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

Aims to Reduce Youth Unemployment in Cities through First Jobs, Internships, Business Training and Leadership Development

Addresses Findings of a New Global Study Showing Youth Optimism Is High But Opportunities and Skills are Lacking

NEW YORK--()--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 10 U.S. 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 rate1, 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. in cities including Chicago, Dallas, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tampa, and Washington DC and $50 million will be invested internationally in cities including Beijing, Casablanca, Johannesburg, London, Madrid, Mexico City, Mumbai, São Paulo, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei and Warsaw, with a target to reach 500,000 young people globally. Select programming includes:


  • 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 the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship to expand start-up training that activates the entrepreneurial mindset - including through online course offerings - for 15,000 young people across 10 U.S. cities over the next two years;
  • Expanding Management Leadership for Tomorrow’s Ascend program supporting first-generation, low-income college students to complete college and graduate prepared to pursue professional careers.


  • 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;
  • Expanding Youth Business International’s efforts to provide more than 5,000 young aspiring entrepreneurs across European cities such as Paris, Milan and Madrid with entrepreneurship training, access to capital, mentoring and other business development services;
  • Supporting Glasswing International to offer vocational training workshops and mentoring programs that guide young people in Central American cities, including Panama City and San Salvador, through school-to-work transition and employment preparation.

“The constant urban demographic pressure at the level of the Grand Casablanca presents many challenges for all city dwellers, especially youth,” said Casablanca Mayor Abdelaziz El Omari. “To tackle this the city of Casablanca, has opted for smart urbanization based on an innovative strategy that links economic, political and social development and allows for the integration of technologies. To achieve this ambition, Casablanca boasts an original, participatory modus operandi in which youth, citizens, companies and local actors are invited to contribute to nurture the future of the city. We strongly believe that the Pathways to Progress program launched by the Citi Foundation aligns perfectly with our vision.”

"The City of Madrid is delighted to collaborate with Citi Foundation and IESE Business School, within Citi’s Pathways to Progress program, to support entrepreneurship in the city of Madrid,” said Roberto Sanchez, General Manager of Innovation and City Promotion, Madrid. “Thanks to the projects which encompass four years of collaboration, we have helped many entrepreneurship projects to internationalize, innovate, grow and thus create economic wealth for our community."

“With the rising youth unemployment rates globally, it’s imperative to help the youth build up their confidence and cultivate their leadership skills and competitiveness,” said Dr. Tien-Mu Huang, Vice Chairman, Financial Supervisory Commission, Republic of China (Taiwan). “The Citi Foundation's Pathways to Progress initiative not only helps disadvantaged youth get access to education and employment opportunities, but also utilizes Citi’s expertise and its people to mentor young people to discover their talents and realize their full potential for greater social impact. This has set a great example of social responsibility for corporates.”

“This new commitment by the Citi Foundation will help organizations like Junior Achievement test and scale programming that helps more young people globally build a platform for their future success,” said Asheesh Advani, President and CEO, JA Worldwide. “We engage over 2,000 Citi volunteers each year who help deliver critical employability skills programming to millions of youth around the globe. Ensuring that young people do not get left behind is crucial to what we do and is what drives our work.”

Building on Our Progress

In the U.S., Pathways to Progress supported programming in 10 U.S. cities: Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Newark, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Through the Foundation’s initial $50 million initiative, our impact includes:

  • More than 6,000 young people had summer jobs—gaining real work experience and access to integrated financial education—through partnerships with mayors in eight cities;
  • 9,000 low-income youth participated in entrepreneurship training camps and business plan competitions and 132 businesses were started by youth entrepreneurs;
  • More than 10,000 youth across 10 cities enhanced their leadership and employability skills by participating in ServiceWorks, which engages young people through volunteerism;
  • Citi employees dedicated more than 34,000 volunteer hours through mentorship, coaching and support services to young people.

"Young people in Miami deserve the champions that match their optimism, diverse aspirations, and entrepreneurial spirit,” said Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado. “Our work with the Citi Foundation has given us the ability to provide more opportunities, including summer jobs that invest in the economic health of our young people teaching them financial empowerment skills which long-term improve, our city, and our country.”

“Through vital partnerships with the private sector, we are helping create more lasting foundational, career building opportunities for young people in St. Louis,” said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. “Pathways to Progress was instrumental in helping us expand our STL Youth Jobs summer employment program, and with this new commitment this year, we look forward to helping empower even more of our future leaders.”

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.”

“The Citi Foundation’s 2017 Global Youth Survey offers a fresh perspective on young people, a group that is often easily overlooked in political and economic discourse,” said Michael Rose AM, Chairman of The Committee for Sydney. “The results convey both optimism and concern: young people in Sydney are aspirational about their ability to succeed, but concerned about their career opportunities. The Committee for Sydney is passionate about promoting opportunities for young people, creating effective future leaders and ensuring that the city is a place for all to live and work. We look forward to taking these insights and working across sectors with partners like the Citi Foundation to ensure we match aspirations of today’s youth with opportunities for success.”

“This new research will help us identify where we can best continue to invest our efforts to bridge the gap between the entrepreneurial aspirations of young people and the challenges they face,” said Andrew Devenport, CEO of Youth Business International. “Citi Foundation’s new commitment demonstrates the “all in” mentality we need if we are going to truly tackle youth unemployment and drive sustainable economic development in Europe and around the world.”

For more information about Pathways to Progress and the study visit 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.


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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




Elizabeth Patella, 212-559-2477


Elizabeth Patella, 212-559-2477