Workforce development & education

We're committed to the economic advancement of young adults, low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities, and those that deserve second chances. Our workforce development and education efforts include the way we hire, recruit and retain employees at our company, as well as our partnerships with nonprofits and local mayors.

We connect various underserved groups to the skills, resources and experience they need to succeed. By partnering with nonprofits, such as through our Student Leaders® program, we help youth reach their full potential through professional development and education. Inside our company, we promote people’s career paths, starting with how we recruit new employees and continuing with our many professional development and engagement practices.

We also work with local mayors and nonprofits to connect individuals who face barriers to employment with tools and resources for a more secure economic future. As one example, our seed funding for Unlocked Futures supports formerly incarcerated entrepreneurs who help other formerly incarcerated individuals rebuild their lives.

Group of students in class

Building skills for youth and young adults

To help open up opportunities for youth and young adults, we invest in various workforce development programs that help them build professional skills and find local career opportunities. These initiatives create sustainable change by advancing economic futures for individuals, building a diverse pipeline of talent for us and other companies, and fueling economic growth for communities.

One of our signature programs, Student Leaders®, helps civic-minded high school students develop deeper leadership and job skills, which are tools to create positive change for themselves and others. Every year, we help connect more than 300 high school juniors and seniors to service opportunities and skills training. Student Leaders® participate in an eight-week paid internship with local nonprofits like Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Habitat for Humanity.

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Education that's transforming lives and communities

Through The Academy at Bank of America, we provide individuals with live and on-demand educational resources to enhance their skills, boost their confidence, grow their business or navigate the job market.

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Pathways and Year Up® programs

To help individuals from LMI communities build lucrative, sustainable careers, we work with various nonprofits to connect local talent with training and employment.

Our Pathways program is helping build a pipeline of career-ready individuals equipped with the skills to succeed. And through our partnership with Year Up®, which originated in 2006, we’ve assisted in their efforts to give urban young adults access to professional careers and higher education. We have hosted more than 1,500 interns across the company since 2019 and the program has become a model for how to prepare students for economically mobile careers. The program provides a year of job training and internship opportunities for young adults, with the goal of transitioning into a full-time role or pursuing a degree upon completion. While on internship at Bank of America, participants are engaged in a series of learning & development opportunities, networking activities and receive a Bank of America mentor to help them navigate the bank and explore post-internship career planning.

Cultivating an exceptional team

We are committed to being a great place to work, which takes concerted efforts to invest in workforce development programs that advance skills-building; attract, hire and retain exceptional talent that is inclusive and diverse — like the 27,000 employees who joined us in 2018 — and advancing career paths by connecting individuals with career advancement opportunities.

We help bring populations into financial services that have historically been underrepresented in the industry. Since 2016, we’ve invested more than $50 million to develop workforce skills for youth and young adults. We offer tools and resources for those who face extra employment barriers like the formerly incarcerated and individuals with disabilities. Our company actively recruits and engages women, people of color, veterans and the LGBT+ community, too.

Once an employee joins our team, there are resources available at every level of the company — like our myCareer website and Career Path Tool — that encourage professional development and engagement for a prosperous career with us.

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Unlocked Futures

In 2017, we partnered with John Legend's organization, FREEAMERICA, and New Profit to found Unlocked Futures. This accelerator supports entrepreneurs impacted by the criminal justice system who are operating mission-driven organizations. Since the partnership began, we’ve committed $1 million to support it.

Besides facing the normal challenges of starting a business, formerly incarcerated people face many barriers when they re-enter society, like lack of access to formal job training. In addition, this problem disproportionately affects people of color.

Unlocked Futures gives these entrepreneurs an unrestricted $50,000 grant and one year of expert strategic support to help them increase the impact of their organizations. They will also receive coaching from Bank of America senior executives, in addition to working with FREEAMERICA to collectively and powerfully tell their stories to shift public mindsets and break the stigma of returning from incarceration.

Roughly 500,000 individuals are released from prison each year, and nearly 50% of them end up back in prison within five years. A lack of access to education, housing, jobs, healthcare and other resources helps contribute to this high rate of recidivism. We partner with programs like Unlocked Futures to offer access to needed programs and resources that can help break this cycle.

I have seen that entrepreneurship is a viable way for individuals impacted by the criminal justice system to build sustainable livelihoods and contribute to their communities and neighborhoods.
John Legend  |  Grammy winner and activist
Person cutting vegetable

Serving up new beginnings

The French restaurant run by EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute in Cleveland, Ohio isn’t just about good food. It’s part of a coordinated program to empower formerly incarcerated adults with culinary education, jobs, housing, legal services, medical care and more.

EDWINS was named a Bank of America Neighborhood Builder® in 2016, receiving $200,000 in flexible grant funding and leadership development and training for two of its leaders, which helped further fuel its success. To date, 97% of program graduates are employed. Plus, the recidivism rate barely breaks 1%, compared to the national average of 44%.

Our Neighborhood Builders® program supports nonprofits that enhance the communities we serve, giving them the tools to reach their vision and achieve greater success. Since 2004, we’ve invested more than $220 million and partnered with 1,000+ nonprofits and 2,000+ nonprofit leaders across the country.

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New Avenues for Youth helps at-risk teens in Portland overcome homelessness

Portland, OR–based nonprofit New Avenues for Youth has been helping marginalized homeless youth since 1997. Today, it is a growing part of the local community, and is focused on meeting basic needs for at-risk youth while also providing them with access to skills and resources to help them lead successful, healthy and productive lives.
Mentor teaching students

Broward County Boys & Girls Clubs instill confidence in kids through character-building programs

There’s more than meets the eye to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. What started as an after-school program in 1965, has become a multipronged approach to youth development focused on academic success, good character, citizenship and healthy lifestyles.
Student Leaders

Eligibility criteria - how to become a Student Leader

Interested in broadening your leadership skills? Learn more.
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