Mayor Walsh celebrates positive impact of John Hancock's MLK Scholars Program

Through more than 6,000 jobs, Boston teens have earned nearly $10 million since the inception of one of the nation's largest corporate-based teen summer jobs programs.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh yesterday joined John Hancock interim President and CEO Michael Doughty and other corporate and civic leaders to celebrate 10 years of the company's MLK Scholars Program. Since its inception, John Hancock has funded more than 6,000 jobs and provided nearly $10 million in wages for youth summer jobs.  

The event also served to kick-off the 2017 teen summer job program (#BostonWorks), which will give 642 Boston teens a summer job, financial literacy training and leadership development experience. John Hancock works in close partnership with The Boston Globe, Boston University and Partners HealthCare to the offer MLK Scholars Program.

"John Hancock's MLK Scholars Program understands the need for Boston's business and community leaders to lead the charge in providing our City youth with meaningful opportunities," said Mayor Walsh. "I congratulate John Hancock on 10 years of commitment to supporting our young people through the MLK Scholars Program. We will continue to work collaboratively with our community and corporate partners to create more employment resources for youth in Boston and positively shape our City."

Along with gaining valuable paid work experience, teens also receive coaching and guidance to help empower them to achieve their goals. Scholars attend bi-weekly forums at Boston University, which are designed to expose them to business and civic leaders, challenge them to learn new skills, and inspire them to realize the difference they can make in their communities.

Mayor Walsh continues to make youth summer employment a priority, challenging businesses to partner with the City to increase employment opportunities for Boston's youth. John Hancock remains a leader in the effort.

"MLK Scholars is one of John Hancock's signature philanthropic initiatives, and we are committed to helping the City's young people gain the knowledge and skills they will need to achieve upward economic mobility," said Hancock's Doughty. "As we celebrate 10 years, we proudly reflect on all that has been accomplished and more fully appreciate the value created when young people gain meaningful work experience. Better preparing our youth in a fast-changing economy is essential to building individual and community prosperity."

As part of the kick-off event, Mayor Walsh addressed two hundred Boston teens at John Hancock's headquarters in South Boston. The event included a motivational appearance by Paralympic gold medalist and 4-time Boston Marathon champion Tatyana McFadden. Following the speaking program, the teens participated in an interactive exercise, engaging one-on-one with the Mayor, McFadden, other business and civic leaders, and each other.

"John Hancock's MLK Scholars program addresses two important social factors that have a profound influence on future health: education and employment," said Dr. David Torchiana, President and CEO, Partners HealthCare. "We are both pleased and committed to collaborate with John Hancock and the City of Boston to provide excellent educational and professional opportunities to help Boston young people grow up healthy and ready to join Boston's workforce."

"For over a decade The Boston Globe has partnered with John Hancock, the City of Boston, Boston University, and Partners HealthCare to provide work opportunities and life-skills training to the next generation of leaders through the MLK Scholars program," said Linda Henry, Boston Globe Managing Director. "Working with nonprofit organizations in Greater Boston, the 600 talented and motivated teenagers in this year's program will directly impact their communities by showcasing their talents and experiences."

"At Boston University we recognize the importance of these internship program opportunities, which is why we are pleased to support the MLK Scholars program, working with great partners--Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston, John Hancock, The Boston Globe, and Partners HealthCare," said Boston University President Dr. Robert A. Brown.

Mayor Walsh's summer jobs program has funded 3,300 positions for the summer of 2017. Under the Walsh Administration, 30,600 youth summer jobs have been funded, representing an 18 percent increase from 2013 despite the increase in minimum wage from $8 to $10 hourly.

About the John Hancock's MLK Scholars Program

The MLK Scholars Program provides funding to local community-based not-for-profits to enable them to offer meaningful summer employment opportunities to Boston youth. Organizations are given the flexibility to hire youth of their choosing and must provide internal resources to help Scholars succeed in their jobs. In addition to the knowledge gained from the work experience, the program offers a unique series of job readiness and life-skills workshops that prepares the Scholars for the days and years ahead. For more information, please click  here.

About Mayor Martin J. Walsh's Summer Jobs Program

The City of Boston and the Boston Private Industry Council have worked to organize private sector employers, from the region's leading companies to neighborhood small businesses to provide Boston youth with summer job opportunities for the Mayor's Summer Jobs Initiative. Urban teens develop positive work habits, including but are not limited to the habits of paid work opportunities, attendance and punctuality, speaking and listening, accepting direction and criticism, and problem solving and taking initiative. Through this program, Mayor Walsh aims to tackle Boston's most pressing community priorities today, and at the same time, addresses employer needs by preparing a skilled and motivated workforce for the very near future.

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