Two workers behind the counter, smiling

Every successful career starts with a first job

In Sacramento, a nonprofit helps young people from underserved communities find steady work

The combination of the entertainment industry, technology innovation, robust manufacturing and being one of the most productive agricultural environments in the world has made California one of the wealthiest states in the country. And yet, in Sacramento, tens of thousands of 16- to -24-year-oldsfootnote1 are unemployed or not enrolled in school. The nonprofit organization Juma understands the importance of building experience in the workforce as the first step in developing a long-term career. Juma’s YouthConnect program works to place individuals in entry-level positions and then offers skills training, money management classes and career coaching — all with the goal of giving its participants the confidence to set and pursue their own professional pathways.

This learn-by-doing approach is made possible by the nonprofit’s social enterprise, a line of concession stands at sports and entertainment venues. In Sacramento that means service industry jobs at the Golden 1 Center, home of the National Basketball Association’s Sacramento Kings, as well as two other facilities. Juma staffs its concessions with young men and women from low-income neighborhoods, offering them both a salary and an environment of continuous learning.

Funding from Bank of America helps YouthConnect continue to serve disadvantaged young people in the Sacramento area. And, with an eye on continuing to provide opportunity to vulnerable populations, funding from partners like Bank of America will help Juma, which operates in six cities across the country, scale its critical services nationally

The support for Juma is an example of Bank of America’s commitment to help advance racial equality and economic opportunity in local neighborhoods around the country. From entrepreneur funding and expanding home ownership to professional skills training and healthcare access, Bank of America continues to partner with innovative leaders to help communities implement solutions to society’s biggest challenges.