NEWARK, NJ - Prudential Financial is committing $180 million through 2025 to help young people aged 15-29 worldwide to gain the right skills to compete for and succeed in quality jobs. 

The goal is to improve young people’s lives by creating pathways for them to achieve financial wellness that will eventually strengthen communities and drive the global economy said Prudential Chairman and CEO Charles Lowrey.

“Businesses like ours have a role to play in ensuring that global economic progress benefits all members of tomorrow’s workforce,”  Lowrey said in a statement. The company plans to support partnerships through grants, corporate contributions, and impact investments to improve financial security for youth in more than 70 countries.

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There are 350 million people across the world in that age group who lack access to school, specialized job training, or employment. 

Over the last two decades, Prudential has committed more than $50 million in impact investments and philanthropic support to partner organizations to serve this youth group, including helping those in Newark.

One of the longtime partners is  YouthBuild International, which helps low-income young people learn construction skills by building affordable housing and other assets in their neighborhoods.

There are now 273 YouthBuild programs in 45 states, Washington, DC, and the Virgin Islands. Approximately 92,000 YouthBuild students have built 19,000 units of affordable, increasingly green, housing since 1994.

For the past 15 years, Prudential has been the largest contributor to YouthBuild Newark since its inception.

YouthBuild helps unemployed people who left high school without a diploma gain the skills they need for employment and become leaders in their communities. Robert Clark, founder, and CEO of YouthBuild Newark graduated from a YouthBuild program in Boston and eventually become the first graduate to establish a YouthBuild program.

“YouthBuild gave me a voice and let me know as a young person, I could contribute to things that were happening in my community,” said Clark, went on to graduate from the University of Massachusetts and has had a 20-year career in youth development.

Prudential was instrumental in the creation of the Newark Opportunity Youth Network, a public-private partnership with companies, non-profit organizations, and local government decided to reconnect the 7,000 young people who are not in school or working.

On average, 80% of YouthBuild Newark students who sit for their high school equivalency test pass and 75% have earned their industry-recognized National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) credential. Students have developed 32 units of affordable housing since 2003.

Lata Reddy, senior vice president of Diversity, Inclusion, and Impact, and chair and president of The Prudential Foundation, believes in the positive effects that supporting opportunity youth brings to their respective communities.

“With the right skills and training, opportunity youth can be both an engine of growth and a catalyst for positive social change,” she said in a statement. The company also partners with Per Scholas, a national tuition-free skills training program that open doors to entry-level tech careers to individuals who live in overlooked communities, that now serves young people in Newark.

Clark said that Prudential has been a tremendous partner in supporting the work that he does on behalf of opportunity youth in the city of Newark. The company provided thought leadership, connections to innovative national strategies, and help fund LEAD Charter School, the first charter school in the state exclusively serving opportunity youth.

“Their investment in opportunity youth in Newark and globally is a testament to their belief that young people are our greatest resources. The young people we serve are often at a crossroads,” Clark told TAPinto Newark. “With the right investments and right interventions, those crossroads can lead to stable communities."