Job seekers


Odyssea’s state-of-the-art training facilities and employability program prepare and connect young people to employment

The Hellenic Initiative (THI) has donated an additional $50,000 to non-profit organization Odyssea on top of the $10,000 awarded to them in 2021 through THI’s Venture Impact Awards program.

Recent news reports reveal that Greece’s recovery from the economic crisis is tragically incomplete. According to a 2021 UNICEF study, 1 in 4 children live in a household at risk of poverty and 1 in 3 families are at risk of poverty or social exclusion.

Odyssea focuses on supporting young Greeks between the ages of 18 and 34 from vulnerable backgrounds by offering vocational training and employment services. Its Academy helps people develop new skills that make them ideal candidates for the jobs they want, and the employability program helps them find jobs.

Founded in 2012, THI brings together Greeks from the Diaspora and Philhellenes to invest in Greece through programs focused on economic development and the fight against the crisis. THI has invested approximately $20 million in Greece since its inception and partners with proven nonprofits and NGOs in Greece, organizations with a proven track record, such as Odyssea. With a database of 30,000 Greek Diaspora and donors in 47 countries, THI is the largest Greek Diaspora organization in the world.

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Odyssea CEO Maria Hatzinikolaki notes that the grim statistics of family poverty in Greece motivate Odyssea employees to help in concrete ways.

The ongoing Greek economic crisis has pushed many middle-class families below the poverty line. Hatzinikolaki notes “Odyssea has documented” this unfortunate situation through the observations of the many families they support. “It’s in-work poverty” – there are many people in blue-collar jobs whose earnings cannot support their families. »

Odyssea’s goal is to “upgrade” people for better-paying jobs of the future, preparing them for the “hard skills” that are in demand, as well as soft skills – professional behavior such as punctuality, cooperation, time management – which will allow them to flourish and grow.

She points out that “one of the target groups of Odysseas are NEETs – Not in education, employment or training – low-income disadvantaged groups.

Odyssea achieves great results with its unique training/employment labs in the Athens area. These facilities mimic workplaces, including real commercial kitchens for chef’s assistants. “We take young people and train them so that they can discover the environment they will encounter in their chosen fields.”

Odyssea also cooperates with the HR departments of around 150 companies. “We help connect people with potential employers and we also present tailor-made job fairs for specific companies,” Hatzinikolaki said.

George Stamas, Chairman of the Board of THI, said: “Since 2014, THI has funded Regeneration, a job creation engine for young people with higher education in Greece. With our sponsorship of Odyssea, we can also help those young people in Greece who may not have had the opportunity to go to university or who were otherwise disadvantaged. THI is pleased to help a wider range of Greek society find jobs across a wider range of opportunities with the addition of Odyssea as a beneficiary.

Andrew Liveris, Chairman of the Board of THI, said: “We are delighted to support Odyssea, and the timing is excellent. The new grant will be used to support training and employment programs benefiting 230 people, at a time when hospitality and other industries in Greece are once again thriving and actively looking for good workers.

About the Hellenic Initiative

Our Mission: The Hellenic Initiative is a global non-profit organization that brings together Greeks in the Diaspora and Philhellenes to invest in the future of Greece through programs focused on crisis relief, entrepreneurship and economic development. We are THI, a global Greek diaspora movement.