500,000 disadvantaged youth to receive job training in next five years through NEO Initiative Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

At the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Latin America meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) today announced a Commitment to Action pledging its efforts to address the challenge of youth unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean. Through its New Employment Opportunities (NEO) initiative, the IDB has committed to providing high-impact job training and placement services to 500,000 youth in the region over the next five years.

The NEO Initiative is an alliance established by the IDB, its Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), the International Youth Foundation (IYF), Arcos Dorados, Caterpillar, CEMEX, Microsoft, and Walmart. NEO will work with local public and private sector partners in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay to develop and provide youth employment training programs. The Brazilian National Confederation of Industry is an active partner for implementing NEO in Brazil.

Participants in CGI events make Commitments to Action as pledges of specific, measurable, and innovative plans for addressing global challenges. In its “Generating Employment Opportunities for Youth in Latin America and the Caribbean” commitment, the IDB stated its goal of reaching 500,000 youth ages 16-29 over the next five years, and providing them with training in job and/or entrepreneurship skills. In line with CGI’s emphasis on empowering girls and women, at least 50 percent of trainees will be female. NEO will also include specific women’s empowerment programs as part of its offerings.

“Currently, one in five young people in Latin America and the Caribbean are neither employed nor in school or training, and over 50 percent of students who complete high school lack the basic math and literacy skills that most jobs require,” said MIF General Manager Nancy Lee. “The New Employment Opportunities public-private partnership will help scale the best models for giving young people a second chance at gaining the skills needed for entry level jobs in a broad range of sectors. I commend the far-sighted companies that are taking leadership roles in this effort.”

“The International Youth Foundation has long been dedicated to scaling proven practices and programs for sustainable long-term outcomes, and doing so through public private partnerships,” said Bill Reese, President and CEO of IYF. “NEO is a powerful example of how multi-sector investments are helping young people in Latin America and around the world build their futures.”