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DSM Student Leaders Gain Leadership Skills and Sense of Community During Virtual Internship

Student Leaders Program

November 9, 2020

As we collectively navigate the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to advance racial equality and economic opportunity in our country, we remain committed to supporting our youth and young adults by connecting them to jobs, skills-building and leadership development opportunities. This year, Bank of America is especially proud to highlight our Iowa Student Leaders (#BofAStudentLeaders) and the work these young adults accomplished in partnership with Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative (IHSI).

As the coronavirus changes the way we do so many things in our daily lives, it is more important than ever that we support the education and skills training of the next generation. This pandemic has shown how our world will continue to need innovative thinkers to tackle the problems of tomorrow. Investing in our youth is a key component to recovering from the impact of the coronavirus on our communities.

Recent estimates suggest that nationwide, the number of disconnected youths, 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 individuals currently. 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. Bank of America’s Student Leaders program offers young people an opportunity to build their workforce and leadership skills as well as help play an active role in their community through a paid summer internship at a local nonprofit.

In 2020, we connected approximately 3,700 young adults from across the country to summer jobs through partnerships with nonprofits and local mayors and our own Student Leaders program. Since 2015, Bank of America has invested nearly $30 million to support nearly 10,000 summer jobs for young people, including at-risk youth from low-income families in more than 60 communities. Cindy Hoang Internship

DSM Student Leaders

Two Greater Des Moines (DSM) students participated in this year’s Student Leaders program: Victor Ndungu, a senior at Roosevelt High School, and Cindy Hoang, a senior at North High School. Bank of America’s first six-week virtual Student Leaders program consisted of several different components, including a project for IHSI. In the first portion, students participated in a virtual gathering for the Young Democracy at Home program, delivered by the Close Up Foundation which included a discussion on finding one’s voice in order to effect change and pressing policy issues such as the economy, healthcare, the environment and immigration.

As part of the IHSI project, Ndungu and Hoang were asked to analyze IHSI’s website and social media and work alongside mentors to develop a report of recommendations for the organization to use to better engage all communities across the state. To conclude their internships, the students presented their findings and recommendations to a panel of local Bank of America market leaders and leaders in IHSI.

We recognize 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 Leaders experience, each student received a $5,000 stipend to recognize them for their community achievements.

We continue to build upon our Bank of America Student Leaders program, which this year recognized 300 high school students for their community commitment and was delivered virtually with a focus on civic engagement, mentoring, leadership skills and building financial knowledge. Student Leaders gained insight from local and national nonprofit leaders who helped develop their professional skill sets.

Through our summer youth employment initiatives, we helped youth and young adults gain a better understanding of personal finances through Better Money Habits®, our financial wellness and education platform. These tools will help impact the lives and careers of these students for years to come and give them the necessary knowledge to start on the right track of financial soundness.

Summer 2021 Applications

Bank of America’s Student Leaders program has been committed to youth employment and economic mobility since 2004. Applications for our summer 2021 program are now open and will close on Friday, January 29, 2021. Students can apply online at our Student Leaders webpage.

I am so proud of DSM’s Student Leaders and the work they completed over the course of their internship. Their participation in this program offered them many new experiences and opportunities as they developed great foundational professional skills that they will carry with them into many future roles. I am excited to see what these remarkable young people do next and how they decide to serve their communities in the future.

Job opportunities and career resources are abundant in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Whether you're looking to find an internship, a job, develop professionally or grow as a student, we have the resources to help you thrive.

Annie Brandt

Annie Brandt is a senior vice president and market manager for Bank of America. She works in partnership with the market president and market integration executive to help lead local market goals of connecting businesses, families and individuals to banking and investment teams that help improve their financial lives.