The Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) is a Professional Fellows Program that empowers entrepreneurs and innovative civil society leaders to strengthen capacity and advance their entrepreneurial ideas to contribute to social and economic development in their communities and region.
Since the initiative’s launch in 2015, more than 750 YLAI Professional Fellows from Latin America and the Caribbean have expanded their leadership and entrepreneurial experience through fellowships at businesses and organizations across the United States. Through the YLAI Entrepreneurship Institute and the individualized Fellowships, YLAI Fellows have accelerated their commercial and social ventures’ success and developed specific action plans to carry out upon return to their home countries. YLAI Fellows built networks, linkages, and lasting partnerships to attract investments and support for their entrepreneurial ventures.
For more information on YLAI, please visit http://YLAI.state.gov.
Program Length6 weeks
Eligibility and Application OverviewPublic applications are accepted.
Applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Are between the ages of 25 and 35 at the Fellowship start date.
- Are a resident and citizen of one of the participating countries*: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Maarten, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela.
* In the specific cases of residency in Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten, citizenship in the Netherlands is accepted
- Are eligible to receive a U.S. J-1 visa.
- Have a demonstrated track record of successfully growing their own business or social venture for at least two (2) years.
- Are not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States.
- Are not a U.S. government employee.
- Are proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English.
- Candidates will be considered without respect to race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexuality, national origin, disability or any other protected characteristic as established by U.S. law.
- Applicants with disabilities are eligible and encouraged to apply for the YLAI Professional Fellows Program.
The YLAI Professional Fellows Program is an open, merit-based competition. There is no cost to apply.
The YLAI Professional Fellows Program candidate selection committee will use the following criteria to evaluate applications and interviews:
- Demonstrated understanding of how your personal and professional goals align with program objectives.
- Demonstrated leadership, social consciousness, and commitment to community or public service, mentorship, or volunteerism.
- Demonstrated professional entrepreneurial experience and knowledge.
- Positive attitude and demonstrated initiative and perseverance.
- Commitment to your home country and to applying entrepreneurial and leadership skills, experience, and knowledge to benefit your community and country.