AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Multiple colleges and universities in Texas, including Dallas College-El Centro Campus and Prairie View A&M University, and Bank of America today announced a new multimillion dollar jobs initiative to help students of color complete the education and training necessary to be successful in today’s workforce as part of the bank’s commitment to advancing racial equality and economic opportunity. This initiative builds on Bank of America’s ongoing work in Texas to address the underlying issues facing individuals and communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the current health crisis.
“Advancing economic mobility through education and workforce training is a priority for Bank of America in Texas and across the country,” said Jennifer Chandler, Dallas market president for Bank of America. “Creating meaningful career opportunities that include a pathway to reducing student debt, obtaining health care and retirement benefits will ultimately help Black and Hispanic-Latino students build net worth, help their families, and have ripple effects across our communities and greater economy.”
Dallas College-El Centro Campus and Prairie View A&M University are each receiving $1 million as part of the bank’s $25 million, nationwide initiative with partnerships at 21 higher education institutions, including community colleges, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and 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.
“The current times have been very challenging and disruptive for our students, often causing them to question whether they can continue their studies,” said Dr. Ruth Simmons, president, Prairie View A&M University. “Efforts by Bank of America to encourage their persistence and ambition are very much needed and will create a pathway for many to remain enrolled and complete their education. We are grateful for the timeliness and generosity of these actions.”
Additionally, the bank has expanded its support of higher education institutions across the state by providing incremental funding to:
- Alamo Colleges – St. Philip’s Campus
- Huston-Tillotson University
- St. Edward’s University
- Texas Christian University
- Texas Southern University
- University of North Texas
- University of Texas at Austin
- University of Texas at Arlington
This is in addition to the $15 million in philanthropic grants Bank of America has made to support education and workforce development in Texas over the past five years.
Today, less than 40% of community college students earn a certificate or degree within six years of enrollment.1 For students of color, graduation and completion rates are particularly low –28.8% for Black students and 37.1% for Hispanic students.2 The ongoing challenges stemming from the coronavirus have exacerbated the financial struggle of HBCUs and HSIs, both public and private, as they seek to serve students from the most vulnerable communities.
“The Black and Latino students who attend Dallas College, an amalgam of seven community colleges in Dallas County, will receive job application and career counseling as soon as they enroll on campus. We are preparing our students with relevant skills as well as degrees,” says Dr. Pyeper Wilkins, vice chancellor of Dallas Colleges. “Our partners, private companies of all sizes and across many industries in and around Dallas, are in need of such graduates.”
“I applaud Bank of America for its commitment to education and workforce initiatives across Texas, including their generous support for Aim Hire Texas,” said Margaret Spellings, former U.S. secretary of education and chief executive officer of Texas 2036. “This new statewide workforce initiative, co-chaired by Texas 2036 and The Commit Partnership, will work to ensure Texans have access to more effective and innovative workforce training programs and drive coordination and data-driven planning across the state. Their early investment will ensure more Texans are matched with good jobs that support a thriving state well into the future.”
Bank of America will work alongside other major employers in Texas to ensure these programs target the region’s specific hiring needs that will help Texan businesses grow and create clearly defined career pathways to future employment.
“AT&T is committed to creating economic opportunities and fostering upward mobility for Black, Hispanic and underserved communities that face long-standing social inequities and higher unemployment,” said Mike Peterson, vice president, AT&T-Texas. “Our contribution to this effort underscores our ongoing commitment to helping students succeed in the classroom and beyond. As we continue on this journey, we aspire to continue to remove barriers to academic success and career growth, and to help all students make their biggest dreams become a reality.”
“Like Bank of America and AT&T, IBM is committed to helping students build their skills to better prepare for the future of work,” said Dexter Henderson, IBM senior location executive, Austin, HBCU graduate and board of trustee member, Huston-Tillotson University. “We recognize that equal access to skills and jobs is the key to unlocking economic opportunity and prosperity for Black and Latino students. We are deeply focused on creating statewide and national opportunities for students to gain in-demand skills in emerging technologies across hybrid cloud, quantum and AI so they can flourish in the digital economy.”
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 and Hispanic-Latino individuals. 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
- Support of Boys & Girls Clubs of America With $1 Million Grant to Support Educational Programs
- $250 Million in Capital and $10 Million in Philanthropic Grants to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)
1 (Bailey et al. 2015) - Bailey, Thomas, Shanna Smith Jaggars, and Davis Jenkins. Redesigning America’s Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015.
2 Columbia Teachers College – Community College Research Center – Community College FAQs: https://ccrc.tc.columbia.edu/Community-College-FAQs.html.
Bank of America
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