Say Yes Buffalo Selected as Citi Foundation Youth Workforce Fund Grantee to Boost Access to Jobs Among Youth in Buffalo, NY

$4 million fund to support youth employment organizations across 15 U.S. cities

Buffalo, NY (October 24, 2017) – The Citi Foundation recently announced that Say Yes Buffalo has been awarded a grant from the 2017 Youth Workforce Fund, as part of its Pathways to Progress initiative to provide youth both in the U.S. and around the world with the training and access to jobs, including paid apprenticeships and internships. In partnership with America’s Promise Alliance, 15 nonprofit organizations across the U.S. will expand their programming to provide a range of employment opportunities in areas including environmental sustainability to robotics and culinary arts to coding.  Collectively, the Youth Workforce Fund is expected to reach more than 5,000 youth across the country.

Say Yes Buffalo will receive a grant of $250,000 to expand its Internship and Career Pathways Program.  The program provides opportunities for Say Yes Scholars (graduates of Buffalo Public high schools and current or recently graduated college students) to explore a variety of career opportunities open to them, obtain job seeking skills, professional-skills training and to secure paid summer internships with participating employers.

The Say Yes Buffalo Internship and Career Pathways Program is led by Say Yes Buffalo and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. Say Yes Buffalo is responsible for recruiting and working directly with program participants, and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership is responsible for recruiting and supporting participating businesses/employers.

“Citi is proud to collaborate with Say Yes, which works tirelessly to connect young people with workplace skills and employment opportunities.  The Citi Foundation’s $250,000 grant to the Say Yes Buffalo Internship and Career Pathways Program will help promote economic progress and create measurable impact in low-income communities.  We are excited that the Say Yes program, with the help of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, is working to reach its target goal of 50 Say Yes Scholars anointed as summer interns at a wide variety of WNY corporations. Through their internships, these young adults will build an entrepreneurial mindset, acquire leadership and financial literacy skills, and begin to engage in the formal economy through a first job.  Citi volunteers will assist with workshops that will help enhance their career readiness and workplace skills,” said Anthony Vazquez, Buffalo site president at Citi. “We believe that by partnering with nonprofits like Say Yes Buffalo to provide young adults with career readiness tools and opportunities, we are actively steering their futures towards financial success.”

“The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is proud to have assisted in the development of Say Yes Buffalo’s Internship and Career Pathways Program and excited to see how it will grow given the generous contribution from Citi Foundation,” said Dottie Gallagher-Cohen, President & CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.  “Being able to expose Say Yes Buffalo graduates to meaningful internship experiences will not only help these students secure professional skills training, but help local employers identify new and promising talent to grow and develop as employers throughout our region struggle to attract and retain a qualified workforce with 21st century skills.”

Access to apprenticeships, internships and vocational training is essential to empowering youth and preparing them to compete in today’s economy. According to the Citi Foundation’s Global Youth Survey 2017: Economic Prospects & Expectations, 78% of young people surveyed believe that internships and apprenticeships are critical for career success; however, 60% say there aren’t enough of these opportunities.

“While there is much focus on the skills mismatch among today’s youth and the jobs available, there are a lot of community organizations across the U.S. that are changing the dynamics around youth employment in their communities,” said Brandee McHale, president of the Citi Foundation. “Through the Youth Workforce Fund, we’re supporting those organizations that are expanding the skills of young people, building their networks, and connecting them to jobs.”

America’s Promise Alliance, the largest coalition of youth-serving organizations across the United States, will help us promote the adoption of new ideas that arise from Youth Workforce Fund programming. “We know that for many youth there is not one straight line to success and that the more opportunities young people have to work in real-world environments, the better chance they have for future economic mobility and success” added John Gomperts, President & CEO of America’s Promise Alliance. “The programs supported by the Youth Workforce Fund reflect different pathways into the workforce that are essential for helping more young people beat the odds.”


About The Say Yes Buffalo Partnership

Launched in 2012, the Say Yes Buffalo partnership is a community collaboration dedicated to strengthening the city’s public school system and increasing high school and postsecondary graduation rates.  Comprised of the Buffalo Public School District, City of Buffalo, Erie County, the Buffalo Teachers Federation, the District Parent Coordinating Council and more than one-hundred other funders and community-based-organizations is made possible by the collaboration and generosity of Western New York individuals, families, businesses and organizations and Say Yes to Education. More information at www.SayYesBuffalo.org.

About the 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.

About America’s Promise Alliance

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.


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