March 9, 2011
Improving Career Opportunities for Youth Focus of Hartford Foundation, Bank of America Grant
With youth employment rates running at record low levels, the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and Bank of America have awarded $250,000 to help fund a project designed to encourage high school graduation and improve student preparation for work in a global economy.
The collaboration between the Hartford Foundation ($150,000) and Bank of America ($100,000) will support participation of Hartford youth in the school-year Career Competency Youth Development Program, an ongoing project of Capital Workforce Partners in partnership with local nonprofits and businesses. The program complements the Summer Youth Employment and Learning Program by linking summer jobs to academic-year programs.
The program will serve approximately 150 students ages 14 to 19 at the Weaver Culinary Arts Program, Pathways to Technology, Weaver High School Journalism and New Media Academy, Hartford High School Nursing Academy, and the Hartford High School Law and Government Academy.
The focus will be on improving basic academic skills; computer literacy; interpersonal communication, job seeking skills; customer service and problem-solving; and decision making. After the students complete 10-to-12 weeks of career competency instruction, they will participate in a 7-to-10 week paid work experience and internship. Participants receive a $25 per week stipend during the instruction period and minimum wage ($8.25 per hour) during the internship, for an earning potential of $821 that can help to support participants’ immediate personal and family needs.
School guidance counselors, career counselors and other school staff supporting the students will also receive technical assistance and career competency training and development. The grant also supports expanding the program’s website to provide resources and interactive tools to help students learn computer skills, and develop a resume and personal career and learning plan as well as other skills.
“Year-round career and job readiness skill development for Hartford youth are critical in preparing them to compete in local and other job markets,” said Linda J. Kelly, president of the Hartford Foundation.
“Complementing real life experience with classroom learning will give program participants a distinct advantage as they prepare to enter the workforce,” said Kevin Cunningham, Bank of America Connecticut president.
“Whenever we have an opportunity to build career competencies in young people, we must act. They are our future workforce talent pipeline, and a critical factor in the economic development of our city and region,” says Tom Phillips, president and CEO of Capital Workforce Partners. “We are grateful to the Hartford Foundation and Bank of America for their commitment to Hartford’s youth.”
According to a survey by Northeastern University Labor Studies, national rates of employment among youth ages 16-19 have fallen from 48 percent in 2000 to 25 percent in 2009. While summer is traditionally a peak time for youth employment, last year, 51 percent of Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 years old were unemployed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This marks the first time since 1948, when the government first started collecting this data, that less than half of all U.S. youth were employed in July.
This is the second collaboration between the Hartford Foundation and Bank of America. In 2009, they jointly awarded $250,000 in grants to 53 organizations in Greater Hartford providing basic human needs.
Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for the 29-town Greater Hartford region, dedicated to improving the quality of life for area residents for the past 85 years. The Foundation receives gifts from thousands of generous individuals and families, and in 2010, awarded grants of more than $29 million to a broad range of area nonprofit organizations. For more information about the Hartford Foundation, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.
Bank of America is one of the world’s largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 57 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,900 retail banking offices and approximately 18,000 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 29 million active users. Bank of America is among the world's leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 4 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.