What We Do

IYF connects young people with opportunities to transform their lives. Our holistic, systems-based approach emphasizes life skills in combination with a mix of technical, vocational, and entrepreneurship training. As a result, young people are prepared to enter the workforce, create their own opportunities, and be agents of change in their communities. 

Together with our partners and global network, we build effective, sustainable, and scalable initiatives that drive change around three interconnected strategic objectives:

Youth agency: Youth agency is the desire and ability of young people to make decisions and drive change—in their own lives, in their communities, and in their larger spheres of influence. To have agency, young people need to believe in themselves, know how to work effectively with others, and understand the challenges and opportunities in the world around them. At IYF, we believe that teens and young adults who discover and exercise their agency are problem solvers, not problems to be solved, and they can ultimately become the architects of their own future. Find out how we convene and connect young people and adults to advance youth agency.

Economic opportunity: Young people don’t all receive the same opportunities to unlock their potential and earn a decent living. That’s why IYF works to ensure that young people everywhere can access the education, training, guidance, and connections required to achieve economic security and independence. Our initiatives improve skills alignment and equip young people to effectively contribute to a workplace, thrive in self-employment, or succeed in an entrepreneurial venture. Over 30 years, we have refined an approach that is locally driven, market aligned, and youth inclusive. Consult our library for a host of resources, or visit our Passport to Success® website to learn how our life skills training prepares young people to succeed in work and life.

Systems change: At IYF, we believe for young women and men to experience their own agency, transform their lives, and realize the future they want, the systems surrounding them must be made more relevant, inclusive, and responsive to their real aspirations, challenges, and needs. When looking at education systems or labor markets, this means making positive, incremental changes, which, taken together, mean significant improvements. We invest in this time-intensive work because the scale of the solution must address the scale of the challenge. Learn how IYF acts as a convener building consensus, facilitating collaboration, and managing stakeholders from across sectors.