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GDI and partners announce new Global Opportunity Youth Initiative to mobilize communities around the world to support youth employment

Last week, GDI and a group of design partners announced the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative (GOYI), a new effort to catalyze and support collaboratives of government, business, education, nonprofit, and youth leaders within a given community, who share a goal of increasing jobs and livelihoods for young people. These collaboratives will focus specifically on creating action plans in support of “opportunity youth”—young people who are out of school, unemployed, or working in informal jobs.

The announcement was made at the 2018 Global Youth Economic Opportunities Summit, which convened more than 550 technical experts from 50+ countries committed to advancing the social and economic well-being of young people globally.

The Global Opportunity Youth Initiative is currently housed at the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and is being co-designed by partners GDI, Prudential Financial, and YouthBuild International. Prudential has also generously committed more than $5 million to seed the initiative. The organizations bring complementary strengths and expertise to the challenge of global youth unemployment and share a deep commitment to supporting pathways for economic opportunity. In addition to the design partners, the initiative has been informed by dozens of expert interviews and thought leaders whose collective input was captured in the recently released report A Global Opportunity: Get Youth Working, which can be accessed here.  

“There is now an opportunity for the sector to evolve from a perennial focus on finding the next “silver bullet” single model, innovation, or organization.  Instead, community leaders will work collaboratively to identify systemic approaches that draw on the best elements of different youth interventions most relevant to their local economy.”

– Jamie McAuliffe, Senior Fellow, Aspen Forum for Community Solutions

GOYI will support community collaboratives through catalytic funding, a learning community, global advocacy, and a rigorous focus on data and evidence.  GOYI will emphasize diagnosing and addressing the current and future impact of technology on economic pathways for youth, particularly young women. By 2023, GOYI will seek to establish collaboratives in five communities experiencing chronic youth unemployment and will aim to show positive, sustained economic impacts for hundreds of thousands of youth. GOYI’s long-term vision, aligned with the 2030 Social Development Goals, is to expand the network to include dozens of communities that are leading the way to achieve results for millions of global opportunity youth.

“Today Prudential furthers our commitment to supporting pathways for opportunity youth in the United States with an anchor investment in the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative.  We look forward to collaborating with other private and public sector partners to accelerate economic opportunities for the millions of opportunity youth worldwide.”

Sarah Keh, Vice President of Corporate Giving, Prudential Financial, Inc.

GOYI is currently validating and refining its approach through meetings with community leaders, youth, and other decision makers in advance of its official launch in 2019. GOYI is exploring opportunities to engage with communities in Kenya, South Africa, Colombia, and India through a series of workshops and site visits. In December 2018, the Global Opportunity Youth Initiative will convene 20 global opportunity youth leaders in Philadelphia. There, participants will provide input into the initiative’s design pre-launch, and will form the initial cohort of a global opportunity youth network that will be a key supporting pillar of the effort.

“Over 40 years of YouthBuild history, we have seen and celebrated the profound ripple effect that the leadership of young people can have on the world – from the favelas of Brazil, to post-conflict Bosnia, to right here in Washington D.C. The Global Opportunity Youth Initiative will ensure youth voice and agency is central to its design and implementation. “

– Tim Cross, President, YouthBuild International

GOYI will work with a range of partners and funders and welcomes the opportunity to speak with others who share the vision and ambition and are interested in partnering. To learn more, please contact Jamie McAuliffe, Senior Fellow at Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. (

“Our experience building social impact initiatives at the Global Development Incubator has taught us that creating systems-level, scaled impact requires working with communities to meet them where they are. Expanding jobs and livelihoods for global opportunity youth is no different – and we’re excited to tap the power of local communities through this new initiative.”

– Alice Gugelev, Director, Global Development Incubator