Introducing The Skillman Visionary Awards

The Skillman Foundation Advances Summer Jobs Connect in Detroit

Summer Jobs Connect to Provide Summer Job Opportunities, Financial Education, and Banking Access to an Additional 145,000 Young People

Today, national nonprofit organization the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) kicked off the ninth summer of Summer Jobs Connect (SJC), which will provide more than 145,000 low-income youth in 25 cities with summer jobs and access to banking and financial education. Seed funder, the Citi Foundation, announced an additional $3.5 million in support of the Summer Jobs Connect initiative’s ninth year; since launching in 2014, the Citi Foundation has invested nearly $40 million in this initiative, providing more than 800,000 low-income youth across 25 municipally-led Summer Youth Employment Programs with opportunities for banking access and financial education, as well as employed over 16,500 young people. Additionally, the PNC Foundation announced their support of $270,000 to expand the Summer Jobs Connect initiative in Albuquerque, NM and Pittsburgh, PA, and The Skillman Foundation provided $175,000 to support this work in Detroit, MI for a fourth year.

“As a children’s foundation, we’re always listening to the concerns of Detroit youth. They consistently express financial education and access to banking is a need,” said Ashley Aidenbaum, program officer for The Skillman Foundation. “We are pleased to continue supporting this excellent partnership to strengthen young people’s early work experiences and economic well-being.”

“For eight years, we have been proudly working alongside the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund to build a movement across the U.S. to help provide summer jobs and financial education to young people,” said Brandee McHale, Head of Community Investing and Development and President of the Citi Foundation.  “Early employment experiences and access to financial resources provide game-changing opportunities for young people and put them on a path to long-term success.”

“At PNC, we commit to helping the low- and moderate-income communities where we operate thrive and prosper,” said Rey Ocañas, PNC Bank’s director of Community Development Banking. “We’re excited that the CFE Fund will use this PNC Foundation grant to help support the economic empowerment and social mobility of residents in underserved and unbanked communities, including the 1,500 young adults who will now have the opportunity to participate in SJC initiatives in Pittsburgh and New Mexico.”

This summer, new SJC partners include Albuquerque, NM; Cleveland, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; and Rochester, NY. These new cities join Baltimore, MD; Baltimore County, MD; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Detroit, MI; Houston, TX; Jacksonville, FL; Los Angeles, CA; Madison, WI; Miami, FL; Nashville, TN; New York, NY; Newark, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; St. Louis, MO; St. Paul, MN; Syracuse, NY; Virginia Beach, VA; and Washington, DC.

The CFE Fund has been working with city and county partners to ensure the availability of safe, affordable youth banking accounts at just the time when they are arranging to receive their income, including through the creation of programmatic Summer Jobs Connect Youth Account Priorities. SJC cities and counties have formed partnerships with more than 50 banks and credit unions that will open accounts for participants, including those under the age of 18. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many programs will allow youth participants to choose between in-person and virtual job opportunities, with some offering hybrid programs with both in-person and virtual experiences. In Summer 2021, nearly 50% of SJC participants were paid via direct deposit, the highest rate in program history; more than 14,000 participants newly opened a safe bank or credit union account; and more than 120,000 participants received just-in-time financial education.

“Summer Job Connect literally has changed the way cities think about summer work experiences, and the importance of connecting teenagers and young adults to safe and affordable bank and credit union accounts just when they can use them,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “Dozens of cities across the country are making it clear that an early job also is a first step into the financial mainstream. We thank the Citi Foundation for their generous seed funding and long-time support of this work, and the PNC Foundation and The Skillman Foundation for joining this important effort.”

To kick off the program, today the CFE Fund launched a mini-website,, that highlights the impact and success of nine years of the Summer Jobs Connect initiative. The CFE Fund also launched a #SummerJobsConnect social media campaign on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok that will highlight youth and partner voices about the impact of Summer Jobs Connect throughout the summer.

Summer Jobs Connect leverages the infrastructure and “paycheck moment” of municipal Summer Youth Employment Programs to embed banking access and targeted financial education, serving as a national model for cities and other stakeholders on how banking access efforts can be embedded in municipal systems. This is a core goal of the CFE Fund’s national Bank On initiative, which works to ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable financial products and services. The CFE Fund has been working with city and county partners to ensure the availability of safe, affordable youth banking accounts, including those that can be opened online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, ten partners’ programs will feature youth-led peer financial education; three partners will engage an adult financial coach to provide one-on-one guidance to participants; and four partners will work with their local municipal Financial Empowerment Centers to offer professional, one-on-one financial counseling to program participants over the age of 18.

This summer, the CFE Fund and its partners will engage thousands of young people across the country participating in Summer Jobs Connect to share the program’s impact on their experiences opening a bank or credit union account, building savings, earning pay through direct deposit, and more on social media. This campaign – #SummerJobsConnect – will highlight first-hand perspectives on the impact of Summer Jobs Connect throughout the duration of the summer programs, including key program moments like financial literacy training, bank or credit union account opening, and more. This campaign follows successful campaigns in 2021, 2020, 2018 and 2017 to engage with and amplify young people’s Sumer Jobs Connect experience.

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