DSU, Bank of America announce $1 million employment initiative

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Delaware State University and Bank of America announced a new $1 million jobs initiative partnership to help students of color successfully complete the education and training necessary to enter the workforce.

This initiative builds on Bank of America’s work in Delaware to address the underlying issues facing individuals and communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus.

“Bank of America is committed to advancing racial equality and economic opportunity in Delaware, helping a diverse group of young adults gain skills and experience that will put them on a path to success,” said Chip Rossi, Delaware market president for Bank of America. “Our longstanding partnership with Delaware State University builds on our efforts to advance economic mobility through a focus on education and workforce development.”

This year, the bank provided nearly $4 million to nonprofits in Delaware focused on economic mobility and connecting individuals with opportunities to obtain skills and employment. This 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 upskilling and re-skilling for Black/African American and Hispanic-Latino individuals.

“Sustained corporate engagement is an absolute necessity for changing the landscape for millions of talented students of color,” says Harry Williams, president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the nation’s largest association for the HBCU community. “What Bank of America is doing today is initiating a process that will literally change the roadmap to success for these young people, and I am very excited about the prospect.” Williams is a former president of Delaware State University.

The $25 million, nationwide initiative includes partnerships with nearly two dozen community colleges that serve predominantly Black/African American and Hispanic-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.

With the support from Bank of America, Delaware State University will enhance existing programs into a set of career pathways to meet specific skills gaps, increase internship opportunities, and develop stronger career-related networks that ultimately lead to good-paying jobs in a variety of disciplines and companies.

Delaware State University President Tony Allen stated, “In my career in private, public and nonprofit sectors, I have heard many leaders who called for more Black talent across their organizations faced with a common retort: ‘We are having trouble finding them.’ The earnest truth is that these organizations need to be more intentional. Today’s HBCUs represent only three percent of the nation’s colleges and universities but are still graduating nearly 25 percent of Black college students, including 50 percent of Black engineers, 50 percent of Black teachers, 70 percent of Black doctors, 65 percent of Black attorneys and judges, and many, many more. We are expecting our partnership with Bank of America to be a model of our community and welcome other committed companies to the table.”

Allen is a former Bank of America executive.

Bank of America will work alongside companies like Delmarva Power, an Exelon Company, and other employers in Delaware and across the nation to ensure these programs target specific hiring needs and create a clearly defined career pathway to future employment.

“The partnership between Bank of America and Delaware State University is very exciting, and coming at a time when Delaware needs exceptional leaders like Chip Rossi and Dr. Tony Allen to step up and lead the way,” said Gary Stockbridge, president of Delmarva Power, an Exelon company, and the chairperson of Forward Delaware, the state’s primary workforce development initiative. “A strong workforce is a key differentiator among successful states, and the Workforce Development Board is very excited to be part of this great opportunity to invest in future Delaware leaders.”

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