Launched in 2012, New Employment Opportunities (NEO) was created and implemented in partnership between IYF, the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), and the Inter-American Development Bank’s Labor Market Division. The initiative addressed youth unemployment and underemployment in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

NEO evolved from the entra21 project (2001-2011), which was also created in partnership by IYF and the MIF. At that time, entra21 was among the first initiatives in the world to tackle the issue of youth unemployment and underemployment on such a large scale and was also innovative in its emphasis on cross-sector result sharing. In fact, learnings that emerged from entra21 allowed for the creation of NEO, which approached youth employability with an ecosystem lens.

To close the gap between youth skills and employer demand for a qualified workforce in Latin America and the Caribbean, NEO provided high-impact, market-relevant training and services to disadvantaged youth ages 16 to 29 and mobilizing the support of at least 1,000 companies. Bringing together stakeholders from the public, private, and civil sectors, NEO supported the formation and growth of alliances in 12 countries with financial resources, technical support, and capacity strengthening services.

As of 2018:

  • 380,000 young people were equipped through NEO opportunities to transform their lives.
  • 5,500+ businesses were mobilized to off internships and jobs for young women and men
  • 1,700+ teachers were trained and equipped with innovative, labor market-aligned teaching methods.
  • 140+ public, private, and civil society institutions were brought together to develop solutions. 

To learn more about NEO's legacy of sustainable impact, consult these final reports from the Inter-American Development Bank and IYF