New Employment Opportunities for Youth or NEO is a regional initiative dedicated to improving the quality of the workforce 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.
Launched on 2012, NEO is committed to reaching one million vulnerable youth throughout the region by 2022. NEO is led by Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) – through the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) and the Labor Market Unit (LMK) -- the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and the following strategic partners: Arcos Dorados, the Caterpillar Foundation, CEMEX, Foundation Forge, Microsoft, SESI and Walmart.
NEO seeks to close the gap between the skills of young people and the demand among companies for qualified personnel via two main activities: (i) coordinating and linking the efforts of the main stakeholders in the fields of education/training, the labor market, and youth, to be able to address these problems in a systemic manner and not simply through isolated and ad hoc efforts; and (ii) scaling up effective models of vocational guidance, training, and job placement services so as to increase the quality and relevance of job placement services and job opportunities for poor and vulnerable youth.
The regional initiative is currently in its first phase (2012 -2017). Upon completion of the first phase, NEO will report the results and lessons learned in order to inform the second phase (2018-2022). The objectives for the first phase (2012-2017) include:
As of December 2015, NEO has approved 12 projects that, when completed, will have strengthened the capacity of 172 training and job service providers, reached over 470,707 youth, and mobilized 2,000 companies to offer internships and jobs to poor and vulnerable youth.