Youth Opportunity Fund

Per scholas City linkThe Youth Opportunity Fund, led by the Citi Foundation and America’s Promise Alliance, provides grants to nonprofits working in innovative ways to place low-income young adults on a path to college and career success in cities across the United States.

America's Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest network of national organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth, provides technical assistance and convenes grantees to collaborate on the most effective ways to expand youth economic opportunity in their communities.
The Fund is part of the Citi Foundation’s Pathways to Progress initiative, which launched in 2014 in the United States with a $50 million, three-year commitment that helped more than 100,000 young people, ages 16-24, across 10 cities to become career-ready through first jobs, internships, and leadership and entrepreneurship training.  In February 2017 the Citi Foundation announced a global expansion of the Pathways to Progress initiative with a $100 million, three-year investment to prepare 500,000 young people for today’s competitive job market. 


Together, we have invested in an extraordinary group of organizations that are giving thousands of low-income young people a leg up and the support they need to get on a path to success.

To date, 24 organizations have received $250,000 Youth Opportunity Fund grants.

Relationships Come First: How Four Career Development and Workforce Readiness Programs Prepare Young People for Work and Life

Relationships What role do relationships play in fostering workforce development and career readiness among ‘risk-immersed’ youth? Center for Promise researchers visited four Youth Opportunity fund programs across the country –  Café Momentum in Dallas, Per Scholas in the Bronx, Urban Alliance in Washington, D.C., and Year Up in the Bay Area – to learn how they meet the wide-ranging needs of young people they serve while preparing them for careers.

Relationships Come First: How Four Career Development and Workforce Readiness Programs Prepare Young People for Work and Life provides a summary of several bodies of literature that have shaped career development interventions for young people, describes each career development and workforce readiness program in more detail, and shares findings and common themes that emerged across program sites. This study builds on the Center for Promise’s work examining the importance of relationships for keeping young people in school and on a path to adult success.

Read the full report and learn more about the four organizations here. For more stories about all Youth Opportunity Fund community partners, visit our Medium page.


Turning Points: How Young People in Four Career Pathways Programs Describe the Relationships that Shape Their Lives

Turning PointsAs a follow up study to Relationships Come First: How Four Career Development and Workforce Readiness Programs Prepare Young People for Work and Life, the Center for Promise presents Turning Points: How Young People in Four Career Pathways Programs Describe the Relationships that Shape Their Lives.

Turning Points builds on the programmatic insights from Relationships Come First by asking young people enrolled in career pathways programs in four cities – Café Momentum in Dallas; Per Scholas in the Bronx, Urban Alliance in Washington, DC, and Year Up in the Bay Area – to describe how the relationships in their lives shape their development.

Through young people’s stories and pictures, the report offers a closer look at webs of support, systems of relationships that help young people achieve success, and cores, or clusters of relationships, such as those in a career pathways program.

Read the full report and hear from four young people from the pathway programs researched in Turning Points about how they overcame various life circumstances with the help of their webs of support and workforce development programs. 


2016 Grantees


Sociedad Latina will work with the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development and three other Latino-led organizations in Boston to help 250 youth in the Mission Hill and Roxbury communities prepare for the workforce and pursue college and career pathways. Seventy-five percent of the young adults will receive hands-on experience through paid apprenticeship placements.



Genesys Works, in partnership with Chicago Public Schools and the local business community, will provide 735 low-income youth with college- and career-readiness support, including workforce training, paid internships in the IT or accounting sectors, college counseling, and support with the transition into the workforce.



United Way of Metropolitan Dallas will work with the Dallas Independent School District and City Year to provide 275 high school students from low-income families with the tools to support their successful transition to post-secondary education and become workforce-ready. The Skills to Succeed program will provide students with daily intensive academic, social and emotional support, plus “soft skills” training in teamwork, critical thinking and financial literacy. 


Los Angeles

Los Angeles Conservation Corps in partnership with municipal agencies, will help 300 young adults from underserved communities pursue clean tech jobs. An environmentally-focused workforce development program, Green Career Pathways will provide a paid work experience, specialized training, employment transition services, and the opportunity to earn an industry-recognized certification in the “green jobs” sector.



Greater Miami Service Corps will work with the Miami-Dade County government to launch Corps to Career, which will provide 300 out-of-school young adults who have participated in GMSC service-learning opportunities with the chance to use what they’ve learned in work experience opportunities at city, state and county offices including the airport, hospital, tourism, public works and parks venues.


New York City

STRIVE will partner with the East Harlem Talent Network to create Serve UP Harlem, a program that will train 250 youth from low-income families for entry-level jobs in New York City’s fast-growing food service and hospitality sector. The program will also provide wrap-around supports such as case management, career planning, financial literacy training, and help exploring education options.


Urban Upbound will work with the New York City Housing Authority to help 350 young adults living in public housing earn credentials for jobs in the construction sector in their communities. This training will supplement Urban Upbound’s existing employment training with CUNY’s Career Pathways Roadmaps and provide additional academic, financial and workplace skills.



NPower will engage 300 underserved youth in Newark and Jersey City to prepare them for high quality jobs in the technology sector. Through partnerships with industry leaders and local high schools, NPower will offer students work-based learning and hands on app development training. Through its Technology Service Corps, a workforce development program, NPower will provide young adults with technology and soft-skills training and apprenticeships at leading companies and nonprofits.


St. Louis

Wyman Center will work with STL Youth Jobs and the United Way of Greater St. Louis to support more than 300 young adults from under-resourced environments to thrive in the workforce, today and in the future. Youth will participate in paid positions, job shadow opportunities, career mentoring and ongoing quality programming. Through these experiences, youth will build essential skills and ultimately achieve success through financial stability and fulfilling work.


San Francisco Bay Area

Youth Radio will prepare 250 low-income young adults for Bay Area jobs in media and technology through intensive training, college credit (in partnership with Peralta Community College), industry certification (from the CA Division of Apprenticeship Standards), wraparound support, and paid job placement.


Washington, DC

Per Scholas National Capital Region will work with the D.C. Office of Youth Programs, Prince George's County and Montgomery County to prepare 250 young adults for jobs in the technology field. The Connecting the Path program will help youth become career-ready and provide industry certification and job placement assistance.


Year Up National Capital Region will provide 400 young adults who are not in school and unemployed with rigorous technical and professional skills training (through a partnership with Northern Virginia Community College) and a six-month corporate internship.


Read full profiles of the 2015 grantees.


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About 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