Hong Kong – Citi Asia Pacific and the Citi Foundation today announced a collective commitment of US$35 million in philanthropic investments to advance economic opportunities and employability for youth from low-income and underserved communities in the region by 2023. In addition, the bank will offer 6,000 jobs and 60,000 job skills training opportunities for young people at Citi Asia over the next three years.
The regional commitments are part of Citi's expanded global Pathways to Progress initiative. This initiative is designed to equip young people with the skills and confidence to improve their employment and entrepreneurship opportunities and make a positive impact in their lives and their communities in rapidly changing economies.
The increased commitment is in response to the impact of COVID-19 on youth employment in the region. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), Asia Pacific is home to more than half of the world's youth population, with 700 million youth aged 15 to 24 years. While they represent 20 per cent of the total working-age population, this youth segment accounts for almost half of the Asia Pacific's jobless. The pandemic and resulting economic crisis has further challenged this issue. Projections through the end of 2020 in 13 countries show sizable jumps, with youth unemployment rates doubling the 2019 rate in some cases.1
"Communities in Asia Pacific are facing a youth unemployment crisis, especially among low-income and underserved groups, due to the impact of COVID-19. The expanded Pathways to Progress initiative underlines our effort to tackle this urgent issue by equipping and empowering young people with skills to improve their employment outcomes. Young people are key to Asia Pacific's COVID-19 recovery and this investment will help them advance their economic opportunities and support inclusive growth in the region," said Peter Babej, Citi's Asia Pacific CEO.
On its employment and training, Citi has committed to over the next three years to offer 6,000 jobs and 60,000 skills training opportunities across Citi's retail and institutional businesses in Asia Pacific through its summer internship program, full-time analyst and associate roles, on-campus programs and opportunities with Citi® University Partnerships in Innovation & Discovery (CUPID) Program.
The CUPID program engages diverse students on a range of innovation projects across the company. To provide students the opportunity to experience banking despite the pandemic, Citi Asia Pacific launched a first-of-its-kind Virtual Reality Intern Experience program, open for enrolment to students around the world.
The program offers 'lifelike' on-the-job tasks and skills training relevant to an analyst role across three different businesses at Citi - Banking, Capital Markets and Advisory (BCMA), Markets and Securities Services, and Consumer Banking.
Citi Foundation grant investments will focus on programs that serve low-income and underserved communities who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, including young women at risk, migrant youth, minorities and youth with disabilities.
In addition, Pathways to Progress programming on youth leadership and innovation will be strengthened, to recognize the role youth can play in enabling progress and finding solutions for the most pressing challenges faced by society.
In Asia Pacific, examples of Pathways to Progress programming funded in 2020 include:
Since 1999, the Citi Foundation, has been actively engaged across Asia Pacific, investing over $280 million in grant funds. In Pathways to Progress: Insights from Six Years of Programming, the Citi Foundation summarizes the learnings and insights gathered that have helped inform the programming and evolution of this initiative.
Pathways to Progress also engages thousands of Citi employee volunteers, who lend their time and talent to serve as mentors, coaches and role models to many young people.
1 Tackling the COVID-19 youth employment crisis in Asia and the Pacific: ILO and ADB, 2020
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The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant communities. The Citi Foundation's "More than Philanthropy" approach deploys the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation.
James Griffiths, firstname.lastname@example.org, 2868 7668