For most of the day on Sept. 11, 2001, Ron Bruder suffered through the hell of not knowing if his daughter Jessica, who worked near the World Trade Center, was dead or alive. Jessica was fine, but Bruder's life had changed forever. He had been an extremely successful real estate developer, but now he had a new mission. He spent the next few years traveling through the Middle East, looking for ways he might help. Over time, he learned there was a need for practical education programs, programs that taught high school and college graduates skills they could bring to the workplace even the most basic skills, like how to act in an interview, how to respond to criticism from the boss and how to show up on time and be appropriately dressed.
And so Bruder, 63, began the Education for Employment Foundation (EFE), first in Jordan where at-risk youth learn air-conditioning repair then in the West Bank and Gaza (where engineers are taught to be construction managers), Yemen, Egypt, Morocco and, soon, Tunisia. EFE is growing exponentially: there will be 1,300 graduates in 2011, 2,000 projected for 2012 and 5,000 for 2013. At a moment when the Middle East is being transformed by a tidal wave of young people adept at using Facebook and Twitter, Bruder is teaching them even more essential skills how to find and keep productive jobs when the protests are over.
Klein is TIME's political columnist