USAID an opportunity to invest in local partnerships, expand capacities of government and private sector partners to meet the demands of a growing innovation sector, while also ensuring efforts are more inclusive across the country moving forward. WISE stands as an example to the transformative potential of collaboration, innovation, and inclusive development practices.


The US Support for Economic Growth in Asia (US-SEGA) is a six-year project designed to improve the policy environment for sustainable economic growth and prosperity, improved regional economic cooperation, sound management of institutions and good governance throughout APEC and the Indo-Pacific, while also expanding markets for U.S. goods and services. In addition to strengthening the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, US-SEGA offers missions a flexible mechanism to respond quickly to new opportunities through targeted technical assistance and training. It particularly supports workstreams focused on current and emerging economic growth issues including digital economy, workforce development, supply chain connectivity, and women’s economic empowerment. The program also supports missions in their ongoing response to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

US-SEGA is managed by USAID’s Asia Bureau with partial funding and strategic direction from the U.S. Department of State.