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Partnership Between Bank of America and 2 Local Nonprofits Helps Build Workforce and Leadership Skills in DSM

Student Leaders Program in DSM

September 24, 2019

Young people are our leaders of tomorrow. Unfortunately, there are many young people in our communities who aren’t given the opportunities they need today to lead us into the future. As we look forward, we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep young people connected and growing in our communities. With that philosophy in mind, Bank of America started the Student Leaders program 15 years ago and expanded it this year to include the great state of Iowa.

Bank of America’s Student Leaders (#BofAStudentLeaders) program offers young people an opportunity to build their workforce and leadership skills through a paid summer internship at a local nonprofit and help improve their community.

Across the country, 4.7 million young people ages 16 to 19 are categorized as disconnected, meaning they are not in school and do not have a job. In Polk County alone, 1 in 17 youth ages 16 to 19 are disconnected. Without access to opportunities that build career skills, many young people may be left behind, leading to high rates of youth unemployment and juvenile delinquency and hindering overall economic progress. Paid youth employment programs like Student Leaders connect young adults to education, training and the job market while servicing the community.

At Bank of America, we have recognized nearly 3,500 Student Leaders from across the country since the program’s beginning. With our expansion to Iowa, as well as 29 additional new markets across the U.S., our program engaged nearly 300 young people this summer. Across the country, Bank of America is investing more than $4 million to support nearly 3,000 summer jobs for teens through various initiatives, including Student Leaders.

Iowa’s Student Leaders have been exceptional additions to the program with their work at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa and Urban Dreams this summer.

Leading by Example

Joanna Espitia, a junior at North High School, spent her summer working at Urban Dreams, a nonprofit committed to shaping local policy and programs to better serve under-represented and under-served populations. Joanna’s classmate, Ruth Bropleh, a senior at North High School, worked at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa this summer. Ruth has helped the organization continue to provide one-on-one mentorship to children facing adverse circumstances, making sure they feel supported and can reach their full potential.

Both of these organizations have taught these Student Leaders vital lessons on leadership, work ethic and professional habits. We at Bank of America are proud to be able to partner with these phenomenal organizations and give our Student Leaders a great experience through community service.

In addition to working with a community partner, the Student Leaders also attended an annual leadership summit in Washington D.C. last month. Joanna and Ruth joined nearly 300 other young people from across the country to build advocacy and inclusive leadership skills, and develop a peer network. In addition to discussing civil rights and the value of cross-sector partnerships, they also met with members of Congress and participated in a service-learning project at the American Red Cross.

I cannot express how proud I am of our Student Leaders here in Greater Des Moines (DSM). Their participation in this program has laid a solid foundation for their futures. I am excited to see what these remarkable young people do next and how they decide to serve their communities in the future.

Learn more about student opportunities within DSM.

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