City Foundation to aid youth employment programs in 10 cities, including Miami


NEW YORK (AP) – The Citi Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Citigroup, will donate $50 million to improve youth employment opportunities in 10 large U.S. cities, including Miami, the chairman of the organization said Monday.

The commitment, which will be funded over three years, has been dubbed “Pathways to Progress” and will launch in June.

“This is greater than anything we’ve done in the 20 years of the foundation,” said Edward Skyler, chairman of the Citi Foundation. “We're committed to the communities where we have a presence.”

The organization has partnered with the big-city mayors and nonprofits to train teens for the workforce, create summer job opportunities and encourage entrepreneurship for young adults to form their own businesses.

“We know that a bank can’t create permanent jobs directly; if the federal government can’t do it, what hope do we have to do it alone?” said Skylar, a former deputy mayor under Michael Bloomberg. “But we want to help young people gain skills so they can join the labor force. As people get older, that gets harder and harder. This is the best opportunity we have.”

The program will launch in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Miami, Dallas, St. Louis, Newark, N.J., and Washington.

Specifics for Miami are not yet available. Overall, the donation will be directed to nonprofit organizations that will work in tandem with local mayor’s offices. There will be three major components to the project’s first wave that should help about 100,000 people in total, Skyler said.

The foundation and Points of Light, a volunteer organization, will launch AmericCorps programs in all 10 cities. Teenagers will develop leadership and team-building skills through volunteer and community service programs such as school revitalization projects, creating care packages for veterans and seniors, and organizing food drives.

In five of the cities – New York, Miami, Dallas, Chicago and San Francisco – the grant also will directly create paid summer jobs for teenagers and young adults who otherwise would be unemployed and more susceptible to the temptations of the street. The jobs, which for many will be their first for a paycheck, include staffing summer camps, parks, cultural organizations and government offices.

The money also will create so-called BizCamps that will teach young adults how to start their own businesses and how to prepare themselves for potential job interviews.

Said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, in a statement. “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.”

ation,” he said. “We’re committed to the communities where we have a presence.”

Miami Herald Reporter Ina Paiva Cordle contributed to this report.

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