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Bank of America announces $1M investment in ASU to drive new workforce development initiative supporting students of color

The support will fund early employment, education and job training in collaboration with ASU


student at ASU Hispanic Convocation making a pitchfork with her hand

Students at ASU's Hispanic Convocation.

December 02, 2020

Arizona State University will expand programs and initiatives to prepare students of color to complete the education and training necessary to enter and advance in sustainable employment in the Greater Phoenix area thanks to a $1 million gift from Bank of America.

The investment in ASU, announced by Bank of America on Nov. 20, will fund early employment, education and job training in collaboration with the university while supporting diverse talent and helping to build a pipeline that will strengthen and enhance today’s workforce.

“Arizona State University puts student success at the center of everything we do, and when partners like Bank of America stand with us in that commitment and put their own resources on the line to make things happen, the impact is one that changes people’s lives,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “There is an enormous amount of work to be done to reach all of the learners who have the drive and desire to attend college, and this contribution by BofA helps more of them achieve their dreams.”

ASU has a proven track record of student success through its commitment to inclusivity, affordability and accessibility. More than 40% of those enrolled this fall at ASU are students from underrepresented populations, and of all undergraduates, 35% are the first in their family to attend college.

With the support from Bank of America, ASU will enhance its existing curriculum to career tracks that meet specific skills gaps to create higher-paying, family-sustaining jobs that are in demand.

“We remain committed to helping address the barriers to sustainable employment that exist for many communities of color,” said Bank of America Arizona market president Benito Almanza. “This program helps support Black/African American 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 year, the bank also provided $425,000 in grants to Phoenix nonprofits that are connecting individuals to skills and employment in Phoenix. 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/African American and Hispanic-Latino individuals. The nationwide initiative includes the partnership with ASU and partnerships with nearly two dozen community colleges that serve predominantly Black/African American and Hispanic-Latino students, public historically Black colleges and universities and public Hispanic-serving institutions.

“Arizona State University is honored to partner with Bank of America to build new career pathways for students from Latino and other diverse backgrounds,” said James Rund, senior vice president of educational outreach and student services at ASU. “The partnership is an ideal pairing of two entities focused on increasing corporate investments within underrepresented communities while supporting college students and working adults to achieve their academic goals and succeed in a transformed workplace.”

The ASU-Bank of America collaboration will expand the university’s already significant, broad commitment to college and career access across the K-20 continuum. 

“The initiative will develop and advance a new model for Bank of America and other corporate partners to expand their talent pipeline from within through internships, certification programs and degree pathways,” said Edmundo Hidalgo, vice president of education outreach partnerships. “Ultimately, this effort will also leverage our shared goal to increase engagement in workforce development efforts and make a deeper impact within diverse communities in Greater Phoenix and across Arizona.”

Recognizing the importance of a diverse student community and the impact it has on shaping ideas, advancing research and preparing students to engage with people unlike themselves, ASU has become a majority-minority-serving institution.

In the last 12 years, Latino student enrollment at ASU has doubled, serving approximately 15,700 Latino students in fall 2018. The following year, ASU was one of nine institutions to earn the Seal of Excelencia, a prestigious, voluntary and comprehensive certification granted by the Washington, D.C.-based organization Excelencia in Education.

The seal recognizes an institution’s very high level of commitment and effort to serve Latino students successfully.

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