Citi Asia Pacific and the Citi Foundation today announced a collective commitment of US$35 million in philanthropic investments to advance economic opportunities and employability for youth from low-income and underserved communities in the region by 2023. In addition, the bank will offer 6,000 jobs and 60,000 job skills training opportunities for young people at Citi Asia over the next three years.
This initiative is designed to equip young people with the skills and confidence to improve their employment and entrepreneurship opportunities and make a positive impact in their lives and their communities in rapidly changing economies, Citi said in a statement.
The increased commitment is in response to the impact of COVID-19 on youth employment in the region. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), Asia Pacific is home to more than half of the world’s youth population, with 700 million youth aged 15 to 24 years. While they represent 20 percent of the total working-age population, this youth segment accounts for almost half of the Asia Pacific’s jobless. The pandemic and resulting economic crisis have further challenged this issue. Projections through the end of 2020 in 13 countries show sizable jumps, with youth unemployment rates doubling the 2019 rate in some cases.
“Communities in the Asia Pacific are facing a youth unemployment crisis, especially among low income and underserved groups, due to the impact of COVID-19. Young people are key to Asia Pacific’s COVID-19 recovery and this investment will help them advance their economic opportunities and support inclusive growth in the region,” said Peter Babej, Citi’s Asia Pacific CEO.
On its employment and training, Citi has committed to over the next three years to offer 6,000 jobs and 60,000 skills training opportunities across Citi’s retail and institutional businesses in the Asia Pacific through its summer internship program, full-time analyst and associate roles, on-campus programs, and opportunities with Citi University Partnerships in Innovation & Discovery (CUPID) Program.
Citi Foundation grant investments will focus on programs 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.