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Urban Alliance awarded $250,000 grant by Citi Foundation’s 2017 Youth Workforce Fund

WASHINGTON, D.C.The Citi Foundation today awarded Urban Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based youth workforce development nonprofit, a $250,000 grant as part of its Pathways to Progress 2017 Youth Workforce Fund, an initiative to provide youth with jobs training and access, including paid apprenticeships and internships. Urban Alliance is one of 15 awardees this year – and the only one in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

The Citi Foundation’s grant will fund Urban Alliance’s flagship High School Internship Program in D.C. and Northern Virginia, which helps to prepare students from underserved communities for a lifetime of self-sufficiency through paid internships in business, government, or nonprofits; professional development training; one-on-one mentoring; and intensive case management. This early exposure helps high school seniors at risk of disconnecting from meaningful college or career pathways expand their idea of what is possible for their future.

“The Youth Workforce Fund grant will allow us to connect more economically-disadvantaged youth in the D.C. area to college or careers,” said Eshauna Smith, CEO of Urban Alliance. “Over twenty years, Urban Alliance has shown that exposure to work experience, coupled with skills training and mentoring from a caring professional, can truly change a young person’s future.”

According to the Citi Foundation’s Global Youth Survey 2017: Economic Prospects & Expectations, 78% of young people believe that internships and apprenticeships are critical for career success; however, 60% say there aren’t enough of these opportunities. In Washington D.C., that need is even greater, with 27% of young people under the age of 18 living in poverty. That’s why 84% of the youth Urban Alliance serves live in the city’s most under-resourced neighborhoods, with 55% of interns living in wards seven and eight.

“We know how impactful a student’s first meaningful work experience can be, and as a city we are proud to partner with organizations that provide our young people with the support and resources they need to succeed in college and their future careers,” said D.C.’s Deputy Mayor for Education Jennifer Niles. “Urban Alliance connects young people in the District to work experience, job training, and mentoring, and I’m excited to continue working with them to develop homegrown talent and improve outcomes for our students.”

“While there is much focus on the skills mismatch among today’s youth and the jobs available, there are a lot of community organizations across the U.S. that are changing the dynamics around youth employment in their communities,” said Brandee McHale, president of the Citi

Foundation. “Through the Youth Workforce Fund, we’re supporting those organizations that are expanding the skills of young people, building their networks, and connecting them to jobs.”

Founded in Washington, D.C. in 1996, Urban Alliance has since expanded to Baltimore, Chicago, and most recently, Northern Virginia. To date, Urban Alliance has placed nearly 4,000 students in paid internships, and served another nearly 18,000 through job skills training. This summer, Urban Alliance also released the results of a six-year, randomized controlled trial showing that completing the High School Internship Program boosted the likelihood of young men – young black men in particular – attending college by 23 percentage points and of middle-tier students (2.0 – 3.0 average GPA) enrolling in a 4-year college by 18 percentage points, and resulted in greater comfort with and retention of soft skills, especially among young men.

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