ORANGE, NJ— Bank of America today announced that four recent high school graduates and one high school senior from  New Jersey have been selected as Student Leaders (#BofAStudentLeaders). This signature philanthropic program offers young people an opportunity to build their workforce and leadership skills through a paid summer internship at a local nonprofit and the ability to help improve their communities. Now in its fifteenth year in New Jersey , the bank has recognized more than 80 local Student Leaders, helping them chart a path for success.  Nearly 3,500 young people from across the country have gained skills and workforce experience through the program since 2004.

Today, about 15 percent of all young people across the country, or 4.7 million, are categorized as disconnected youth who aren’t in school and don’t have a job.  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 that connect young adults to education, training and the job market can help them build workforce skills while also enabling them to engage with their community in unique ways.  

Through Student Leaders, Bank of America helps young people gain work experience, broaden their perspective on how nonprofits serve community needs, and advance their civic engagement. Student Leaders from across the country also develop better money habits by working with bank volunteers to increase their financial management skills, from building a budget to creating a savings plan.

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To bring the program full circle and enable Student Leaders to engage with their like-minded peers, Bank of America also hosts an annual leadership summit in Washington, D.C. (July 8-13). Students will join 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 will meet with members of Congress and participate in a service learning project at the American Red Cross.

“We recognize that building workforce skills early can help prepare a young person for long-term success,” said Bob Doherty, New Jersey market president, Bank of America. “Investing in youth and young adults is part of our broader commitment to connect individuals to the training and jobs needed for success, ultimately strengthening our community.”

The New Jersey-based Student Leaders will work at Boys & Girls Clubs of New Jersey this summer. Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey is an alliance of 22 Boys & Girls Club organizations serving over 70,000 youth ages 5-18 throughout the Garden State.  Boys & Girls Clubs in New Jersey is a collaborative effort representing all 22 Clubs with the purpose of building local Club capacity; raising public awareness; and securing resources and financial support to increase the impact and reach of local Clubs.

The five New Jersey Student Leaders are:                                  

·         Matthew Atehortua, a Newark resident and recent graduate of East Side High School, is interning at the Ironbound Boys & Girls Club

·         Aishat Jimoh, a Newark resident and recent graduate of Science High School, is interning at the Boys & Girls Club of Newark

·         Ruth Jolibois, an Orange resident and recent graduate of Orange High School, is interning at the  Ironbound Boys & Girls Club

·         Marwa Reshid, a Trenton resident and a rising senior at Foundation Collegiate Academy, is interning at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County

·         Nashleen Salazar-Rodriguez, a Trenton resident and recent graduate at Princeton Day School, is interning at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Mercer County

This summer, Bank of America is investing more than $4 million in funding to support nearly 3,000 summer jobs for teens across the country through various initiatives, with a particular focus on young people from low-income families. Bank of America also provides information and tools to help young adults learn about careers and personal finance through Better Money Habits®, its financial wellness and education platform.