Program Also Includes Partnerships With Major Employers and the Aspen Institute
As part of Bank of America’s recent $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, the company announced today further details about its $25 million commitment to enhance up-skilling and reskilling for Black and Hispanic-Latino students. Through initial partnerships with 21 higher education institutions including community colleges, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), Bank of America is giving $1 million to each of the 21 institutions selected across the U.S. to help students of color successfully complete the education and training necessary to be successful in today’s workforce.
“Career opportunities are a critical pillar in addressing the racial wealth gap in our country,” said Bank of America Vice Chairman Anne Finucane. “A meaningful job opportunity goes beyond the paycheck – it is a pathway to reduce student debt, obtain health care and retirement benefits, and ultimately, build net worth. The collaborative training approach we are taking with this initiative will not only impact the lives of Black and Hispanic-Latino students, but will enable them to make real and meaningful impact in their communities now and in the years ahead.”
Partner institutions selected so far include:
Each partner institution will develop or enhance existing programs to meet specific skill gaps in their communities to create higher-paying, family-sustaining jobs that are in demand. Bank of America will work alongside major employers in each selected market to ensure these programs target specific hiring needs and create a clearly defined career pathway to future employment.
As part of this initiative, Bank of America is also partnering with and providing funding to the Aspen Institute, which will collaborate with the National Center for Inquiry and Improvement to convene the participating higher education institutions for technical and programmatic assistance and to share best practices.
“We’re thrilled to work with Bank of America on this initiative to expand employment pathways for Black and Hispanic-Latino students,” said Dan Porterfield, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “Building a learning hub for these colleges will create valuable opportunities to enhance career guidance, employer relationships, financial stability, and peer learning for students — all with the goal of helping connect young people to high-wage jobs and reduce racial income and wealth gaps.”
Today, less than 40% of community college students earn a certificate or degree within six years of enrollment.1 For students of color, graduation and completion rates are particularly low – 28.8% for Black students and 37.1% for Hispanic students.2 The ongoing challenges stemming from the coronavirus have exacerbated the financial struggle of HBCUs and HSIs, both public and private, as they seek to serve students from the most vulnerable communities.
Bank of America is investing in community colleges, HBCUs, and HSIs in order to increase job opportunities for people of color at a community-based level that will help close the wealth gap and enhance professional career tracks for mid-level candidates.
Recent Bank of America announcements focused on racial equality, diversity and inclusion, and economic opportunity include:
1 (Bailey et al. 2015) - Bailey, Thomas, Shanna Smith Jaggars, and Davis Jenkins. Redesigning America’s Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015.
2 Columbia Teachers College – Community College Research Center – Community College FAQs: https://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/Community-College-FAQs.html.
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Reporters may contact:
Vanessa Cook, Bank of America