One of three communities nationwide to receive a second-year $250,000 Citi Foundation grant to support innovative youth employment programs
Wilmington, DE – Today at Bright Spot Farm in New Castle, West End Neighborhood House, in partnership with New Castle County, announced a $250,000 grant from the Youth Workforce Fund, part of the Citi Foundation's three-year, $100 million Pathways to Progress initiative to reduce youth unemployment through training and access to jobs. In partnership with America’s Promise Alliance, the Citi Foundation recently announced $4 million in grants to 15 U.S. communities to expand employment opportunities in a variety of areas, from environmental sustainability to robotics and culinary arts to coding. Collectively, these Youth Workforce Fund awards are expected to benefit more than 5,000 youth across the country.
Locally, the $250,000 grant will help provide employment services and paid work experiences for more than 150 young people in New Castle County and the City of Wilmington, ages 16-24. West End Neighborhood House will use its funds to strengthen its career path programs by (1) offering paid career path exploration and job placement opportunities throughout the year; (2) expanding the number and types of paid job placements; and (3) providing industry-specific job training that yields transferrable job skills. Expanded opportunities offered in 2019 include advanced soft skills and supervisory training, college preparation and entrepreneurship instruction. The program will also maximize the benefit to youth by partnering with the Internship Institute to help employers refine the overall employment experience. New Castle County will use its funds to support the 2019 Summer Youth Employment program, which provides career counseling, job training and paid summer job placements to youth in the City of Wilmington and across New Castle County.
Click HERE to watch a video of today’s announcement event
“We are ecstatic to have been chosen from among over 700 applicants over the last two years, and one of only three selected for a second year in a row,” said Paul Calistro, West End’s Executive Director. “In addition to providing paid work experience to 135 youth last year, we have refined the program to further expand opportunities for young people. Our ability to perform in a competitive market is a testament to our kids’ enthusiasm, interest and hard work, as well as the dedication of West End and New Castle County’s staff and employer partners.”
“We must reduce the high rate of youth unemployment and better prepare young people for the jobs of tomorrow,” New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer said. “Thank you to the Citi Foundation, West End Neighborhood House and local employers for supporting our county’s youth on the path to career success.”
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: 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.
“Youth Workforce Fund grantees are helping to equip local youth with the skills and training necessary to fill employment needs in their communities,” said Brandee McHale, president of the Citi Foundation. “By addressing the skills mismatch these organizations are opening new doors for young workers across America and introducing them to long-term, meaningful career opportunities in their local communities.”
“We are proud of the work West End Neighborhood House is doing in our local community as a result of the Citi Foundation’s Youth Workforce Fund grant to help low-income young adults become career-ready and reach their full potential,” Sandra Peterson, Delaware Citi Service Center Site President said. “Our Citi Delaware team is looking forward to further cultivating our partnership with them through various support initiatives, leveraging the skills of our highly talented and motivated employees.”
Youth and employers interested in learning more about the New Castle County Summer Youth and Year Round Employment Programs through both the County and West End should contact Michael Begatto in the New Castle County Department of Community Services at MBegatto@nccde.org or (302) 395-5624.
About West End Neighborhood House
Since 1883, West End Neighborhood House (West End) has provided assistance to help customers achieve ultimate self-sufficiency through outcomes-driven programming, utilizing innovative solutions to resolve complex social challenges throughout Delaware. West End serves approx. 10,000 individuals annually and employs a comprehensive approach to meet customers’ overall needs. The agency is an approved Private Business & Trade School of the Delaware Department of Education and is licensed by the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth & Their Families to operate a center for school age children. Program services are organized under six primary areas: Education, Employment, Financial Empowerment, Housing, Youth Services and Community Development. For more information, visit: www.westnendnh.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 New Castle County Summer Youth Employment Program
The New Castle County Summer Youth Employment Program is a ten week summer youth employment program designed to engage low income New Castle County residents, 14-20 years of age in having a productive summer, filled with work-based learning that helps to launch their careers. Youth are exposed (many for the first time) to the world of work that enables them to learn about the variety of occupations available, in and around New Castle County.
Jason Miller, Director of Communications, 302-545-1462
A. Wesley Davis, West End Neighborhood House, 302-345-1232