Citi, together with the Citi Foundation, is investing US$35 million in a philanthropic initiative to help improve the employability of young people from low-income and underserved communities in Asia Pacific. It is offering them 6,000 jobs and 60,000 skills-training opportunities over the next three years.
The commitments are part of the bank’s expanded global Pathways to Progress programme, which seeks to position the youth at the centre of efforts in addressing the most pressing challenges in the region and accelerating progress towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Citi said in a statement.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), Asia Pacific is home to more than half of the world’s youth population, with 700 million people aged 15 to 24 years. While they represent 20% of the total working-age population, they account for almost half of the jobless in the region. Covid-19, along with the economic crisis it has engendered, is compounding the issue. It is projected that joblessness among the youth in 13 countries will skyrocket this year, and in some cases double from the rates in 2019.
Citi will offer the jobs and skills-training opportunities across its retail and institutional businesses in region through its summer internship programme, full-time analyst and associate roles, on-campus programmes, and Citi University Partnerships in Innovation & Discovery (CUPID) Programme.
The CUPID programme engages diverse students on a range of innovation projects across the company. To provide students the opportunity to experience banking despite the pandemic, Citi Asia Pacific launched a first-of-its-kind Virtual Reality Intern Experience programme, open for enrollment to students around the world. The programme offers “lifelike” on-the-job tasks and skills training relevant to an analyst role across three different businesses at Citi, namely banking, capital markets and advisory (BCMA), markets and securities services, and consumer banking.
The Citi Foundation’s grant investments will focus on programmes that serve low-income and underserved communities who have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19, including young women at risk, migrant youth, minorities and youth with disabilities. Since 1999, the foundation has invested over US$280 million in grant funds. Pathways to Progress also engages thousands of volunteers among Citi staff, who lend their time and talent to serve as mentors, coaches and role models to young people.