New York The Citi Foundation today announced Pathways to Progress, a three-year $50 million initiative to unlock economic opportunity for 100,000 low-income youth in 10 cities across the United States. Pathways to Progress is the largest single commitment ever made by the Citi Foundation, and through the initiative, the Citi Foundation will work with community partners, government officials and Citi volunteers to help young people ages 16-24 develop the workplace skills and leadership experience they will need to secure jobs and begin developing career paths. The Citi Foundation funded and developed Pathways to Progress over the last year, working with input from leading nonprofit partners. The program is focused on fostering career readiness through civic engagement, summer employment, and entrepreneurship training.
“If we want a strong labor force for generations to come, we need to make sure our country’s youth are prepared to meet the evolving needs of employers,” said Citi CEO Michael Corbat. “Through Pathways to Progress, we will connect young people with opportunities to fuel their own career ambitions and develop the skills that are needed in a 21st century economy. The professional success and civic engagement of our young men and women are critical to our economic competitiveness, and we are proud to support them.”
As job-creation efforts struggle to gain traction, Americans ages 16-24 who should be at the beginning of their working lives are facing a persistent 15 percent national unemployment rate – higher than many other groups – according to various sources. The economic slowdown and the decline of both manufacturing and family-run businesses all contribute to an inability of our nation’s youth to access entry-level jobs. For our country and its largest cities, the ripples of youth joblessness impact household and community stability and exacerbate the macroeconomic effects of broader unemployment.
Pathways to Progress will focus on 10 of the largest U.S. cities where Citi has a presence: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, St. Louis, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The initiative is launching with three elements developed in tandem with leading community partners who will identify and recruit low-income young adults with demonstrated potential for success. Additional programs will be developed during the course of the three-year campaign.
Pathways to Progress aims to develop opportunities for low-income urban youth to set education and career goals and develop visions and blueprints for their professional future. The new initiative will be bolstered by the active involvement of Citi volunteers and mentors, and will complement the Citi Foundation’s longtime focus on enabling college success for low-income students. The initiative will also bring together urban policymakers, private sector stakeholders and community leaders to learn from these programs and scale cross-sector approaches to tackling chronic youth joblessness.
“From the boardrooms of corporate America to the hallowed halls of Congress, preparing our youngest citizens for college and career is a responsibility we all share,” said U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “I applaud the Citi Foundation and its partners for putting the needs of our children first and coming together on Pathways to Progress. The innovative partnership among these organizations will help our nation’s young people succeed inside and outside the classroom while strengthening and building a thriving middle class.”
“I would like to commend the Citi Foundation on this important initiative,” said U.S. Senator and former Newark Mayor Cory Booker. “Our economy is recovering, but for young Americans especially, that recovery has been uneven, and chronic joblessness persists. There is simply no better investment we can make today to ensure sustained economic growth in the future than empowering our young people with the skills, confidence and access they need to choose a career where they can create better lives for themselves and their communities.”
“We need to use every tool possible to ensure we set all our city's students up for success,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I applaud the Citi Foundation’s investment in our youth. Initiatives like Pathways to Progress help to provide our low-income students an opportunity to acquire the job readiness skills needed to get their professional lives started on the right foot.”
“Through this initiative, Citi recognizes that the future economic strength and vibrancy of our city lies in the hands of our young adults,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative is another investment in the promise to Chicago’s young people that hard work done today is an investment in a future where opportunity and personal success are well within reach.”
“On behalf of the City of Los Angeles, I’d like to thank the Citi Foundation for partnering with our Hire L.A. Youth Summer Jobs program,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Hire L.A. Youth Summer Jobs will give 10,000 young Angelenos the skills they need to earn future success and ensure that Los Angeles has a competitive workforce for our economy.”
“With this initiative, the Citi Foundation is demonstrating that the path to a meaningful professional life often begins at a young age, with experiences that reward dedication and hard work with opportunities to learn and succeed,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez. “We have a collective responsibility to ensure that our city's young adults are given the opportunity to prepare themselves for the workforce of the future, and the Pathways to Progress program is an excellent model to make this a reality.”
“I commend the Citi Foundation for taking this important step to support our young residents,” said District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “Through successful initiatives like the District’s Summer Youth Employment Program, we’re working together to tackle joblessness and ensure that students and young adults are prepared to enter the workforce. Working with community partners like Citi, we are empowering the next generation to stand on their own, support their neighborhoods and ultimately, grow the District’s economy.”
“Through my Summer Jobs+ program, we partnered with our private sector to provide opportunities and experiences for San Francisco’s young people so that they can compete and win in the 21st century economy,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “While we connected more than 6,800 youths to jobs and internships last summer, even more needs to be done. That’s why I thank the Citi Foundation for collaborating with its community partners to help young men and women find a path to professional achievement and personal success.”
“Ensuring our young people have the confidence and skills necessary to succeed in this 21st century global economy is one of the best investments we can make,” Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. “I welcome Citi’s leadership in an initiative that leverages its own resources, people and the expertise of its community partners to improve the long-term employability of Dallas’ youth.”
“Meaningful opportunities, like the ones offered through the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress, are an immediate response to the need to provide youth with constructive ways to increase academic success, develop workplace skills, and spend their time in ways that reduce negative behaviors,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
“Boston is proud to work with the Citi Foundation to connect our next generation with opportunities and knowledge to help our youth formulate a blueprint for their own professional success,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Investments made today will create a skilled, confident, and motivated workforce for tomorrow that will continue propelling Boston’s local economy in the future.”
“With this initiative, the Citi Foundation and mayors around the country recognize that strengthening the career-readiness of young workers in a community may not only contribute to their own improved outcomes, but can help drive a region's economic growth through productivity gains, rising incomes and business attraction and retention,” said Sarah Rosen Wartell, President of the Urban Institute.
With a focus on 10 of the country’s largest cities, Pathways to Progress reinforces Citi’s commitment to deploy its resources, expertise and unmatched global presence to improve the ability of cities to modernize, operate efficiently, deliver high-quality public services, and expand economic opportunity. For more information about Citi’s work enabling progress in urban centers around the world, visit www.citiforcities.com.
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.
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The Citi Foundation
The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress in communities around the world and focuses on initiatives that expand financial inclusion. We collaborate with best-in-class partners to create measurable economic improvements that strengthen low-income families and communities. Through a “More than Philanthropy” approach, Citi’s business resources and human capital enhance our philanthropic investments and impact. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.