Youth unemployment won’t be solved, and the world’s young people won’t have the opportunity to reach their full potential, without a concerted global effort. In the first week of November, IYF—in partnership with Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE)—hosted an event at the World Bank focused on driving innovation and investment in youth employment.
S4YE is a coalition of representatives from the public and private sectors and civil society committed to increasing the number of young people in productive work. At the event, corporate leaders from the technology, financial services, education, and hospitality industries highlighted how they are innovating for impact:
- Leveraging emerging technologies to build a thriving workforce: Accenture, an S4YE partner, uses automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and virtual reality to find new ways of solving persistent challenges. For example, AI-generated algorithm uses machine learning to match young entrepreneurs with business mentors. An augmented reality-enabled mobile app helps job seekers, particularly refugees, develop new skills to prepare for long-term career success despite being disconnected. And first-time job seekers are using virtual reality to watch mock job interviews to prepare themselves for the real thing.
- Clearing pathways for inclusive growth: A pioneer in preparing young people for the future, Microsoft is providing digital skills training and computer science education across sectors to ensure all youth are future ready. It is influencing policy and building infrastructure to promote inclusive growth, ensuring that even while the technology moves forward, nobody is left behind. At the policy level, the company, an S4YE partner, has championed the inclusion of computer science into STEM education, and is connecting rural communities across the United States to the internet via its Rural Airband Initiative.
- Educating social innovators on the power of new technology: TechChange, a social enterprise that leverages technology for social innovation, offers a course on blockchain for international development. This technology creates a self-updating, incorruptible digital ledger of transactional information in a way that is publicly available and transparent. The technology is having a real social impact in multiple areas, from streamlining supply chain management to creating digital identifications for refugees. In the youth employment space, blockchain provides a secure platform for issuing education records, bringing increased transparency and shared ownership to how we track and measure educational achievements.
- Championing systems change to create new career pathways: JPM Chase, an IYF partner, is a strong voice in the conversation about the future of higher education and whether it is serving the needs of all young people in the United States. In cities across the country, the company is investing in career education to create pathways to well-paying jobs. What’s different about their approach? States compete for the resources necessary to expand and strengthen their career education programs. Parallel investments in summer employment opportunities for youth are providing early work experience.
- Using data to drive investment: A longtime IYF partner, Hilton understands the tremendous business opportunity to engage youth, a growing segment of the population, as employees and consumers. To have a better picture of young people’s overall wellbeing and whether their transition to adulthood is positioning them for emotional, physical, and economic success, Hilton partnered with IYF to create the Global Youth Wellbeing Index. Using data that includes youth perceptions to examine the real challenges nearly 70 percent of world’s young people face, the Index is a tool to help businesses, foundations, and governments prioritize investments where they’re needed most and catalyze action.
Sharing these kinds of insights and opportunities broadens the greater knowledge of ways to connect young people with livelihoods, and the commitment of companies such as those listed above is a promising indication that we are moving in the right direction.