Educational Programming and Training Support in Atlanta
By Wendy Stewart, Atlanta Market President for Bank of America
The gap between the richest and poorest U.S. households is the largest it has been in 50 years, and wealth challenges have compounded for Black/African American and Hispanic-Latino populations- especially during the pandemic- renewing an urgency to bridge the gap for racial equity and economic prosperity.
As we look for solutions, education is a crucial component of our nation’s recovery strategy for lower-income families. However, coronavirus-related challenges have caused many students and young people to rethink pursuing higher education due to lack of funds.
At Bank of America, we are launching a jobs initiative to support the educational needs and career goals of Black/African American and Hispanic-Latino students. This program will support community colleges, public historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) to connect institutions with employers and provide clear and defined career pathways to employment.
This $1 million initiative in Atlanta builds on Bank of America’s ongoing work here to address the underlying issues facing individuals and communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the current health crisis.
Locally we are partnering with Atlanta Technical College (ATC) to help students successfully complete the education and training necessary to enter the workforce. These careers in aviation, information technology and skilled trades will help students embark on a path to success in Atlanta.
Community colleges like ATC offer unique opportunities and alternatives to four-year universities; and although there is great potential to provide students with viable pathways to sustainable jobs and careers, more work can be done to improve student outcomes. While there is a considerable need for creating jobs, we cannot ignore the importance of taking action to train and prepare the workforce of tomorrow, especially individuals from underserved communities.
With this approach, we can accelerate the closing of the wealth gap by seizing the opportunity to link skills training to business demand via public-private partnerships.