JACKSONVILLE – Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) and Bank of America today announced a new $1 million jobs initiative partnership to help students of color successfully complete the education and training necessary to enter the workforce and embark on a path to success in Jacksonville. This initiative builds on Bank of America’s ongoing work in Jacksonville to address the underlying issues facing individuals and communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the current health crisis.
“We fully recognize that jobs are a critical pillar to address the racial wealth gap in Jacksonville, and we’re focused on supporting local Black/African American and Hispanic-Latino students in the community by partnering with Florida State College at Jacksonville,” said Greg Smith, Jacksonville Market President for Bank of America. “This program’s initiative builds on Bank of America's longstanding efforts to advance economic mobility with a hyper-targeted focus on education and workforce training.”
This year, the bank provided $190,000 in grants to nonprofits that are connecting individuals to skills and employment in Jacksonville. 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 FSCJ, the $25 million, nationwide initiative includes partnerships with nearly two dozen community colleges that serve predominately 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.
Today, less than 40 percent 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.
“Florida State College at Jacksonville is honored to receive this grant from Bank of America which will elevate our ability to support Black/African American and Hispanic-Latino students and prepare them for career opportunities,” said College President John Avendano, Ph.D. “Thanks to this grant, the College will focus on our proactive work with school districts, community partners and industry leaders to support diverse talent pipelines. We will also be able to enhance our programming that quickly prepares students to enter high-need, high-wage jobs. As an additional benefit to students, our wraparound support services, career counseling, financial literacy coaching and job placement assistance bolsters the student experience and brings them closer to success.”
With the support from Bank of America, FSCJ will develop or enhance existing programs to meet specific skills gaps to create higher paying, family-sustaining jobs that are in demand. This includes offering certificate programs that prepare students to immediately enter high-need, high-wage jobs, training programs aligned with the skill needs of local employers and the region’s targeted industries, financial literary coaching, post-graduation support services to help underrepresented students persist in the labor market and increase their earnings, thereby reducing wage disparities, and so much more.
Bank of America will work alongside the JAX Chamber to ensure these programs target specific hiring needs and create a clearly defined career pathway to future employment.
"It is proven that individuals with at least some level of post-secondary attainment have the ability to be more economically self-sufficient and resilient in challenging times such as now,” said Aundra Wallace, president of JAXUSA Partnership, the regional economic development division of JAX Chamber. “The partnership between FSCJ and Bank of America is a tremendous win for our community as it will prepare our region’s most vulnerable students to find gainful and meaningful employment in local businesses, thus contributing to the economic prosperity of all Northeast Florida residents.”
“I am proud to represent three FSCJ campuses including the downtown campus. From a young girl when my mother started as a nursing instructor when the college was established in army bunkers, I have appreciated the education and workforce development focus of the now Florida State College,” said Florida Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson, who also represents the 6th district. “I am excited about the Bank of America commitment to the helping advance the hopes, dreams and goals of high earning jobs through education for an increasing number of minority students who choose the state college pathway.”
Focused on advancing economic mobility, Bank of America also recently announced:
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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Florida State College at Jacksonville
Known as “the community’s college,” Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) exists to provide valuable, high-quality learning opportunities to anyone with the desire to enhance themselves through the pursuit of higher education. Serving more than 45,000 students and awarding more than 8,000 degrees and certificates on an annual basis, the College plays a significant role in supplying the region’s employers with a highly skilled, educated workforce.
About JAXUSA Partnership
JAXUSA Partnership, a division of JAX Chamber, is Jacksonville’s regional economic development organization. JAXUSA Partnership recruits new companies and expands existing business to increase high-wage job growth, private capital investment and a highly skilled talent presence in Northeast Florida. The organization works with economic development partners in Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns Counties; the independent authorities of JAXPORT, JAA, JEA and JTA; CareerSource Northeast Florida; and private-sector investors in its mission to be a catalyst for regional economic growth.
Reporters May Contact:
Matthew Daily, Bank of America
Phone number: 1.404.607.2844