U.S. Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, Declan Kelly, today announced that over a dozen leading U.S. corporations have agreed to participate in the U.S. – NI Mentorship Program launched by his office in partnership with the American Ireland Fund and the Northern Ireland Science Park.

The mentorship program is designed to provide young people from across Northern Ireland with the opportunity to spend one year working full time in a corporate environment with a leading U.S. company.

Companies already committed to supporting the initiative include Almac, AXA, BNY Mellon, Coca-Cola, Cowen Group, General Electric, HSBC - North America, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Moet Hennessy USA, Mutual of America, Sandler O’Neill + Partners,  TARGUSinfo and UBS.

The corporate program is being chaired by Bob McCann, CEO of UBS Wealth Management in the United States and the selection process in Northern Ireland is being chaired by Joanne Stuart, Chairman of the Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland.

Announcing the initiative, Envoy Kelly stated: "For a number of these companies, this program represents their first direct experience in employing people directly from Northern Ireland and the program will allow them to see firsthand the talented graduates produced each year by the region’s universities.  At the same time, all the companies in the program offer best-in-class business and management experience that will greatly benefit the program participants for the rest of their lives.

“Bob McCann and Joanne Stuart have provided tremendous leadership as chairs of the respective committees in the U.S. and Northern Ireland that have helped bring the mentorship program to together and I am very grateful to them for their work. I would also like to thank both committees working under their leadership.

"This program would not have been made possible without the strong support of The American Ireland Fund and the Northern Ireland Science Park. I want to thank both Kieran McLoughlin and Loretta Brennan Glucksman for the AIF's support and Steve Orr and Frank Hewitt from NISP CONNECT. This collaboration is a perfect example of the kind of progress that is possible when two organizations and their respective networks work together to further economic and social progress between Northern Ireland and the United States.

“Our long term goal is to grow this program beyond this year so we will all be hard at work in the coming year to try to ensure this initiative is a resounding success for all involved", concluded Envoy Kelly.

Bob McCann, Chairman of the U.S. – NI Mentorship Steering Committee in the United States and a Director of the American Ireland Fund added: “I became involved with the mentorship program because I believe it will provide a great opportunity for young people in Northern Ireland to gain valuable business experience. We have seen an incredible response from corporations interested in participating in the program, and the quality of the companies already represented is truly exceptional. I will continue to work with the committee to try to identify other companies to participate in the program as we to continue to expand.”

Kieran McLoughlin, President and CEO of the Worldwide Ireland Funds stated: “The American Ireland Fund is committed to helping Northern Ireland reap the benefits of a lasting peace. Through our participation in the mentorship program, we are working to provide young people across the region with business experience that will allow them to return to Northern Ireland as leaders that can help further transform the region.”

The announcement came today at the Northern Ireland Science Park as part of the American Ireland Fund’s annual conference and was attended by First Minister Robinson, deputy First Minister McGuinness, a large delegation from the American Ireland Fund conference as well as business leaders from the U.S. and Northern Ireland.

Individuals and corporations interested in participating in the program can view additional information at www.economicenvoy.com .

U.S. Economic Envoy, Declan Kelly