NJCU’s Guarini Institute Partnering with U.S. State Department’s Young Leaders from the Americas Program

March 25, 2024
YLAI fellow Luis Francisco Ornelas with Dr. Adrian Franco

JERSEY CITY, N.J. | The New Jersey City University (NJCU) Guarini Institute for International Education and Economic Mobility has been selected this academic year as a partner organization of the Young Leaders from the  Americas (YLAI) program overseen by The United States Department of State.

The aim of the YLAI program is to empower entrepreneurs to strengthen their capacity to launch and advance their entrepreneurial ideas and effectively contribute to social and economic development in their communities. As such, partner organizations like NJCU’s Guarini Institute serve as the host to Latin American entrepreneurs for four-week fellowships where the fellow will develop a project while collaborating with the host organization.

NJCU has hosted four fellows since last year, including two during an ongoing four-week fellowship this month. Sergio Alonso Tenorio, a fellow from Peru, is working alongside the Fintech & Sports Wagering Innovation Center while Luis Francisco Ornelasa Mexican entrepreneur who leads a software development firm and has designed innovative health-related tech products, is completing a fellowship with the Guarini Institute.

Adrián Francothe Executive Director of the Guarini Institute at NJCU, highlighted the benefits of the program, saying: "Hosting YLAI fellows represents an invaluable opportunity for NJCU. These young entrepreneurs offer our institution unique expertise and ideas to advance impactful initiatives. They also underscore NJCU's connection with the Latino and the Latin America community."

Since 2015, more than 1,000 fellows from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada have been connected with businesses and organizations across the United States through the Young Leaders from the Americas. 

Ornelas will be working on a strategic marketing plan for the new platform brokenNOTBROKE.org created by the Guarini Institute to facilitate access to information on financial resources for childhood cancer. He noted that he is very excited and grateful for the opportunity to learn from experts in the marketing area in a project that will impact the health industry.

2024 Fellow Sergio Tenorio
Sergio Tenorio is a March 2024 fellow working along the new Fintech & Sports Wagering Innovation Center.

Meanwhile, Tenorio is working along the new Fintech & Sports Wagering Innovation Center. Originally from Peru, Sergio is COO and partner at a broadcast and production company for Esports. During his fellowship, he is supporting the Center in developing its programming calendar and designing its new space at the School of Business. 

Tenorio stated: "I'm learning a lot about the Innovation Center and its relationship with different stakeholders. This will help me understand more about how to work with betting companies back in LATAM [Latin America]."

David Naczycz, executive director of the FinTech & Sports Wagering Innovation Center, added: “We are excited to be participating in the YLAI program and to be hosting Sergio. We are getting a lot of value from him for the center and we are glad that we can be supporting his growth as an entrepreneur and, through that, be contributing to the economic development of Peru."

About the Guarini Institute for International Education and Economic Mobility:
Launched in November 2020, the Institute’s mission is to create novel tools to facilitate the economic mobility of individuals and families experiencing financial hardship. Its vision is that financially vulnerable individuals and families have access to relevant information and resources to improve their upward economic mobility. The Institute has previously facilitated formal agreements between NJCU and the Mexican Government, higher education institutions in Ireland and the Port of Ashdod in Israel. In November 2023, the Guarini Institute advanced an MOU partnership between NJCU and GLACO — Grupo Latinoamericano de Cónsules en New Jersey — an alliance made up of 17 Latin American consulates, to explore ways for NJCU to collaborate with the consulates, and thus will, strengthen both institutions' commitment to serving Hispanic communities in New Jersey.

About NJCU: 
New Jersey City University is a comprehensive public regional institution of higher learning located in Jersey City, N.J., dedicated to the development of our students, our city, our communities, and our state. We are a game-changing force for our students and have been recognized as one of the top colleges in the nation improving their upward economic mobility. In fact, NJCU has been ranked No. 1 in New Jersey and Top 10 in the nation in the CollegeNET Social Mobility Index for 2023. Whether enrolled in one of our undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral programs at our three locations, NJCU students have access to an affordable, diverse environment, and an exceptionally supportive faculty. This prepares them to go on to become the next generation of workers and leaders who improve their communities and the State of New Jersey.


Ira Thor, Associate Vice President for University Communications | ithor@njcu.edu | 201-200-3301