Youth – and in particular young women – suffer disproportionately from unemployment. In 2014, more than 73 million youth (ages 15–24) around the world were unemployed. Today, the youth unemployment rate is nearly three times higher than that of adults.
What’s needed is a true “cradle-to-career” continuum: a talent pipeline that prepares the next generation for the jobs of tomorrow, supplies businesses with skilled workers and builds a robust, competitive economy.
Everyone deserves the chance to obtain higher education. Our scholarship program in Baroda, India equips youth with the credentials they need to pursue their dreams.
When Sunil Parmar learned he was accepted to study Computer Engineering at Sardar Vallabhbhai Institute of Technology, it was a dream come true. But his dream hit a speed bump when he learned that he didn’t qualify for a bank loan due to his father’s low income. Sunil tried to work odd jobs to pay his way, but it wasn’t enough. Then he learned about United Way of Baroda’s Fusion Study Foundation project, which provides interest free loans to bright students from low-income families.
The Fusion Study Foundation project began in 2005 with just three students. Since then, more than 300 students have enrolled, and more than 80 percent of graduates have obtained jobs – many of them in leading industries and organizations around the world. Today, Sunil is a proud graduate and working in an information technology firm in Bangalore. He is a shining example of what people can achieve when given the opportunity.
The Golden Gate Bridge may be what San Fran is famous for, but we’re also building a bridge between school and career for thousands of ambitious young men and women.
In San Francisco, the Mayor’s Youth Jobs+ is a city-wide effort to help youth (ages 16-24) develop the skills necessary for work, and then connect them to jobs and internships in the public and private sector.
The initiative began in 2012 as a partnership between United Way of the Bay Area, the Office of Mayor Ed Lee and the City of San Francisco. Today, United Way works with more than 100 employers and more than 50 youth-serving community partners to connect youth to employment opportunities. The initiative is funded by many major companies, including JP Morgan Chase, PG&E, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Enterprise Rent-a-Car.
Since the initiative began in 2012, Youth Jobs+ has connected more than 26,000 young people with jobs.
Years after disaster strikes, long after the cameras have left a community, we remain. In the Philippines, we’ve rebuilt hundreds of classrooms destroyed by Typhoon Haiyan.
On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (known as Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines) devastated areas of Southeast Asia. The Philippines in particular was left reeling from the deadliest typhoon in the nation’s history, with over 6,300 people killed, 1.9 million left homeless and 6 million displaced. With so many schools damaged, the storm and its aftermath had the potential to make a long-term negative impact on children’s education.
PBSP (United Way in the Philippines) has helped construct 295 disaster-resistant classrooms since 1999, making them a natural fit to help lead the way in post-Haiyan school reconstruction. Just last year, they partnered with the Australian government and the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs to construct 67 classrooms, and another 81 are currently under construction. They also installed potable water systems in schools, provided thousands of school desks and books and starter kits for students, trained hundreds of teachers, and provided thousands of students with supplemental meals at school.
In many ways, the Philippines is still digging out from the catastrophic damage created by Typhoon Haiyan. Nevertheless, the work of PBSP and their many partners is a testament to what communities can accomplish when they work together in common cause.
Kids can’t learn if they’re not in school. It’s that simple. In Ghana, we’re inspiring an entire community to come together and increase student enrollment. And it’s working.
Change is coming to Asawasi, a densely populated community located in Kumasi, the second largest city in Ghana. Since United Way Ghana started a new education initiative in 2013, more than 1,000 new students have enrolled in school, an increase of 27 percent. Six new Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) have also been created, and more than 35 percent of parents report greater participation in their children’s education.
In many predominately Muslim communities like Asawasi, there is little to no secular education, and trade apprenticeships at an early age, rather than formal training, usually determine a person’s career. Lack of infrastructure offers its own challenges: most schools are run out of makeshift structures, shacks or from people’s homes.
Together with Muslim Family Counselling Services (MFCS), United Way is working to change all that, and the community is rallying to support our mission.