Our corporate partners understand that doing good is also good business. Consider three examples of companies that made an indispensible contribution to our mission in 2015.
Kimberly-Clark Promotes Health, Active, and Independent Living at All Ages
Every year, on and around June 21st, thousands of volunteers around the world come together to build stronger communities. We call it Day of Action, and in 2015, 388 United Ways in 21 countries celebrated it by delivering nutritious meals to people who live below the poverty line, distributing personal hygiene products and other necessities to elderly citizens, planting community gardens, and so much more.
Day of Action is also an opportunity for passionate employees from many of our generous corporate partners to roll up their sleeves and get involved. With support from Kimberly-Clark's Depend brand, United Way mobilized more than 5,000 volunteers and impacted the lives of more than 310,000 people across 17 U.S. cities. These, and many other year-round volunteer opportunities, are part of a larger three-year partnership between United Way and the Depend brand focused on harnessing the power of volunteers to encourage healthy, active, and independent living at all ages.
U.S. Bank Equips Youth with Skills for the Jobs of Tomorrow
Nearly 43 percent of the global youth labor force is either unemployed or working but still under the poverty level. There is no silver bullet for this problem, but part of any solution must be 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. That's why we're so excited to be working with U.S. Bank on the Career and College Academy, a new initiative in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
United Way of the Greater Twin Cities' Career and College Academy allows high school students to combine college credit earning opportunities with work-based learning experiences. Employers like U.S. Bank actually have a hand in crafting the curriculum, ensuring that students garner the skills and experience that will prepare them for in-demand jobs.
So far, 13 Career Academies have been launched, benefiting more than 200 students—students like 18-year old Casey Haas. A high school senior, Casey's coursework at the Career and College Academy counts toward a nursing degree: now she'll be starting a full-time assistant nursing job after she earns her high school diploma. She's also avoiding what could have been an additional two years in the classroom and $14,000 in college tuition.
Over the next several years, United Way's Career and College Academy will enroll as many as 4,500 students. By partnering with our allies in the private sector, we are creating change that benefits these students and the economy as a whole.
John Deere Expands Their Long Tradition of Generosity Overseas
In October of 2015, John Deere held its first overseas Employee Volunteer Day. With support from United Way, more than 300 plant workers in the German cities of Mannheim, Zweibrücken, Bruchsal, and Kaiserslautern filled 6,000 bags of food for local food banks. The experience was so rewarding for John Deere and the company's employees that they are now working with United Way to expand their overseas volunteerism to more countries.
Of course, this represents just one part of John Deere's enduring commitment to building stronger communities. In 2015 alone, their employees recorded more than 104,000 volunteerism hours in service of communities where they live, work, and raise their children – a 21 percent increase over the previous year.
*We encourage you to read MinnPost reporter Ibrahim Hirsi's original report on the Career and College Academy.