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Joining forces to help Latin American youth enter the workforce

Sep 9, 2014

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, recently approved a technical cooperation grant to support the Forge Foundation in expanding regional training model that will provide a high-quality school-to-work transition -for 14,000 youth in Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. Increasing formal employment opportunities among youth in Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the main challenges facing the region. The youth unemployment rate is double, and in some cases even triple, the overall unemployment rate. Poor and vulnerable youth, especially women, are the most affected by informality and unemployment. Nearly 6 in 10 young people who manage to get a job work under informal conditions, which usually means low income, job instability, and insecurity. Several studies have shown that having one’s first job be formal improves subsequent employment prospects for young people.

Forge’s methodology has two very innovative aspects. In order to strengthen the supply of labor, the Forge Foundation works in partnership with the private sector and with schools to improve youth employability works with youth during off-school hours, providing life skills and technical training for one year. It then continues to support youth during their job search and after they enter the job market. It also seeks to ensure that youth are placed in formal jobs in one of the firms in their network. 

On the demand side, the project will expand and consolidate a network of 600 companies committed to youth employment, ensuring that the network achieves a formal entity and a regional scope so that it can become a space in which the private sector may generate actions and knowledge products.

Finally, the project plans to transfer the model’s methodology and knowledge to at least two public-private organizations, working collaboratively to reach scale and improve the quality of youth employment services.

The project will be part of the regional initiative New Employment Opportunities, known as NEO, in which companies, government, and civil society contribute resources, knowledge and skills to implement effective and sustainable job solutions in order to improve the employability of poor and vulnerable youth in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The regional NEO initiative was launched at the Summit of the Americas on April 2012, under the strategic direction and contribution of the MIF, the Social Sector of the IDB, and the International Youth Foundation, with founding corporate partners Arcos Dorados, Caterpillar Foundation, CEMEX, Microsoft and Walmart. Currently NEO initiatives are being implemented in the state of Nuevo Leon in Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Urabá Antiquia in Colombia.

The project has a total cost of US $7,863,661, of which US$1,704,669 will be provided by the MIF and US$6,158,991 by the counterpart, Foundation Forge Uruguay, Foundation Argentina, Foundation Forge Peru and Foundation Forge Mexico.

About the MIF

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, is funded by 39 donors and supports private sector-led development benefiting low-income populations and the poor—their businesses, their farms, and their households. The aim is to give them tools to boost their incomes: access to markets and the skills to compete in those markets, access to finance, and access to basic services, including green technology. A core MIF mission is to act as a development laboratory—experimenting, pioneering, and taking risks to build and support successful micro, small, and medium business models. More information can be found at www.fomin.org

About the Forge Foundation

Forge is a Swiss entity that operates exclusively in Latin America, where it has set up its centers. Established in 2005, it operates in Argentina, Uruguay, and Peru, and is initiating operations in Mexico. In the coming years, it plans to reach all of Latin America. Its mission is to help place youth from low-income families in quality jobs through an innovative job training and employment system. More information can be found at http://fondationforge.org

About NEO

NEO is an initiative aiming to improve workforce quality and the employability of poor and vulnerable youth in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is a pioneering alliance in which businesses, governments, and civil society join forces to provide resources, knowledge, and capacities in order to implement effective and sustainable youth employment solutions.  NEO’s founding corporate partners are Walmart, Caterpillar, Microsoft, CEMEX, and Arcos Dorados.  The IDB’s Social Sector is playing a key role in bringing government agencies into NEO. Learn more at youthneo.org

 
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