NEO Initiative improves job opportunities for 150,000 youth in Latin American and the Caribbean

Published on Monday, May 8, 2017

NEO Initiative improves job opportunities for 150,000 youth in Latin American and the Caribbean

Leaders and partners of New Employment Opportunities (NEO) hosted a dialogue to explore sustainable, large-scale solutions to the challenge of youth employment in Washington, D.C. Notable speakers and panelists included Brigit Helms, General Manager of the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF); William S. Reese, President & CEO, International Youth Foundation (IYF); and Mary Snapp, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft.

Since its inception in 2012, NEO has improved employment opportunities for more than 150,000 young people through public-private partnerships, quality training and employment services, and increased internship and job opportunities. The initiative is led by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through MIF and its Labor Markets Division, the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and partners: Arcos Dorados, Caterpillar Foundation, CEMEX, Forge Foundation, Microsoft, SESI, and Walmart.

“With the first phase of this effort nearing completion, we are well on our way to closing the gap between youth skills and employer demand,” said Brigit Helms, MIF General Manager. “As we work together with our partners to inspire and transform young talent, we are building a qualified workforce that is ready to take on the ever-evolving demands of the region and an increasingly global economy.”

With a total investment of $137 million, NEO has help create and strengthen 10public-private alliances that are supporting more sustainable approaches to address the youth talent gap. As a result, more than 1,500 employers are working with NEO to offer internships and formal jobs to youth, and young people have greater access to high-quality training and employment services.

"We know that creating change depends on forging partnerships that drive scalable, sustainable solutions," said William S. Reese, IYF President. "By aligning private sector, schools, training institutions, relevant ministries, and youth needs, NEO addresses systemic challenges and prepares young people with skills to succeed.”

This pioneering alliance, present in 10 countries of the region, enables businesses, governments, and civil society to provide resources, knowledge, and skills in order to implement effective and sustainable youth employment solutions.

About the IDB

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is devoted to improving lives. Established in 1959, the IDB is a leading source of long-term financing for economic, social and institutional development in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IDB also conducts cutting-edge research and provides policy advice, technical assistance and training to public and private sector clients throughout the region.

About IYF

For more than 25 years, the sole focus of the International Youth Foundation (IYF®) has been to help young people succeed. A global nonprofit organization, IYF believes success in life is secured by earning a livelihood. For most youth that means choosing a career path and landing that first job, while others decide to start their own small businesses or social ventures. Regardless of the road chosen, IYF has been by the side of more than 19.7 million youth in 105 countries, empowering them to overcome the obstacles that lie in their way to leading productive, fulfilling lives.

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