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2019 MLK Scholars Program kickoff

Nation's largest, most comprehensive corporate summer jobs program has provided meaningful employment for over 5,000 Boston teens for 12 years


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BOSTON – Friday, July 19, 2019 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined John Hancock President and CEO Marianne Harrison, leaders from Boston University, Partners HealthCare and hundreds of Boston teens to kick off the 12th year of the MLK Scholars program. MLK Scholars provides meaningful employment and engagement opportunities for over 650 Boston youth through summer job assignments and workshops. Since its creation, the program has reached over 5,000 participants, contributing to a more diverse pipeline for Boston employers and greater economic empowerment for Boston youth.  

“The MLK Scholars program does more than provide summer jobs: it puts an emphasis on financial literacy, provides resume workshops and networking opportunities, and most importantly, helps students feel confident as they move forward in life,” said Mayor Walsh. “Boston is proud of our Scholars, and the partners that make this program possible.”

As part of the event, the event introduced a panel of Young Leaders of Change – individuals from the Boston area who are modeling successful paths to leadership and positive change in their communities. The panelists included Director of Research and Development at John Hancock Natasha Barrientos, Talent Acquisition Partner at Partners HealthCare Katherine Melanson, Director of Boston Programs at Teen Empowerment Jaquell Sneed, and Boston University alum and State Representative Andy Vargas.

 “We need to level the playing field for young people who don’t have equal access to the work experiences and networks we know are critical to building long-term skills, self-confidence and financial empowerment,” said Marianne Harrison, John Hancock president and CEO. “A goal at John Hancock is to create a healthier, more equitable Boston and the MLK Scholars program is designed to help make that vision a reality. Thank you to all of our partners for making this work possible.” 

In collaboration with the City of Boston, Boston University, Partners HealthCare, and The Boston Globe, MLK Scholars are employed approximately 20-25 hours a week across 58 Boston not-for-profit organizations. John Hancock funds salaries for all participants through its annual $1 million commitment. 

The program’s Mayor Menino Leadership Forums, the first of which was today, are held on Fridays throughout the summer to provide life and job readiness skills for the Scholars. Since 2013, John Hancock has integrated digital financial education into the Leadership Forums, which all Scholars complete, via a partnership with EVERFI. Scholars are provided access to EVERFI’s financial literacy platform that provides basic knowledge to help them manage their financial lives and achieve future-oriented goals. John Hancock continues to expand access to EVERFI, allowing Boston students from all summer jobs programs to participate in the curriculum. 

About John Hancock and Manulife

John Hancock is a division of Manulife Financial Corporation, a leading international financial services group that helps people make their decisions easier and lives better. We operate primarily as John Hancock in the United States, and Manulife elsewhere. We provide financial advice, insurance and wealth and asset management solutions for individuals, groups and institutions. Assets under management and administration by Manulife and its subsidiaries were over CAD $1.1 trillion (US$849 billion) as of March 31, 2019. Manulife Financial Corporation trades as MFC on the TSX, NYSE, and PSE, and under 945 on the SEHK. Manulife can be found at

 One of the largest life insurers in the United States, John Hancock supports more than 10 million Americans with a broad range of financial products, including life insurance, annuities, investments, 401(k) plans, and college savings plans. Additional information about John Hancock may be found at



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