There are 20 million young people ages 16 – 24 working in the U.S., earning their first paychecks and taking a critical step toward economic independence and upward mobility. Many of these youth are growing up in financial deserts — communities without ready access to safe and affordable banking. As a result, too many low-income working youth lose their hard-earned money to high-cost check cashers, putting them on a dead-end financial path. Without access to quality financial tools and information, low-income young people are likely to remain trapped in poverty as adults. With inequality growing, it’s more difficult for them to break the cycle.
This is where MyPath comes into the picture, by helping cities and nonprofits bring banking, saving and credit-building pathways directly into existing youth employment programs, and by advancing aligned policies. Our models leverage this teachable moment at the beginning of their financial lives to set the foundation for upward mobility, ultimately transforming their income into financial growth/savings. When we do this, we cultivate a stronger, more sustainable economy for generations to come.
ENGINEERING EFFECTIVE MODELS. We design, test and scale approaches that support cities, youth employment programs and financial institutions to build economic pathways for low-income youth. Our engineering process is rooted in our values of youth participation, the power of human relationships and technology, and ongoing data collection.
SHARING WHAT WORKS. Once proof of concept is established, MyPath shares our best practices and evidence-based models through training and technical assistance to support the adoption of our approaches in communities. We support financial institutions to adapt their products for youth, and we support cities and nonprofits to integrate banking, goal-setting, saving and credit-building into their youth employment systems. We also disseminate our findings and lessons through White Papers and national conferences.
ADVANCING POLICY CHANGE. MyPath engages youth and other stakeholders to push for policy and systems-level changes that will improve economic opportunities and financial pathways for low-income youth. For example, we advocate for regulatory changes to increase youth access to financial services and local policy changes to expand youth economic opportunity.
MYPATH SAVINGS MODEL: MyPath Savings is a comprehensive model that brings together city agencies, youth workforce and employment programs, nonprofits, and financial institutions to combine first paychecks with banking and saving access. Through participation in this initiative, youth participants (ages 14 - 24) have access to a combination of banking and savings tools, and innovative online and in-person financial education. MyPath Savings supports youth to build personal savings, and turn their paychecks into a pathway for upward economic mobility.
MYPATH CREDIT MODEL: Integrated into existing youth workforce settings that reach young adults ages 18 – 24 years old earning money, MyPath Credit combines credit-building loans and savings products with one-on-one financial coaching. Enrollment and implementation are made easy for participants through automatic payments and direct deposit.