Bank of America today announced a partnership between longtime bank partners NPower and Urban Alliance, powered by a $4.2 million grant split between both organizations.
The collaboration between Urban Alliance and NPower will connect students, predominantly from communities of color, to technical skills and jobs and aligns with Bank of America’s commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity. Statistics show that many students of color do not have access to STEM courses and are often closed out of higher career opportunities. This effort will empower high school students with future-proof skills to become economically self-sufficient after graduation and access entry-level jobs in tech or tech-adjacent fields, while supporting employers with developing diverse, entry-level talent pipelines.
“We recognize that early employment is critical to help young people build the skills, networks, and experience needed to break out of cycles of poverty and achieve long-term success,” said Kerry Sullivan, President Bank of America Charitable Foundation. “Bringing the collective expertise of Urban Alliance and NPower together further demonstrates our ability to be a catalyst for jobs in the communities we serve by preparing young people of color for upwardly mobile jobs in tech and tech-proximate career fields.”
NPower, a national nonprofit that is committed to advancing race and gender equity in the tech industry through skills training, real world experience, support and mentorships, will provide technical training to all Urban Alliance students over the next three years, complementing Urban Alliance’s intensive soft skills curriculum. This effort will provide 1,500+ students with “digital-literacy” training and deeper tech certification for a self-selected subset. Technical skill sets will open the door for students going on to college as well as those transitioning from high school to full time work. Bank of America has been a strong supporter of the organization, providing entry-level opportunities for young adults, with employees also volunteering over 4,800 hours of their time through activities such as guest lectures.
“Young people are struggling financially, emotionally and facing significant barriers to employment,” said Bertina Ceccarelli, Chief Executive Officer of NPower. “We, in partnership with Urban Alliance, and supported by our long-time partner, Bank of America, can expand the learning pathways for high schoolers that will position them for quality, recession-proof careers.”
In parallel, Urban Alliance will continue to build a more equitable, diverse next-generation workforce by providing deep-touch professional soft skills training, mentoring, and 9-month paid internships to young people, 99% of whom are from communities of color, during their senior year of high school. Through this collaboration, the organization will expand its two-track offering for high school students – an experiential internship track for students going on to college and a high-school-to-career track for students preparing to enter full-time work, this time in the tech industry. Bank of America’s funding is critical to this new tech pathway, allowing the organization to serve more students, increase their exposure to career possibilities, and expand its employer base. Urban Alliance has been a long-time partner with Bank of America on its Financial Center Internship Program which introduces high school and college students to careers in the financial industry.
“This kind of collaboration between nonprofits in the workforce development space is rare and much-needed if we are going to make real progress toward removing systemic barriers to economic opportunity for youth of color,” said Elizabeth Lindsey, CEO of Urban Alliance. “We’re grateful for Bank of America’s investment enabling Urban Alliance and NPower to advance digital equity and connect more diverse young talent to high-growth careers in tech.”
Bank of America has a longstanding focus on addressing critical societal challenges, including connecting youth to early employment and helping individuals from low- and moderate income (LMI) communities access jobs. Since 2018, the company has invested $160 million to connect youth and young adults to jobs, including funding jobs with nonprofit partners and supporting skills-building and alternative pathways. Annually, Bank of America connects more than 4,000 high school students to work experiences each summer though partnerships with nonprofits and mayors’ offices, a Financial Center Internship Program and its Student Leaders program. Through its Pathways program, the bank works with nonprofit partners to provide professional skills training and career pathways for members of the communities it serves. These efforts align to the bank’s focus on advancing racial equality and economic opportunity and are demonstrations of how the company is working to be a catalyst for jobs in local communities.
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).
Vanessa Cook, Bank of America