OAS and Citi Foundation: Developing Youth Economic Opportunities

Washington D.C., October 28th, 2016 – Through a partnership between the Young Americas Business Trust (YABT), the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) and Citi Foundation, youth in four OAS member states (Colombia, Panama, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago) will acquire leadership, technical, and workplace skills to engage in the formal economy through a first job in the highly demanded technology sector.  

In Latin America and the Caribbean, young people represent 43% of the unemployed population. Low-income youth are disproportionately affected, with more than twice the rate of unemployment than the higher-income population (ILO 2014). With the region experiencing one of the fastest rates of Internet growth since the beginning of the century, information and communication technologies (ICTs) and digital security now offer new career opportunities for young people to pursue (Internet World Stats, 2015).

“Creating a Career Path in Digital Security” will reach 80 low-income youth, ages 17 to 25, and facilitate the knowledge needed to access entry-level positions in the ICT field. Through 40 hours of technical theory and hands-on training, students will learn about information security architecture principles, security of networks, systems, applications, and data, and security implications when adopting emerging technologies, among other topics. Students who complete the program will be eligible to complete a recognized certificate exam from an information security organization, providing confirmation of the knowledge and skills acquired, and will be linked to internship opportunities. In order to implement a more holistic approach, the program will also raise awareness among entrepreneurs or potential entrepreneurs about the benefits of safely engaging in and conducting business online through several community workshops.

“Creating a Career Path in Digital Security” is part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress global initiative to prepare young people with the career readiness tools and opportunities needed to thrive in today’s economy. The program will be executed by the YABT in partnership with the OAS Cyber Security Program. The program will enlist the help of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local governments and other interest groups to help identify beneficiaries. Partnerships with the private sector, civil society and academia will be leveraged for curriculum development, the provision of equipment, the delivery of training, assessment and the placement of successful trainees for internships, job shadowing or actual employment.

Paulina Duarte, Acting Secretary for Multidimensional Security of the OAS stated, “Our young people are our future.  Through this partnership with the YABT and the Citi Foundation, we will help provide the youth of our region with greater opportunities for developing life skills and obtaining gainful employment.  We are very pleased to be a part of an initiative that will not only benefit those young people interested in pursuing digital security careers, but also promote greater awareness of the various opportunities that the digital age has created. We are hopeful that this program can eventually be replicated in other countries so that even greater numbers of our region’s most vulnerable young people have opportunities for a sustainable future.”

“To compete in a 21st century economy, young people need access to opportunities that support their career aspirations, build skillsets, and give them the confidence they need to strive for success,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “This new program with YABT and the OAS responds to the need for skilled employees in the growing IT field in Latin America and empowers local youth to acquire the experience essential to access meaningful positions in this field.”

“It is an honor for YABT to partner with the Citi Foundation and the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism (CICTE) of the OAS, to implement a comprehensive program centered on empowering young people to launch careers in digital security. We believe that secure and safe internet will determine how we, as users, will continue to maximize the advantages of connectivity in our daily lives. Equipping our youth with a set of skills around digital security will improve their competitiveness in the job market. We hope that, eventually, similar initiatives expand and positively impact more young people in the Americas”, expressed Valerie Lorena, YABT Executive Director.

About the OAS

The Organization of American States is the oldest regional organization in the world, its origins dating back to the First International Conference of American States held in Washington DC from October of 1889 to April of 1890. Today, the OAS works to secure “more rights for more people” through programs based on four pillars: democracy, human rights, security and development. More information on the OAS Cyber Security Program can be found at www.oas.org/cyber

About YABT

The Young Americas Business Trust (YABT) is an international nonprofit organization, founded in 1999, and works in cooperation with the General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS). YABT supports the objectives of the OAS and the mandates of the Summit of the Americas to develop and implement programs and activities that support youth entrepreneurship and leadership in the countries of the Americas – combating poverty and creating more opportunities for young people. YABT has more than fifteen years of experience formulating and implementing programs of entrepreneurial development that have resulted in young entrepreneurs starting their own companies, thereby creating more jobs.

About the Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.