John Hancock Launches 14th Annual MLK Scholars Program, the Nation’s Largest Corporate Summer Jobs Program of its Kind Advancing Employment & Financial Capability

Career Climbers / 9th July 2021

This week, John Hancock, the US division of Toronto-based Manulife (NYSE: MFC), announced the launch of its 14th annual MLK Scholars Program. The most comprehensive corporate summer jobs program of its kind in the country, MLK Scholars provides summer employment and digital financial capability through EVERFI, a leading education technology company for digital learning, for more than 600 of Boston’s youth. A recent study shows that the MLK Scholars Program and EVERFI curriculum have helped boost students’ financial confidence, with 77 percent of past participants feeling more prepared to manage their money now than they did before the program.

“Economic empowerment and financial education are critical for Boston’s young people, and meaningful work experience helps build long-term positive financial behaviors and skills,” said Boston Mayor Kim Janey. “For too many, these opportunities aren’t accessible. It is great to see initiatives like John Hancock’s MLK Scholars Program help level the playing field and foster a diverse future pool of job-ready young people for Boston’s communities.”

The MLK Scholars Program is a unique, cross-sector collaboration led by John Hancock in partnership with The Boston GlobeBoston University, Mass General Brigham, and the City of Boston. This year, the $1.2 million initiative will provide over 600 Boston youth with summer job assignments and bi-weekly, virtual personal development workshops called Leadership Forums that incorporate the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and focus on empowering students on the job, at school and in the community.

Since 2018, the John Hancock Well-Being Education Center through EVERFI has been a resource not only for participants in the MLK Scholars program, but for all youth participating in summer employment programs supported by the Boston Private Industry Council and the City of Boston. EVERFI’s one-of-a-kind digital education program features financial capability training and mental wellness resources for young adults.

EVERFI’s platform is proven to help Scholars manage their financial lives and help them achieve future-oriented goals. Joint research conducted by EVERFI and John Hancock, titled Employment and Financial Capability: Experiences of John Hancock Summer Youth Employment Program Participants, shows that eight in 10 past program participants feel the education they received through the John Hancock Well-Being Education Center helped them manage the money they received. Furthermore, 69 percent of participants confirm they feel prepared or very prepared when it comes to setting up and following a budget to manage spending and saving, compared to 46 percent of their Massachusetts high school peers.

“John Hancock remains deeply committed to our MLK Scholars program, as we understand the important role it plays in preparing students for their careers and financial futures,” said Marianne Harrison, John Hancock president and CEO. “Pairing employment experience with financial capability training helps open doors for our City’s young people and empowers them to make educated financial decisions, laying the groundwork for economic growth and a more equitable Boston.”

Last summer, MLK Scholars adjusted to a remote program due to the pandemic and this year, the program will be held in a hybrid format, allowing opportunities for both remote and in-person connections for Boston youth. MLK Scholars are selected by nonprofit partners for their leadership potential and will be employed for approximately 20 to 25 hours a week across 50 local nonprofits and corporations, including John Hancock, where 36 Scholars will work as high school interns. Of the 36 Scholars working at John Hancock, 14 are returning Scholars and another 7 are coming back to the company as college interns.

“We know that the best path to a secure financial future is to learn financial basics from a young age and we are pleased to work with John Hancock to bring this education to so many young people across Boston,” said Ray Martinez, president and co-founder, EVERFI. “Ensuring a solid financial understanding has never been more important than right now, when our youth are being inundated with opportunities to make financial mistakes that can have a long-lasting negative impact. The era of learning financial matters from our mistakes is over and it’s our collective responsibility to ensure the next generation has all the education they need to achieve financial wellness.” 

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