Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative (YLAI) Professional Fellows Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What does it mean to be a YLAI fellowship host?
A. A host’s emphasis should be on the fellow as an individual, their career, and supporting their individual growth. You will serve as a facilitator—teacher, role model, sounding board, and friend—focused on what can reasonably be accomplished during the time the Professional Fellow will spend at their host organization or company.


Q. What do YLAI Professional Fellows expect to gain from the program?
A. The YLAI Professional Fellows Program helps entrepreneurs further develop their business plans by providing skills-building workshops and opportunities to learn from U.S. counterparts. YLAI Professional Fellows will also develop stronger ties with participants from Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as with their U.S. hosts and partners. While the Professional Fellows will have opportunities for networking with potential partners and/or investors, they will be advised that the main objective of the program is to help them gain the skills necessary to further develop their business.  Therefore, they should not come to the U.S. expecting to secure funding during the program. 


Q. What should my business / organization expect to gain from the program?
A. The YLAI Professional Fellows Program is a White House initiative, funded by the U.S. Department of State. This prestigious program offers hosts the opportunity to grow their networks throughout the Americas by connecting in a personal and professional manner with their local YLAI cohort and in particular with their fellow. Your business will benefit from the unique perspective and entrepreneurial skills of an outstanding young leader from Latin America or the Caribbean. The 250 YLAI Professional Fellows who will take part in this program in the fall will be the top applicants of a rigorous application and interview process that takes into account their levels of experience and the quality of their business plans. Selected hosts will have the opportunity to take part in a reverse exchange, during which they will have the opportunity to travel to their fellows’ home country for continued collaboration, cultural immersion, and professional programming.


Q. Will I be compensated for my involvement as a host?
A. YLAI hosts and their businesses will not be compensated financially for their involvement in the program.


Q. How would my fellow spend his or her time in my office?
A. Our goal is to make this a two-way exchange that creates opportunities for both parties to learn from each other. Possible activities that fellows might take part in include: regular staff meetings; communications or public relations meetings; discussions on fundraising, development, or proposals; discussions on specific projects or programs; technical meetings;

organizational events; public events and networking opportunities; job shadowing; one-on-one meetings with relevant staff members; working as part of a team on a project or event; client meetings; partner meetings.

YLAI Professional Fellows will dedicate some of their time to developing a Strategic Action Plan that might focus on expanding their customer/donor/member base, scaling their business, building a new initiative, etc. YLAI Hosts can offer constructive feedback, resources, relevant research, local contacts, etc. that might help strengthen their fellow’s Strategic Action Plan.


Q. What sort of ongoing responsibilities will I have during the Fellowship?
A. We recommend that you set aside time for brief daily check-ins, make sure your fellow has a clear understanding of their daily schedule, and check in weekly with a local YLAI Professional Fellows Program staff member. These local staff members and the full-time YLAI Team in Washington, DC will be there to support you throughout the program!


Q. Will YLAI Professional Fellows have insurance?
A. The U.S. Department of State will provide accident and sickness coverage for the duration of the U.S. exchange.


Q. Is there any financial responsibility associated with becoming a YLAI host?
A. No. YLAI Professional Fellows will be provided with local lodging in their fellowship city and a stipend for meals, incidentals, and transportation to and from the fellowship site. If the fellow is accompanying the host to an event or meeting as part of the program, the host is welcome to provide transportation. 


Q. What is the age range of selected YLAI Professional Fellows?
A. Professional Fellows are between 21-35 years old.

Q. What countries are YLAI Professional Fellows from?
A. Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, 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, and Venezuela.


Q. In what areas do the YLAI specialize in?
A. We anticipate their specialization in a wide variety of sectors including healthcare, technology, civic leadership, and more. Our goal is to connect each Fellow with an appropriate organization for their respective sector of interest, so that it is a mutually beneficial experience.


Q. How prepared are the YLAI Fellows to visit and work in the United States?
A. We anticipate that the YLAI fellows will range in their international traveling and business experience, but the YLAI team will adequately prepare the fellows about what to expect during this fellowship. The YLAI team has also designed an onboarding training and orientation for the fellows to attend once they arrive in the United States prior to traveling to their city hub.

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