Urban Alliance, Smithsonian Institution and Bank of America Promote Diversity in the Arts Through Newly Announced Andrew Plepler Internship Program
In a partnership with the Urban Alliance and the Smithsonian Institution, Bank of America is providing $800,000 to form an internship program designed to support youth employment and increase representation in arts and culture organizations. This program is in addition to the 500 Urban Alliance interns the bank has hosted over the past 10 years. This most recent partnership brings the bank’s total commitment with Urban Alliance up to $3.2 million since 2020.
"Bank of America's continued commitment to Urban Alliance and young people further proves that public and private partnerships work," said Elizabeth Lindsey, Chief Executive Officer of Urban Alliance. "We are excited to be working alongside the Smithsonian to further connect young people to paid work experiences."
The newly created Andrew Plepler Internship Program will provide paid internships at Smithsonian museums and locations for 45 high school students from communities of color across Greater Washington, DC. Urban Alliance will recruit and train students and place them at positions across the Smithsonian network for exposure to career paths in history, science, art, education, and museum operations.
“The Smithsonian is honored to join the Urban Alliance in building a diverse talent pipeline to build the next-generation workforce,” said Monique Chism, Under Secretary for Education “The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum complex, and students will have a unique experience that sparks curiosity and develops transferable skills.”
The announcement of the program coincides with the 25th anniversary of Plepler founding the Urban Alliance. Plepler, Bank of America Global Head of Environmental, Social, and Governance, has connected high school students with early-career internship experiences since serving as an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in 1996.
“Andrew has built a career that combines his professional expertise with his passion for creating meaningful opportunities for young people to build their own careers,” said Larry Di Rita, President, Bank of America Washington, DC. “As a leader at Bank of America, Andrew has been instrumental in shaping programs to enhance economic mobility, and the Plepler Internships recognize his long-time commitment to that.”
Since 1996, Urban Alliance has connected more than 6,000 young people to paid internships and 23,000 more with workforce training and professional development. Through its flagship High School Internship Program, Urban Alliance connects approximately 500 students annually to paid internship experiences with more than 200 employers across the Greater Washington, DC area, Baltimore, Chicago, and Detroit. Over the course of a year, a high school senior can gain 500 hours of paid work experience and receive 100 hours of skills training, professional development, and mentoring. One hundred percent of Urban Alliance interns graduate from high school with a post-high school plan, and 88% of students plan to attend college.
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Andy Aldridge, Bank of America