$25 Million national program supports programming, re-skilling, and upskilling for students of color; includes partnerships with major employers and the Aspen Institute
Riverside City College (RCC) and Bank of America announced recently 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 their path to success in Southern California. This grant is part of Bank of America’s ongoing work in the region to address the underlying issues facing individuals and communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the current health crisis.
“We remain committed to helping address the barriers to sustainable employment that exist for many communities of color,” said Bank of America Inland Empire market president Al Argüello. “This program helps support Black and Hispanic-Latino students by creating a collaborative approach to job training that will enable them to make a real and meaningful impact in their communities now and over the years ahead.”
“This generous grant from the Bank of America reflects our long-standing partnership, united as we are in providing opportunity to students and strengthening the regional economy,” RCC President Gregory Anderson said. “This gift will streamline pathways to academic and career success, particularly for students of color.”
This year, the bank also provided nearly $420,000 in grants to Inland Empire nonprofits that are connecting individuals to skills and employment in the region. The initiative is part of the bank’s recent $1 billion, four-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, which includes a $25 million commitment to enhance up-skilling and reskilling for Black and Hispanic-Latino individuals.
“Bank of America is bringing balance to a serious issue – a systemic decline in funding and attention to our community colleges. Riverside City College is vital to providing the advanced training needed by students to adjust new economic realities,” said Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey. “Companies like Bank of America clearly recognize that investment in our educational institutions translates into a higher number of individuals completing their coursework and securing higher-paying jobs.”
Including Riverside City and Los Angeles Trade Tech colleges, the $25 million, nationwide initiative partners with nearly two dozen community colleges that serve predominately Black 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 the coronavirus, have exacerbated their financial struggle as they seek to serve students from the most vulnerable communities.
With the support of Bank of America, RCC will strengthen its existing pathways that maximize opportunity for many more students to achieve their academic and career goals. Programs and curricula will provide skills, certificates, and degrees that lead to high-demand family-sustaining jobs, with a particular emphasis on careers in health care. This funding will also create new systems for tracking and creating networks with graduates and employers.
“As the Executive Director of Critical Care at Riverside University Health Systems, I have had the ability to get to know and see the excellent Registered Nurses who received their training in RCC’s School of Nursing,” said Chief Nursing Officer Leah Patterson. “In my new role, I look forward to many more years of getting to know and work with this program.”
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