2016-08-31 / Features

Urban Upbound Wins Youth Opportunity Grant

The Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance announced that Urban Upbound has been awarded a grant from the 2016 Youth Opportunity Fund, an initiative that is part of a $3 million commitment that supports programs that connect youth to opportunities that increase their employability and prepare them to compete and thrive in a 21st century economy.

The Youth Opportunity Fund is part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, and supports organizations that help empower urban youth, ages 16 to 24. The Fund focuses on non-profits in 10 of the largest U.S. cities. Urban Upbound is one of 12 organizations selected in 2016 to receive a one-year, $250,000 grant. With this grant, Urban Upbound is excited to launch Exploration in Construction (EPIC), an initiative to prepare youth living in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments with the skills to enter NYC’s growing construction sector. Urban Upbound is committed to expanding employment services that create opportunities for young adults to enter and advance in viable career pathways. EPIC is part of this expansion, and is expected to benefit up to 350 young adults in NYCHA developments, including Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria, Woodside, and Redfern Houses – helping them to start a career in the construction sector where many positions pay middle-class wages.

Building on its partnership, NYCHA will refer unemployed young adults to EPIC. EPIC will provide youth with construction skills training, adult-level basic education, wraparound case management support, career and financial counseling, and opportunities to network with construction employer partners.

“We’re excited to be a part of a momentous movement funded by Citi Foundation and fueled by NYCHA,” said Bishop Mitchell Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of Urban Upbound. “We’re looking forward to expanding opportunities for our youth and leading them down pathways of opportunity.

The Youth Opportunity Fund supports programs that address youth unemployment through partnerships with select municipal governments and collaborations across industries, including IT, technology, healthcare, the service industry and environmental sustainability.

The 2016 cohort will add opportunities in construction, clean technology and communications. To date, 24 organizations have received support, reaching more than 7,000 youth.

In its first two years, over 70,000 young people have been impacted by the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, a three-year, $50 million commitment to give 100,000 low-income youth in the U.S. the opportunity to develop workplace skills and leadership experience.

To learn more about the Youth Opportunity Fund and see a full list of 2016 grantees, visit www.americaspromise.org/program/youth-opportunity-fund.

“There is a scarcity of jobs for youth, the unemployment rate for individuals who are 16-24 is extremely high, persons of color and those in low-income areas are most affected,” said Danielle Lorenzo, College Access and Youth Development Manager of Urban Upbound. “The Citi Foundation’s Youth Opportunity Fund will allow Urban Upbound to launch new initiatives to train youth for careers in New York City’s fastest-growing sectors. These efforts will enhance the organizations’ efforts to help young people in NYCHA housing developments obtain new skill-sets and the experience they need to succeed in the workplace.”

“Thanks to this partnership, NYCHA and Urban Upbound will be connecting young people with more tools for economic success, including job-training for quality careers and financial planning resources,” said Shola Olatoye, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). “Together, we are lifting up the next generation of young residents and increasing pathways to opportunity for this generation and the next.”

“Since we launched the Youth Opportunity Fund, grantees have demonstrated what it takes to give young people the chance to unlock their full career and economic potential,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “We are excited to support the innovative work of this new cohort of community partners and look forward to promoting their learning and success.”

“Students who earn a high school diploma have a greater chance of becoming employed, but without the right skills and connections, better job opportunities may be out of reach,” said John Gomperts, President and CEO of America’s Promise. “The Youth Opportunity Fund helps to even the odds by giving more young people the training and support they need to get on a path to adult success.”

Urban Upbound (formerly ERDA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to breaking cycles of poverty in New York City public housing neighborhoods. Urban Upbound serves more than 12,500 individuals per year living in public housing with the tools and resources needed to achieve economic prosperity and self-sufficiency through five comprehensive, integrated programs: employment services, financial counseling, income support services, neighborhood revitalization initiatives, and financial inclusion services anchored by the Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union. For more information, visit www.urbanupbound.org.

America’s Promise Alliance leads an alliance of organizations, communities and individuals dedicated to making the promise of America real for every child. As its signature effort, the GradNation campaign mobilizes Americans to increase the on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020 and prepare young people for postsecondary enrollment and the 21st century workforce. For more information, visit www.americaspromise.org.

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. They 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 their mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.

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