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Generation—the nonprofit founded by McKinsey, tackling youth employment

January 6, 2018

Three years ago, McKinsey founded Generation, an independent nonprofit, to tackle global youth unemployment. Like McKinsey.org today, Generation was driven by McKinsey’s commitment to using its knowledge and capabilities to activate and mobilize leaders, across the public, private and social sectors, to develop innovative solutions to persistent social challenges.

Mona Mourshed, CEO of McKinsey.org, was one of the creators of Generation, which she continues to lead today.

“Our research at McKinsey found that the education to employment system was failing young people and failing employers,” explains Mona. “With Generation, we set out to develop a new approach, starting with what we had learned, and leveraging McKinsey’s data-driven, problem-solving approach.”

Today, Generation works across 140+ locations in 60+ cities to train and place young people in jobs spanning twenty professions and four sectors, including healthcare, customer service, and technology.

Many of Generation’s students come to the program with hardships that have disconnected them from the job market in a significant way, ranging from long-term unemployment to homelessness and everything in between.

“Take Tilynn, for example,” says Ali Jaffer, Generation’s COO, “Like many of Generation’s learners, she came into the program from a difficult background, after cycling through several temporary jobs without feeling like she was building a career.”

“She came into our program and did so well and was so motivated,” he says, “that she has been hired by the Generation Jacksonville team as a mentor for others.”

Generation’s vision is of a career-launching job for every young person, anywhere in the world.

Generation’s more than 16,000 graduates achieve 83 percent job placement, over 70 percent job retention at one year, and enjoy two to six times higher income relative to their starting point. It is now the largest global program by annual volume that trains and places youth in jobs. And with more than 1600 employer partners, 98% would hire Generation graduates again.

The unique methodology that Generation has developed involves engaging employers at the outset to identify skills shortages, training learners through 4-12 week boot camps, and extensive data tracking to measure outcomes and demonstrate the return on investment to young people, employers, funders, and government institutions.

“Generation may be the world’s largest program of its kind, but the more we do, the more we realize how much more there is yet to be done,” says Mona. “With every cohort, we try something new so that we continuously evolve our delivery model.”

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