Bank of America Connects Hartford-Area Youth to Workforce Success Through Paid Virtual Summer Leadership Experience

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Student Leaders Program underlines the bank’s ongoing commitment to connect young people to jobs, skills-building, and opportunities to strengthen the community

HARTFORD, CT -- Bank of America graduated another class of Student Leaders (#BofAStudentLeaders) in its first ever Virtual Student Leaders program. The program was focused on leadership, civic engagement, and workforce skills-building.  In light of the health concerns that remain in local communities, the program was adapted to a virtual format, where students had the opportunity to participate in sessions that exposed them to the vital role that nonprofits play in advancing community health, advancing social change, and building financial acumen.

The Class of 2020 Hartford Bank of America Student Leaders:

  • Priya Bhat, a Unionville resident and rising senior at University High School of Science and Engineering in Hartford.

  • Kailey Gordon, a Hartford resident and rising senior at AI Prince Technical High School in Hartford.

  • Jayleen Lopez, a Hartford resident and rising senior at Berlin High School.

  • Justine Ndihokubwayo, a Hartford resident and graduate of Hartford Public High School; attending St. John’s University in the fall.

Hartford Student Leaders participated in programming that leveraged Bank of America’s national partnerships and expertise in addition to working closely with the bank’s Hartford leadership and nonprofit partners. They worked on a collaborative project with the Boys & Girls Club of Hartford (BGCH) that entailed collecting stories and testimonials from BGCH members, their families, and the community, to help tell the club’s story.  The content will be used on their website and in grant proposals to assist with fundraising in an effort to grow their footprint.

“At the Boys & Girls Club, we strive to create pathways to opportunities for our youth,” said Sam S. Gray Jr., President and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Hartford. “We have hosted Bank of America’s Student Leaders since the program’s inception in 2004 and appreciate the value the students bring to our organization and how they set positive examples for fellow youth. While we collaborated virtually with them this year, we still enjoyed helping this year’s class develop their leadership skills.”

In addition, Student Leaders engaged in conversations focused on social justice, civil rights, and how to build a more diverse and inclusive society.  They also had the opportunity to gain a better understanding of their personal finances through Better Money Habits, Bank of America’s financial wellness and education platform.

Bringing students from across the country together in order to discuss the role of citizenship and how cross sector collaboration creates community impact is a core component of the Student Leaders program.  This year, 300 students gathered virtually for the Young America Together at Home program, delivered by the Close Up Foundation, which included discussions of finding one’s voice in order to affect change and pressing policy issues such as the economy, healthcare, the environment, and immigration.

“Bank of America is grateful for our extensive partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Hartford as we collectively navigated the new and unique challenges for this summer’s Student Leader program,” said Joe Gianni, market president for Bank of America in the Greater Hartford region. “We in Greater Hartford are so fortunate to have a diverse pipeline of community-minded young adults.  We remain committed to supporting each one by helping them build a network, providing internships, and sharing the leadership training skills needed for success.  This is Bank of America’s powerful investment in the future of Greater Hartford.”

Now in particular, in the wake of significant job losses nationwide, the ability to earn a paycheck is essential to many young people whether they are helping to support their families or planning for the future. As part of their Student Leader experience and in recognition of their community achievements, each student participating in the 2020 program received a $5,000 stipend.

Recent estimates suggest that the number of disconnected youth – those who aren’t in school and don’t have a job – has likely tripled since last year and could be as high as 18 million. Without access to opportunities that build career skills, many young people may be left behind, leading to high rates of youth unemployment and hindering overall economic progress. In addition to Student Leaders, the bank invests in summer jobs for young people through its partnership with the City of Hartford’s Summer Youth Employment and Learning Program through which high school students and young adults gain valuable workforce skills.  This summer, Bank of America connected approximately 3,000 young adults to summer jobs through partnerships with nonprofits and local mayors and its own Student Leaders® program.

Bank of America
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer, and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).

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