As we collectively navigate the challenges brought on by the coronavirus and work to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, we remain committed to supporting youth and young adults through employment and leadership development opportunities. In 2020, Bank of America is connecting approximately 3,700 high school students from across the country to summer jobs through partnerships with nonprofits and local mayors and the Bank of America Student Leaders® program.
“This summer, as we continue to experience the effects of the coronavirus, access to employment is enormously challenging,” said Andrew Plepler, global head of Environmental, Social & Governance at Bank of America. “That’s why we’re particularly pleased to remain steadfast in our commitment to summer youth employment across the country, helping young adults from all backgrounds gain early work experience that will put them on a path to success.”
Through our Summer Youth Employment Program, we are continuing our partnerships with local nonprofits and mayors’ offices across the country to help match approximately 3,300 at-risk youth with valuable work experience.
This summer, many cities are getting creative with the jobs for interns in order to provide safe and physically distanced employment opportunities. In Orlando, summer jobs include partnering with nonprofits to distribute food to those in need or serving as park rangers to help with social distancing. In Charlotte, the city is partnering with LinkedIn Learning and the Radius Group to create industry-specific virtual internship opportunities for students who are no longer able to have in-person experiences. In St. Louis, STL Youth Jobs is connecting youth to traditional jobs in retail and essential business services, support of the city’s beautification program, as well as alternatives to in person opportunities including virtual training.
This year we continue to build upon our Bank of America Student Leaders® program, through which we’ve connected nearly 4,000 community-minded high school juniors and seniors to employment, skills development and service since 2004. This summer, our 300 Student Leaders will participate in a virtual program with a focus on civic engagement, mentoring, leadership skills and financial acumen. Student Leaders will engage in conversations focused on social justice, civil rights and building a more diverse and inclusive society and will receive a financial award as part of their Student Leader experience.
This group of outstanding young people has already demonstrated a passion and commitment to a variety of meaningful causes:
- Julia Mari Zara from Sacramento, CA, runs Bags for the Brave, an organization that provides necessity bags to cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy; in response to the coronavirus, she learned how to sew to include face masks in the bags.
- Jacob Thomas Ellis from Hampton Roads, VA, helped to start The Greater Good Initiative, a think tank for youth that advocates for nonpartisan policies to improve his community.
- Jackelyn Campos in Chicago, IL, has been serving as an essential worker at a local grocery store and fast food restaurant.
- Ahmad Khalil from Jersey City, NJ, has been helping to share public service information on the coronavirus through the Jersey City Action Group Instagram page, including linking to resources for mental health support.
- William John Lourcey in Fort Worth, TX, raised more than $1,200 to donate to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Tarrant County, providing more than 200 healthy meals for children in need.
In addition to these programs, we’ve made adjustments to our Financial Center Internship program, which employs high school students from low-income communities, adapting this program into a virtual learning opportunity with full stipends to be provided.
Since 2015, Bank of America has invested nearly $30 million to support more than 10,000 summer jobs for young people, including at-risk youth from low-income communities in more than 90 communities.