A new partnership between Caterpillar and the International Youth Foundation (IYF) will seek to address rising unemployment and underemployment among at-risk youth in India and Indonesia through a focus on entrepreneurship. The initiative, using an integrated approach to enhance and promote youth-led small businesses and employability training, will be implemented through two leading NGOs who have previously partnered with IYF to advance youth development in their countries:  Community Collective Society for Integrated Development (CCFID) in India and Indonesia Business Links (IBL) in Indonesia.

 “The Caterpillar Foundation provides support for programs in three key areas: environmental sustainability, human sustainability, and sustainability through education,” said Caterpillar Foundation Vice President Will Ball. “The IYF’s skills training initiatives will give disadvantaged youth access to educational opportunities that will build critical skills.  This will allow young graduates to achieve brighter futures for themselves and their families.  We are proud to partner with IYF to provide skills training programs, which will help improve the lives of youth in India and Indonesia.”

In India, where youth unemployment has risen to a high of 46%, the Youth Livelihood, Entrepreneurship and Development (Y-LEAD) program will provide 800 young people with the job training skills they need to enter the job market or move into self-employment; offer business development support to 500 youth-led enterprises; and improve access to credit, savings, and other support to an additional 500 youth. The initiative is expected to benefit 3,000 indirect beneficiaries through jobs gained in youth-led microenterprises.

In Indonesia, where young people are nearly five times more likely to be unemployed than adults, the Young Entrepreneurs Start-Up (YES) program will raise awareness around the field of entrepreneurship and provide 400 youth with life and employability skills training.  Some 100 of them will receive additional market specific technical training in areas such as carpentry, welding, plumbing, and construction. In addition, the initiative will provide 250 youth with various business development support services and another 250 with enhanced assistance in such areas as risk management, studies of the local economy, and effective ways to approach financial institutions to secure loans.

“IYF is very pleased to be expanding our terrific partnership with Caterpillar to improve the livelihood opportunities of young people in this region of the world,” said William S. Reese, President and CEO of IYF.  “We are also thrilled to be working with two outstanding NGOs on the ground who we’ve worked with over the years and who have proven their ability to improve the prospects of vulnerable youth in their communities.” IYF and Caterpillar have been working together in Peru to improve employability prospects among vulnerable youth in that country, as part of entra21, IYF’s foundational youth employment program in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The new initiatives in India and Indonesia will use a multi-pronged approach which will include easing obstacles for youth-led micro enterprises as a way to create more jobs. Key strategies include providing relevant training that responds to local labor market demands; gaining support from the private sector to support new and established youth entrepreneurs; and helping young people successfully access the credit and savings institutions needed to support their emerging businesses.  The programs will also give Caterpillar employees the opportunity to engage with participating youth as volunteer mentors and to serve as technical advisors on curriculum development and other local capacity building opportunities.