The Obama administration’s 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative has brought more than 72,000 students from Latin America and the Caribbean to study in the United States every year.

Nearly 47,000 U.S. students also are studying in countries around the region, Secretary of State John Kerry told the 45th Annual Washington Conference of the Council of the Americas April 21.

“Since President Obama first announced the 100,000 Strong Initiative in 2011, the student exchange figures are up 13 percent for U.S. students to the region and 12 percent for students from the region to the United States,” Kerry said, adding that the United States is expanding the initiative through an innovation fund with millions of dollars donated by the private sector.

The donor companies “are seeing how these partnerships create new exchange programs for students that could have a transformative impact and build the workforce that … [they] need in the 21st century.  It works that way. It’s a pretty simple proposition,” he said.

Kerry said young people in Latin America and the Caribbean are “more connected, more socially aware, more ambitious, more demanding than any prior generation,” with “very high expectations for their governments and for their own lives” and “impatient with impediments to social and economic mobility.”

Along with the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative, the United States is reaching out to youth in the region through its Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative and is investing $70 million in education, training and employment programs in Latin America and the Caribbean to help young people succeed in the 21st-century economy.