Shaping Chicago's future, one student at a time

Oct 01, 2013

Learning the Jobs of Tomorrow

Before connecting with After School Matters, Touré Kodzo Apawu was applying for jobs at fast food restaurants and big box stores. It was his high school counselor who introduced him to the Chicago-based nonprofit, which prepares teens for the jobs of the future by matching them with hands-on apprenticeships and internships. Apawu wasn’t interested at first, thinking participation meant extra schoolwork. He later enrolled in an arts-based apprenticeship and appreciated the learning and networking experience. It’s what led to his enrollment at East West University and his summer internship at Jarvis Corp, which manufactures LED light fixtures. “Engineering and electronics – that’s the future,” said Apawu. “To have this miracle of a blessing at such a young age is just perfect.”

Expanding Career Opportunities

Vicpatrick Harris didn’t hold jobs during high school, because he was determined to make basketball his career. He earned an athletic scholarship, but dedicated the summer before his freshman year to school and work. After School Matters offered the Chicago Public School graduate an apprenticeship and later an internship at Synergy Construction Group, a general contracting and construction management firm. There, he’s working as an accounts payable clerk and acclimating to the office environment. The work has inspired him to pursue a major in finance or business administration, and has boosted his confidence in applying for future jobs. “To work in an office environment, it’s a whole new ballgame, said Harris.”

Building the Future Workforce

The summer internships Apawu and Harris enjoyed are part of After School Matters’ effort to keep local students off the streets and on the path to success. The organization serves 22,000 students with programing during the school year and summer, impacting more than 100,000 students to date. What started as a program to introduce high school students to the arts has become a nationally recognized model for introducing them to the workforce. “Sometimes young people have been through a great deal and they don’t have a lot of hope for the future,” said Mary Ellen Caron, CEO. “For them to meet someone who takes an interest in them, tells them about their passion for their career and offers them the opportunity to see what a career would be – that’s so important.”

Sustaining a Commitment to Community

Bank of America has contributed more than $1 million to After School Matters since the organization was founded in 1991 by then-First Lady Maggie Daley. Today, the bank provides a combination of funding, counsel and service under the leadership of Illinois Market President Tim Maloney. Bank volunteers tell participating students about their careers and show them how to manage their earnings. They encourage students to follow Maloney’s advice and “let this be the beginning of something great.” It’s part of a bigger commitment to ensuring the future health and success of Chicago’s communities.

Join the conversation: See how we’re connecting with our customers, clients, and communities on the Bank of America Facebook page and on Twitter at @BofA_Community.

After School Matters sign
Discovering Career Opportunities After School

After School Matters started as a way to introduce students to the arts, but evolved into a program for introducing them to the workforce.

Related article
Student Marquitta Thomas and Joshua Millman at coffee roaster
Discovering Career Opportunities After School

The organization serves 7,000 students during the summer and 22,000 during the school year, and has impacted more than 100,000 students to date.

Related article
Mary Ellen Caron and Tim Maloney
Discovering Career Opportunities After School

Bank of America has contributed more than $1 million to After School Matters since its founding, while also providing counsel and volunteers.

Related article
Touré Apawu and Tyshaun Scott at electrical shop
Discovering Career Opportunities After School

After School Matters offers teens a direct connection to professionals in a range of fields and then matches them with apprenticeships and internships.

Related article
Marquitta Thomas and Joshua Millman drinking coffee together
Discovering Career Opportunities After School

By keeping students off the streets and on the path to success, After School Matters has become a national model for workforce development.

Related article
Previous 1 / 5 Next


OpenLocation
OpenUnited States & Canada

Select a Partnering Locally State to view topics

Viewing Partnering Locally content for All States

OpenHow we're involved
For them to meet someone who takes an interest in them, tells them about their passion for their career and offers them the opportunity to see what a career would be – that’s so important.

Mary Ellen Caron
CEO, After School Matters


We donated over $12.9 millin to more than 864 hunger relief organizations
Corporate Social Responsibility