MetLife Foundation’s $1 million commitment launches the Older Youth Development Project in Five global markets

JA Worldwide and MetLife Foundation have partnered to launch MetLife Foundation Older Youth Development Project today. The project aims to serve economically disadvantaged youth in five countries through programs designed to empower them to take control of their lives and engage successfully in the global economy. This announcement is part of MetLife Foundation's recent $200 million, five-year commitment to financial inclusion.

According to the International Labour Organization, the current global youth unemployment rate is 12.6 per cent and close to its historical high. Almost 73 million young people are currently unemployed and there are additional challenges of underemployment as well as slow and difficult transitions to decent work opportunities.

MetLife Foundation Older Youth Development Project addresses skills development and youth employment, two primary challenges in each of the five implementation markets - Egypt, South Korea, Mexico, Poland and Russia. The project is focused on youth aged 14 to 23 years and equips young people with workforce, financial, and entrepreneurial skills to facilitate their access to economic opportunities. The project infuses greater resources, innovative approaches, and digital technologies with learning while building upon existing and effective JA programs.

Dennis White, CEO and president of MetLife Foundation notes, "We are delighted to build upon our existing partnership with JA Worldwide and proud to be working together in efforts to strengthen communities around the world. Our hope for the Older Youth Development Project is to help young people gain essential entrepreneurial skills needed to succeed economically, and to inspire them to transform their lives."

In addition to country-specific initiatives, MetLife Foundation Older Youth Development Project will support the design and development of a digital learning platform for the JA Enterprise Without Borders program that will become a global hub for cross-border engagement of JA students and volunteers worldwide. It will also serve as the digital destination for teaching materials, videos, e-mentoring, e-learning, and allow for JA program measurement capability.

MetLife Foundation Older Youth Development Project will focus on unique challenges specific to each country and customize programming that will range from creating sustainable business entities to providing teachers with access to entrepreneurial tools to introducing methods for teaching business entrepreneurship to young mothers.

  • In Egypt, the 'INJAZ Start Up' program will provide select student companies the chance to establish real business entities and operate them into profitability through seed funding, and mentoring services.
  • JA Korea's 'Hope for Young Mom's Project' will provide entrepreneurship education to teenage mothers who will build companies culminating in the possibility of continued support through seed funding and mentoring.
  • 'The Power of Entrepreneurship Project' in JA Mexico will reach students aged 16 to 18 years with entrepreneurship education in highly marginalized zones in and around Mexico City, and will select the most qualified students for business incubators within universities.
  • Poland's 'Entrepreneurial School' is an initiative to increase secondary school teachers' access to entrepreneurial tools and teaching methods through a virtual guide and assist them in incorporating entrepreneurial learning into existing school curricula.
  • 'The Entrepreneurial Skills Pass' in Russia will improve student's entrepreneurial competency through entrepreneurship education and 21st century skills and boost their employability.

"JA Worldwide and MetLife Foundation have partnered for more than 10 years in honoring and expanding exemplary innovation in program delivery by JA operations around the world. The MetLife Foundation Older Youth Development Project fuels our ability to address critical youth economic development challenges and supports the advancement of disadvantaged young people through innovative program design and delivery. We are excited to extend this partnership to create transformational experiences for those we reach and continue to change lives through our work," said Sean Rush, President and CEO of JA Worldwide.

About MetLife Foundation: 
MetLife Foundation was created in 1976 to continue MetLife's long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Today, the Foundation is dedicated to advancing financial inclusion, committing $200 million over the next five years to help build a secure future for individuals and communities around the world. MetLife Foundation is affiliated to MetLife, Inc. a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.org.