Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the specific responsibilities of Michiana host organizations that wish to participate in the YLAI Program? 

  • Attend an orientation session in late August or early September on the Notre Dame campus.
  • Provide a fellowship opportunity, four days a week for four weeks. Specific workday hours may be flexible on a case-by-case basis (for instance, after-school organizations that open in the afternoons).
  • Include your YLAI Fellow in a variety of activities to give them a window into how the organization operates.
  • Provide a workspace for the YLAI Fellow. 
  • Allow 1-2 hours during each workday for the YLAI Fellow to work on their own project.
  • Actively mentor the YLAI Fellow concerning their project throughout the four weeks.
  • Allow the YLAI Fellow to feel like a valued member of your organization's team.

What are the specific responsibilities of the NDIGD team?

  • Match YLAI Fellows with appropriate host organizations.
  • Arrange reliable and timely transportation to and from the location of each host organization.
  • Arrange lodging and logistics for the YLAI Fellows.
  • Daily check-ins with each YLAI Fellow.
  • Weekly check-ins with each host organization.
  • Programming in the evenings and for each Friday.
  • All reporting and communication with the U.S. Department of State and Meridian International. 

Who are the YLAI Fellows? 

The YLAI Fellows are emerging business or social entrepreneurs who have a demonstrated track record of at least two years of recent or current (and preferably successful) experience with either start-up businesses or social ventures.

What does it mean to be a YLAI host organization?

A host organization's emphasis should be on the YLAI 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 YLAI Fellow will spend at their host organization or company.

The ideal host organization should:

  • Be a micro-, small- or medium-enterprise, nonprofit, civic organization, or social venture in the Michiana region.
  • Have an interest in mentoring a young professional.
  • Be willing to make the YLAI Fellow a temporary, but valued member of their team.
  • Have an interest or experience in Latin America or the Caribbean.

What do YLAI Fellows expect to gain from the program?

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 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 YLAI 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. 

What should my organization expect to gain from the program?

The prestigious YLAI program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, offers host organizations 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 YLAI Fellow. Your organization will benefit from the unique perspective and entrepreneurial skills of an outstanding young leader from Latin America or the Caribbean.

The 250 YLAI 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 host organizations will have the opportunity to take part in a reverse exchange, during which they will have the opportunity to travel to their YLAI Fellow’s home country for continued collaboration, cultural immersion, and professional programming.

Will I be compensated for my involvement as a host organization?

YLAI host organizations will not be compensated financially for their involvement in the program.

How would my YLAI Fellow spend their time in my office?

Our goal is to make this a two-way exchange that creates opportunities for both parties to learn from each other. Possible activities that YLAI 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 Fellows will dedicate some of their time to developing a strategic action plan (SAP) that might focus on expanding their customer/donor/member base, scaling their business, building a new initiative, and the like. YLAI host organizations can offer constructive feedback, resources, relevant research, local contacts, and the like. that might help strengthen their YLAI Fellow’s SAP.

What sort of ongoing responsibilities will I, the primary contact at a host organization, have during the program?

We recommend that you set aside time for brief daily check-ins, make sure your YLAI Fellow has a clear understanding of their daily schedule, and check-in weekly with a local YLAI program staff member at Notre Dame. These local staff members and the full-time YLAI team in Washington, D.C., will be there to support you throughout the program.

Will YLAI Fellows have insurance?

The U.S. Department of State will provide accident and medical coverage for the duration of the program.

Is there any financial responsibility associated with becoming a YLAI host organization?

No. YLAI Fellows will be provided with local lodging in their fellowship city and a stipend for meals, incidentals, and transportation to and from the host organization location. If the YLAI Fellow is accompanying the host to an event or meeting as part of the program, the host is welcome to provide transportation. 

What is the age range of selected YLAI Fellows?

Fellows are between 21-35 years old.

What countries are YLAI Fellows from?

Numerous countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, including: 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.

In what areas do the YLAI Fellows specialize in?

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

How prepared are the YLAI Fellows to visit and work in the United States?

We anticipate that the YLAI Fellows will range in their international traveling and business experience, but the YLAI team will adequately prepare the YLAI Fellows about what to expect during this experience. The YLAI team has also designed an on-boarding training and orientation for the YLAI Fellows to attend once they arrive in the United States prior to traveling to Notre Dame and Michiana. The chosen YLAI Fellows will have proficiency in written and oral English that qualifies them to have working-level knowledge of English.