fighting poverty by graduating employable youth

Living in poverty, opportunities and adequate employment can be hard to come by. Many youth don’t have the basic skills needed to find work, like résumé writing, interview prep or even understanding where to find a job. With a loss of hope and direction, unemployed youth often turn to gang affiliation or drugs, continuing a life of poverty that has lasted for generations. When you make a gift to our employment programs, you’re helping youth in our communities develop interview-ready skills to help them connect to local employers and pave the way to a future filled with opportunities they never thought possible.

Children International’s employment programs help ensure that disadvantaged youth have the tools and resources they need to find stable, gainful employment in the formal job sector. This is how we break the cycle of generational poverty.

Programs tailored to fit the need

Around the world, every community has distinct needs and suffers from its own set of obstacles. In Mexico, the saturated job market makes it difficult for uneducated adults to find stable employment. While in Zambia, one of the poorest places on Earth, poverty is so widespread that unemployment is a generational problem with lasting deficits. Our team assesses the conditions in every country we serve to create specific programs to help children overcome the challenges of their community and end poverty for good.

Let’s talk about giving

If you’re interested in making a major gift to Children International programs, please contact our Global Philanthropy team at 816-943-3834 or legacy@children.org.

How will your support help?

Children enrolled in our sponsorship program have access to the right mix of resources, based on location, age and life circumstances. What is sponsorship? Find out more

    Here are some of the ways we work to enable employment:

    Vocational training & university programs

    Linking youth in their countries, helping guide them on a path that fits their interests, abilities and the likelihood to find work.


    Awarding scholarships to attend vocational school, college or other higher education institutions.

    Work-readiness activities

    Ensuring that work-readiness activities, soft-skills development and job placement are part of our training programs.

    Career Counselors

    Providing career counselors who teach interview techniques and conduct mock job interviews, help with résumé creation, line up letters of recommendation and prepare other necessary documentation, as well as guiding youth to resources like online career guidance, assessment in talents and career interests, and job listings.

    Work with local employers

    Building relationships between Children International staff, local employers and business organizations so we can help match teens to appropriate opportunities.

    Technical training

    Providing technical training, job-readiness skills, life-skills development and job placement support in nine Children International locations.

    Entrepreneurship skills

    Fostering entrepreneurship skills to help youth learn how to start and operate a small business so they generate income through self-employment.


    Teaching English as a Second Language (ESL). Currently only offered in the Dominican Republic, this program offers language learning and career counseling to help young people increase their marketable skills.

    Did you know?

    College and technical school scholarships reduce the barriers to continuing education, which can help our sponsored youth compete for higher-paying, quality jobs.

    More of the story

    Helping impoverished children become successful, self-reliant adults is a long-term process that begins early. Our Financial and Social Education and Sport for Development programs help mold children into the kind of active, driven youth capable of breaking down barriers. And our Into Employment® program and HOPE scholarships give them the confidence they need to escape poverty.


    Why focus on employment?

    Many children and youth in our communities can’t envision a path out of poverty because they’ve never been given the tools or seen an example of success. Providing them the confidence and job skills to contribute to their local economy is crucial to helping youth picture a future where change is possible. Life-skills workshops, vocational classes and employment prep courses put the youth in our programs on track to break the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families. And, our employment initiatives grow each year as youth become more involved in their communities and local employers see the positive impact of our programs.

    What gets measured?

    When it comes to employment, we measure the number of youth in our program aged 18–24 who have:

    • Increased marketable skills, measured by the percent of youth actively developing skills through university or vocational training programs. For younger youth, we measure enrollment. For young adults, we measure completion.
    • Enhanced access to the local job market, measured by the percent of program youth (18- to 24-year-olds) who demonstrate knowledge and skills to access the job market in their communities.
    • Competencies in problem solving, effective communication, positive self concept, self-control and interpersonal skills.

    We also measure:

    • The percentage of youth enrolled in our programs who obtain a university degree or a vocational training certificate.
    • The percentage of youth enrolled in our program who demonstrate job readiness skills including:
      • Résumé Writing
      • Job Application Knowledge on Interview Skills
      • Job Search Skills
      • The Ability To Obtain Necessary Legal Documents
    Fast Fact: Entrepreneurship initiatives offer brand-new, self-directed opportunities for youth to lift them out of poverty and create jobs for their entire community.
    Results in action

    The HOPE Scholarship

    The HOPE Scholarship program allows qualified youth to advance their education in secondary school, vocational training institutes or at the college and university level. Each year, Children International awards thousands of HOPE scholarships. In 2018, 99% of scholarship recipients finished the school year and 97% advanced to the next grade level or graduated from secondary school.

    Career Readiness

    Of the 2,721 youth who completed our Career Readiness program in 2018, 40% found jobs. That number has nearly doubled in the last few years, showing how this program is effectively promoting youth employability.


    76% of those who began the course finished by starting their own small business, including bakeries, diners and restaurants; food sales and distribution; clothing and shoe production and sales; and household item sales.

    English as a Second Language

    Our ESL program teaches English language skills and job-readiness skills. In its inaugural year of 2018, the program taught 131 youth.

    Did you know?

    For every year of schooling a woman completes, her earning potential goes up 20 percent. See more facts about poverty and employment and how you can help.

    Our HOPE scholarships help children afford extra education and skills training they need for long-term employment.


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