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Through John Hancock, we’re partnering with the City of Boston, Boston University, The Boston Globe, and Partners HealthCare to empower Boston’s next generation of community and business leaders.

A unique, cross-sector collaboration, MLK Scholars is one of the largest, most comprehensive, corporate-based summer jobs program of its kind in the United States. 2018 marked the 11th consecutive year in which we awarded more than US$1 million in grants through the program to provide 635 Boston teens with summer jobs at 65 non-profit organizations, and employ 17 teens onsite at our Boston offices.

The students work across the city, gaining valuable real-world skills and engaging on issues that affect their community. Throughout the summer, all of the scholars participate in Leadership Forums, which offer hands-on leadership development training at Boston University. Each Scholar is also required to complete digital financial literacy training through our partner EVERFI.

Building financial literacy

In 2018, we expanded access to the financial literacy curriculum to other Boston-area summer students outside of the MLK Scholars program. The curriculum is a series of 11 modules, with five minutes each of bite-size content covering basics such as the difference between debit and credit, starting emergency savings, and banking.

As part of the expanded program, our partner EVERFI surveyed 2018 participants for baseline data related to financial management attitudes and behaviours. The findings revealed that participating students experienced higher levels of preparedness for financial tasks and confidence in practicing healthy financial habits, compared to Massachusetts teens not in the summer program. The survey also revealed the top goal for participants is to avoid taking on new debt with 60 per cent making it a financial goal for the next five years.

"Financial knowledge and decision-making skills are key building blocks of sustainable financial well-being," said Meg Moyer, vice president, Research & Evaluation, EVERFI, Inc.

"By providing young adults with both education and opportunities to make real financial decisions with their own pay cheques, John Hancock supports the development of both knowledge and skills. In our research, we saw that MLK Scholars participants were more likely than their peers to say they felt prepared to manage a budget, understand credit, and finance higher education – all important financial skills they are now putting into practice."