YouthBuild and MyPath Partnership Helps Young People Build Financial Skills and Savings
Two Annie E. Casey Foundation grantees have teamed up to help young people save, use credit and manage their money – all key skills for supporting lifelong financial well-being.
YouthBuild USA — which spans 220 programs nationwide — offers job training and educational opportunities to young people who are unemployed, not in school and between the ages of 16 and 24. MyPath is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that equips young people with the financial tools and knowledge needed to build wealth and economic mobility. These organizations have joined forces to foster financial capability in working youth and young adults since 2018.
Understanding the Economic Barriers Young People Face
Over the past four years, nine YouthBuild sites across the United States have implemented MyPath’s financial capability model. The move has helped more than 420 young people build the skills necessary to bolster their credit and savings.
The need for such education is real, with four out of five low-income young adults facing credit barriers, according to MyPath.
“After participating in MyPath’s savings and credit-readiness workshops, YouthBuild participants committed to saving, on average, 32% of their earnings, with their top savings goals being transportation, housing and technology,” says Andrea Giese, MyPath’s director of development and communications. “Of participants surveyed, 81% reported an increase in confidence when using credit for auto loans, credit cards or mortgages.”
Financial education and safe banking matters, says Giese. Young people who have access to these resources learn how to better identify and avoid predatory loans, understand their rights as consumers, prepare for financial emergencies and develop financial security.
“To succeed as adults, young people need to understand how to manage their finances,” says Beadsie Woo, director of family and youth financial stability with the Casey Foundation. “Working hand in hand, YouthBuild and MyPath are providing incredibly valuable financial mentorship to the next generation of workers.”
Financial Literacy Lessons for Youth From the Field
According to Giese, MyPath and YouthBuild USA have identified several lessons from their partnership that will inform future financial capability programs. These are:
- Ensure partnerships have buy-in from all levels. Sites should consistently engage leadership and finance team members and invite them to attend regular meetings and training workshops.
- Adapt to fit each site’s unique needs. MyPath staff consider the country’s existing financial landscape and working to better understand local needs, resources and policies.
- Recognize that guidance and financial mentoring is an ongoing process. YouthBuild participants continue to need assistance as they advance toward their financial goals — and as they enter into young adulthood. Accordingly, MyPath is working toward implementing its financial mentoring model at all YouthBuild partner sites.
MyPath Looks Toward the Future
In 2021, MyPath developed a “near peer-to-peer” pilot model that trained YouthBuild program alumni to act as facilitators. The initiative was successful, prompting MyPath to implement the approach at all YouthBuild partner sites across the country.
In 2023, MyPath plans to launch a financial technology platform called MyPath NEXT. Designed using feedback from YouthBuild participants, the new platform connects young people to financial education, mentors and youth-friendly products and services as well as tools for tracking spending, saving and credit scores.