Citizens Bank and the Citizens Bank Foundation are awarding grants totaling $275,000 in support of workforce development and youth summer jobs programs. The grants will help five community organizations in Boston and Springfield, Massachusetts.
Through its Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities initiative, Citizens is awarding grants to The Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, Boston Private Industry Council (PIC), the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, Roca, Inc., and YMCA of Greater Boston. The grants will enable each organization to activate or maintain programming that contributes to the economic vitality of Massachusetts by supporting effective workforce development and job creation programs.
“Citizens Bank understands the value of investing in tomorrow’s workforce today by providing youth and adults with the opportunity to become self-sufficient,” said Jerry Sargent, President, Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens Massachusetts. “It is gratifying to see the exciting and innovative job-training and workforce development programs our community partners are putting into action throughout our Commonwealth.”
“Through its generous support of our community programs focusing on workforce development, Citizens Bank is making a real difference for the future leaders of our City,” said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “Citizens is providing an opportunity for students who have worked hard all year to learn and test their skills in a business environment.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the youth labor force--16- to 24-year-olds working or actively looking for work--grows sharply between April and July each year. During these months, large numbers of high school and college students search for or take summer jobs, and many graduates enter the labor market to look for or begin permanent employment.
“It is critical that our young people obtain the skills they need to succeed later in life and provide hope and opportunity now,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. “That is why we appreciate having partners in the community, like ROCA, and Citizens Bank who understand the importance our young people play in our community’s future success. I would like to thank Citizens Bank for stepping up to the plate and partnering with Roca to provide summer employment and job training for young people here in Springfield.”
Youth employment and job skills
To help more young people in Massachusetts reach their full potential, Citizens is supporting programming to help youth at these community organizations in Boston and Springfield.
Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, Inc.
The Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston, Inc., will utilize a $100,000 grant from the Citizens Bank Foundation to provide more than 70 quality jobs for at-risk youth in local community-based and faith-based organizations while activating eight Teen Café sites throughout Boston. Together, the jobs and café programming will provide youth aged 14 to 21 with meaningful summer employment, job skills and job search training and financial literacy while offering 700 youth a safe place to be on summer nights and weekends.
“The Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston is proud to be a partner with Citizens in this great work,” said Reverend David Wright, Esq., Executive Director for the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston. “For many youth, this will be the first job that they have ever had. For all of them, it will be a way to be safe and engaged with caring adults.”
Citizens Bank has partnered with the Boston PIC for many years and this year is awarding $50,000 to help implement Boston Mayor Menino’s Summer Jobs Program. In addition to monetary support, this summer Citizens Bank will hire 15 students to work in its Medford location.
“The summer jobs program at Citizens Bank exemplifies the model the Boston PIC seeks with its corporate partners—a program run by an organization that cares about the development of its city’s young workforce,” said Neil Sullivan, Executive Director for the PIC. “Students working at Citizens acquire valuable workplace skills, including understanding what it is to have a boss and how to deal with him in a productive and a constructive way, how to take criticism without seeing it as a challenge, how to solve problems and how to finish the assignments they are given.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston will utilize a $50,000 grant from the Citizens Bank Foundation for its Young Leaders Program, which provides summer jobs to 50 youth, aged 13 to 14. The Young Leaders Program helps participants develop good character and citizenship while preparing them for future success in education and the workforce.
“Helping our members achieve academic success and build good character and citizenship are two areas of focus for our organization,” said Josh Kraft, Nicholas President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston. “We are thankful for the expanded partnership with Citizens that supports this critical program that helps our members develop leadership skills through opportunities that focus on career exploration and community involvement.”
Roca, Inc., is using a $25,000 grant from the Citizens Bank Foundation for its Youth Workforce Development Program in Springfield, Mass. This transitional employment program helps very high-risk young men, aged 17 to 24, move toward economic self-sufficiency by engaging them in training workshops and paid work experience.
“The Citizens Bank Foundation has been a crucial partner for years. With the Foundation’s support, Roca has been able to provide educational and pre-vocational training – without which, our young people cannot succeed in our transitional employment programming,” said Molly Baldwin, Founder and CEO at Roca, Inc. “We are extremely thankful to the Citizens Bank Foundation for providing this support and helping our young people succeed in life, education, and the economy.”
Adult job training
A $50,000 grant from the Citizens Bank Foundation will support the YMCA of Greater Boston’s Training, Inc. program, which helps low-income, unemployed adults gain computer and office skills to begin new family-supporting careers.
“We are grateful to have a true partner in Citizens Bank. Citizens takes the time to understand our mission providing direct support and policy volunteers that further strengthens our ability to help children and families,” said Kevin Washington, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Boston. “This commitment of $50,000 will ensure that 120 adults will have the skills needed to secure a job with a living wage and the opportunity for professional advancement.”
Citizens Helping Citizens Strengthen Communities is part of the bank’s broader Citizens Helping Citizens program addressing five key areas: hunger, housing, economic development, financial education and volunteerism. Get more information about Citizens Bank’s community initiatives online.
About Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank is a division of RBS Citizens, N.A., operating its seven-state branch network in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. It has 252 branches and 754 ATMs in Massachusetts.