$25 Million National Program Supports Programming, Re-skilling, and Upskilling for Students of Color; Includes Partnerships with Major Employers and The Aspen Institute
By Allison Horton
MIAMI —Bank of America today announced a new $1 million jobs initiative partnership with Florida International University (FIU), Miami Dade College (MDC) and University of Puerto Rico to help students of color successfully complete the education and training necessary to enter the workforce and embark on a path to success in Miami. This initiative builds on Bank of America’s ongoing work to address the underlying is-sues facing individuals and communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the current health crisis.
“We understand the important role skills development and training plays in advancing racial equity so students of color can thrive in our community,” said Gene Schaefer, Miami market president for Bank of America. “Bank of America is proud to partner with FAMU, FIU, MDC and University of Puerto Rico to ensure their students have access to high-quality training that will empower them to pursue opportunities and have a positive impact on economic justice and mobility.”
This year, the bank provided $2,330,000 in grants to nonprofits that are connecting individuals to skills and employment in Miami. The initiative is part of the bank’s recent $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, and its $25 million commitment to enhance up-skilling and reskilling for Black/African American and Hispanic-Latino individuals.
Including FAMU, FIU, MDC and University of Puerto Rico, the $25 million, nationwide initiative includes partnerships with nearly two dozen community colleges that serve predominately Black/African American and His-panic-Latino students, public historically Black colleges, and universities (HBCUs) and public Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs). Bank of America is also partnering with and providing funding to the Aspen Institute to convene the participating higher education institutions for technical and programmatic assistance and to share best practices.
Today, less than 40 per-cent of community college students earn a certificate or degree within six years of enrollment. For students of color, graduation and completion rates are particularly low – 28.8 percent for Black students and 37.1 percent for Hispanic students. Although HBCUs and HSIs are a mix of public and private institutions, the ongoing challenges brought on by coronavirus, have exacerbated their financial struggle as they seek to serve students from the most vulnerable communities.
“Over the past two years we have created a framework to give our learners the skills they need to enter or get promoted in specific industries. Our framework includes the design and de-livery of micro-credentials,” said Elizabeth Bejar, senior vice president for academic and student affairs at FIU. “This grant from Bank of America will allow us to expand our programs and make a transformative im-pact at a critical time when so many in our community are unemployed or under-employed.”
“Re-skilling, upskilling, retooling and completing a college certificate or degree have never been more important,” said Dr. Rolando Montoya, interim president of Miami Dade College. “This endeavor will go a long way in helping those who need it most.”
With the support from Bank of America, FAMU, FIU and MDC will develop or enhance existing programs to meet specific skills gaps to create higher paying, family-sustaining jobs that are in demand. Bank of America will work alongside The Miami-Dade Beacon Council in Miami to ensure these programs target specific hiring needs and create a clearly defined career pathway to future employment.
Focused on advancing economic mobility, Bank of America also recently announced:
- Seven Completed Equity Investments in Minority Depository Institutions and Community Development Financial Institution Banks
- $2 Billion Equality Progress Sustainability Bond
- Universal ESG Reporting; International Business Council of World Economic Forum
- Recognition as Top Global Bank on Fortune’s “Change the World” List
- $300 Million of Its $1 Billion, Four-Year Commitment to Advance Racial Equality and Economic Opportunity
- Support of Boys & Girls Clubs of America With $1 Million Grant to Support Educational Programs
- $1 Billion/4-Year Commitment to Support Economic Opportunity Initiatives
- $250 Million in Capital and $10 Million in Philanthropic Grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)