Global Business Coalition for Education

Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative



Photo by Intel Corporation.

Recent trends show that by 2030, over half of the world’s young people – 825 million – will lack the basic skills needed for employment, according to a 2016 report by the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity. With the current pace of change, the rapid development rate of new technology, and constant innovation of the goods and services in the global economy, the business community must proactively work with young people to support its future workforce needs to keep up with the growth opportunities and industries of the future.

Surveys show that the ways in which business engage in workforce development – and the ambitions and aspirations of young people – are mismatched. We can harness the potential of young people and the workforce of the future if business leaders come together today to foster their innovation, entrepreneurial, and technology skills.

With this in mind, the Global Business Coalition for Education – in partnership with Intel – launched the Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative during the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Through the Initiative, the Coalition hopes to tackle to challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and ensure that young people everywhere are equipped with the tools to operate in a future workforce.


Goals of Initiative

  • Identify new models to rapidly enhance the skills and innovation readiness of young people
  • Inspire collective action among the business community, civil society, government leaders, and youth in order to bolster the skills of our next generation of innovators.



  • Come together – convene a Commission of diverse partners from the business community, government officials, and youth representatives. This Commission will look for the most effective ways to improve youth innovation and skills, with a special emphasis on marginalized populations most likely to be left behind
  • Take action – identify action-oriented recommendations for industry and governments – for instance, how to develop and scale essential training, content, and technology resources – all vital skills that will be needed to succeed in the future
  • Spread the word – raise global awareness, drive advocacy, and mobilize industry partners, government, and youth around innovative partnerships and initiatives


Structure and Strategy

  • Youth Skills and Innovation Commission – consists of diverse set of experts from the business, government, NGO, academic, development, and youth communities. The Commission held its first meeting on September 20, 2017, and will be concerned with developing recommendations for confronting the challenge of equipping marginalized young people for the jobs of the future.
  • Youth Network – network of leading youth organizations that will support the initiative’s work and outcomes.
  • Research and Analysis – the Initiative will scan the current state of research, trends, trajectories, and business models, and identify potential opportunities for business and youth. GBC-Education recently announced RELX Group as a research partner.
  • Awareness Raising, Media, and Events – a series of outreach activities, including media, social media, and PR events that will drive awareness of the challenges and opportunities, with the aim of inspiring further commitments to action.



The initiative will begin work in 2017, aim to engage in research with partners throughout 2018, towards a goal of releasing its recommendations to the public, and inspiring real action and change by September 2018.

Long-term, the initiative plans to work together with various groups to make sure young people – particularly those from marginalized communities – are not left behind, in the ever-evolving industries of tomorrow. With the help of the Youth Skills and Innovation Initiative, our workforce’s future will be as diverse and inclusive as it is bright.

To get involved or to learn more, please contact Jamira Burley at To read more, follow the link here and read our booklet on youth skills and innovation.