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Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress Expands Globally With a $100 Million Commitment to Prepare 500,000 Young People for Today’s Job Market

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February 22, 2017 – Citi today announced a global expansion of the Pathways to Progress initiative led by a Citi Foundation investment of $100 million to connect 500,000 young people, ages 16-24, to training and jobs over the next three years. This is the largest philanthropic commitment in the Citi Foundation’s history. Pathways launched in 2014, with a $50 million effort that helped more than 100,000 young people across ten cities become career-ready through first jobs, internships, and leadership and entrepreneurship training.

The expansion also includes a commitment to have 10,000 Citi employees volunteer to serve as mentors, coaches and role models to young people and support their career progress. Pathways to Progress aims to help reduce youth unemployment in key cities around the world and improve the quality of the youth workforce.  Globally, the youth unemployment rate is three times higher than the adult unemployment rate[1], which reflects a gap in the skills and networks many young people currently possess and what is required by many employers or needed to successfully launch an income-generating business.

“The playing field isn’t level for all young people and Citi wants to help change that,” said Citi CEO Michael Corbat.  “Mentors, internships and exposure to a variety of career opportunities help young people get a foot in the door and provide the foundation they need to thrive in their careers – those are the things Pathways to Progress helps provide to those who might not have access to them otherwise. Young people consistently say they want to pursue careers that allow them to contribute to important societal issues, and I firmly believe that matching that ambition with the skills provided through Pathways will benefit all of us when they enter the workforce.”

Global Expansion of Pathways to Progress

Through the expansion of Pathways to Progress, Citi and the Citi Foundation continue to work with municipal and community leaders to help young people secure jobs, begin to engage in the formal economy, and contribute positively to their cities. $50 million will be invested in the U.S. and $50 million will be invested internationally, with a target of to reach 500,000 young people globally. Select programming includes:

  • Expanding Youth Business International’s efforts to provide more than 5,000 young aspiring entrepreneurs across European cities such as Sweden, Paris, Milan and Madrid with entrepreneurship training, access to capital, mentoring and other business development services
  • Continuing our 30 year partnership with JA Europe across 19 European countries including Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, to impact another 48 000 young people this school year through the JA Company Programme and the Entrepreneurial Skills Pass.
  • Partnering with Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund and mayors across eight U.S. cities to create summer job and financial empowerment opportunities for more than 2,400 young people this year
  • Working with TechnoServe to establish a College Career Center in Mumbai that provides job skills training, career counselling and placement support to more than 1,200 young people transitioning from college to work

Global Youth Survey 2017: Economic Prospects & Expectations

In conjunction with the expanded Pathways to Progress investment, the Citi Foundation is also releasing the results of a survey of young people that will help inform the focus of its programs and partnerships.  The study, conducted by Ipsos, found that despite political, economic, and social upheaval, young people around the world are optimistic about their career prospects, but face the reality of limited skills and opportunities.

Key survey findings include:

  • Despite uncertainty and change across the globe, 70% of young people are optimistic about their career prospects. Optimism is even higher in cities across developing markets and the fact remains that worldwide 71 million young people are looking for work.[2]
  • More often than not, there is a mismatch in the jobs youth have and what they want to do. Globally, 55% of employed young people are currently working in an industry that they don’t aspire to work in.
  • 78% of young people believe internships/apprenticeships are critical for success; however 60% say there aren’t enough of these opportunities.
  • Three out of four young people are willing to work long hours and take risks to achieve their career aspirations.
  • Youth have the entrepreneurial spirit but are not starting businesses. Nearly 70% of young people surveyed aspire to be entrepreneurs, yet only 6% are actual entrepreneurs at present.

The global youth survey polled more than 7,000 young people ages 18-24 in 45 cities across 32 countries on all the continents except Antarctica between November 2016 and January 2017.

“Youth labor markets are evolving rapidly, so are the aspirations and optimism of young women and men who are entering the labor market every day and are confronted by unemployment and/or low quality jobs”, said Azita Berar Awad, Director of the Employment Policy Department at the International Labour Organization. “Channeling the voices of youth from cities across the world, the Citi Foundation’s Global Youth Survey 2017 offers important insights on youth’s perceptions, calling for improved and coordinated action, because, when young people have decent work, everyone benefits, and our future is more prosperous.”

For more information about Pathways to Progress and the study visit www.citifountion.com Follow @Citi on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and use the hashtag #Pathways2Progress to view more insights from the research and join the discussion with those interested in youth empowerment.


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.

Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com | Twitter: @Citi | YouTube: www.youtube.com/citi | Blog: http://blog.citigroup.com | Facebook: www.facebook.com/citi | LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/citi.

Citi Foundation

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 cities. The Citi Foundation's “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.


Citi Nordic Region

Anneli Sundström, Communications Director, Nordic region Citi, anneli.sundstrom@citi.com

[1] http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_337070.pdf

[2] http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---dcomm/---publ/documents/publication/wcms_513739.pdf