Today, around the world, there are more than 350 million opportunity youth – those youth that are unemployed, undereducated and out-of-school – that could benefit from resources to get them back in school or in the workforce. By providing opportunity youth with skills and job opportunities, we put them on a path to achieve economic success but the impact of this strategy reaches beyond the youth we touch. It has a multiplier effect that helps to improve the lives of family members, friends, their community and even their local economy.
For almost two decades, Prudential has been investing in providing the above mentioned resources through our partnership with YouthBuild International, an organization that helps opportunity youth learn construction skills by building affordable housing and community assets in their neighborhoods. On March 2, 2016, we were proud to partner with YouthBuild at the first-ever Prudential YouthBuild Global Service Day. The event brought together 70 YouthBuild students from Arizona, Mexico and El Salvador as well as Prudential employees, prominent government officials and community members to mark a key moment in the organization’s history and build two green homes for low-income families in Arizona.
I was fortunate to be a part of this milestone alongside Tim Cross, President of YouthBuild International. We were also both extremely honored to have Heather Higginbottom, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, join us. Deputy Secretary Higginbottom shares the same passion Prudential and YouthBuild have for helping young people reach their full potential. We were all inspired by the promising young people who participated and the stories they told of how YouthBuild impacts their lives.
Prudential’s work with YouthBuild has been focused on closing the opportunity gap by helping young people complete their continuing education goals. Additionally, the YouthBuild programs also teach them valuable job and life skills through construction projects that provide housing for homeless and lower-income families. The Prudential Foundation has provided more than $9.5 million to YouthBuild, to date, with this funding impacting more than 140,000 youths.
Prudential’s most recent commitment to YouthBuild was an investment of $1.5 million here in our hometown of Newark. This investment will help strengthen YouthBuild Newark’s organization structure, including staff and board development, while also helping to improve opportunity youth services citywide.
Outside of Newark, we helped launch YouthBuild programs in U.S. cities including Jacksonville, Minneapolis and Philadelphia. We’ve also worked with our real estate investment business to fund YouthBuild programs in Mexico and Brazil. The business and its partners were instrumental in establishing these programs by helping connect YouthBuild to government agencies, additional investors and contractors. This work is ongoing.
At Prudential, we know that providing access to quality jobs is critical to achieving financial and social mobility, especially for underserved populations. And our goal is to help young adults learn the skills necessary to improve their lives and achieve economic success. With YouthBuild, we’ve seen that there are no boundaries to what can be accomplished when the nonprofit, private and public sectors work together to reach a common goal. Thank you to everyone who helped to make our first Prudential YouthBuild Global Service Day a success. We look forward to continuing to build with all of you.