The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) builds linkages between young leaders across the hemisphere. YLAI addresses the opportunity gap for youth, especially women, by empowering business and social entrepreneurs with the training, tools, networks and resources they need to transform their societies and contribute more fully to economic development and prosperity, security, human rights and good governance in the hemisphere. The YLAI Professional Fellows program is a 5-week program for entrepreneurs, funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Each year, the program brings 250 promising leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean to communities throughout the United States to expand their leadership and entrepreneurial skills and network through skills-building workshops and opportunities to learn from and exchange with U.S. counterparts.
Burlington fellows leveraged their expertise to implement a number of projects for their hosts including the development of a digital marketing strategy, analyzing and streamlining processes, developing curricula, creating an art installation, and others.
Upon the conclusion of the program, many fellows applied for Department of State grants to support the implementation of a collaborative project in their home country. Three Burlington proposals were selected for this reverse exchange program and a representative from each will be traveling abroad this summer: Vermont Works for Women (Peru), Sap! Beverages (Trinidad and Tobago), and Bread and Butter Farm (Guatemala).