Cities challenged to come up with the next great ideas on youth skills

Big Ideas Bright Cities

Justin van Fleet, The Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education), Youth skills

The Big Ideas, Bright Cities Challenge is launched to drive innovation and creativity in building crucial skills for young people. 

Millions of young people around the world are marginalised – out of school, without a job or training and with little hope for the future. By 2030, half of all young people will not have the skills they need to find work. 

But this isn’t just a problem in developing countries. In the United States, one in 10 young people – that’s four million – are not in work or education. 

Against that backdrop, the Big Ideas, Bright Cities Challenge is launched today to drive innovation and creativity in building crucial skills for young people. 

It is run by the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education), established by Theirworld, which aims to build a network of “skills-friendly cities” across the US. The challenge will award grants of $100,000 and $50,000, plus business support to American cities with the most powerful ideas to ensure young people have the skills needed for work. 

Applications will be open until January 31 and the winners announced in March. Find out more about the criteria and how to apply

Experience shows that cities with skilled youth enjoy greater economic growth, safer and more vibrant communities and increased social cohesion. They are also more appealing for businesses and future residents. 

Justin van Fleet, Executive Director of GBC-Education and President of Theirworld, said: “In the years before the pandemic, cities attracted a diverse, youthful, eager workforce inspired by the innovation and opportunity that comes with an urban environment.  

“In the wake of the global crisis, many cities fell quiet and young people from marginalised communities fell further back. It’s time to re-imagine skills-building for young people and get the next generation back on track in our cities.” 

The Big Ideas, Bright Cities Challenge is made possible by Dell Technologies and Deloitte. It will help cities either strengthen their existing career readiness and youth employment programmes or launch new initiatives. 

NGOs, city governments, non-profit higher education institutions, businesses and other youth-serving organisations are eligible to apply independently or in partnership. 

The challenge will give city leaders the chance to work with many of the world’s leading companies, including businesses focused on digital transformation. 

“A ‘skills friendly’ city does more than just train its workforce,” said Jessica Anderson, Director of Strategic Giving, Dell Technologies. “It cultivates an ecosystem of elements like technology, access and education that set its people up for future success.  

“The Big Ideas, Bright Cities Initiative brings together business, NGOs, governments and youth across various communities inspiring ideas to help more people participate in the digital economy.” 

Kwasi Mitchell, Chief Purpose Officer at Deloitte, said: “Deloitte is proud to support the Global Business Coalition for Education in its commitment to the future of youth. Preparing young people with career-building skills can lead to greater economic growth and more vibrant communities.”

More news

See all news