CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – The partnership between Bank of America and the Year Up job training program has become a successful endeavor, according to representatives from both organizations.
Year Up offers a variety of skills-based job training pathways for young people who are looking for a career in a corporate environment but may not be able to afford an education at a traditional four-year university.
The one-year program teaches students specific skills and helps launch them into a career.
During the first six months of the program, a student is working with Year Up to polish their professional and business development. The program allows students to study one of five specific fields:
- Application development
- Data analytics
- Project management
- Consumer banking
Enrolled Charlotte students can also work on technical skills through instruction at Central Piedmont Community College. During the second six months of the program, a student works with a corporate partner for a real-world, on-the-job learning experience.
“We place students as software engineers, data analysts. We have folks working in retail branches of financial institutions,” Amy Drew, director of corporate engagement for Year Up, said. “It’s this concentrated investment of their time and energy to really level up themselves over the course of one year.”
Shadrach Wesseh recently moved to the Charlotte area from Liberia. After graduating from the Year Up program, he became a Bank of America employee.
“Man, it’s a lot different. To be able to advance your career as an individual is a whole lot different and I don’t take it for granted,” Wesseh said about the difference between the United States and his home country.
The Year Up grad said that the job training program was able to teach him more than cybersecurity; it also allowed him to learn essential business skills that will help him throughout his career. That includes how to properly format an email, manage his time and network with other professionals.
“I feel like if it wasn’t for Year Up, I don’t think I was gonna be in this position because just being provided that opportunity to be able to launch my career as a professional,” Wesseh said.
Sakara Sharp, another Year Up graduate in the Charlotte area, said she also credits the job training program for kickstarting her professional career. She currently works as a technical analyst at Bank of America.
“This gives you the foot in the door. They push you,” explained Sharp. “You know, companies like Bank of America, they’re willing to lend the hand to bring people on who don’t have that much experience that are driven individuals.”
Christie Gragnani-Woods, a talent acquisition executive at Bank of America, said she’s seen first-hand how the bank and Year Up can work together to elevate young workers.
“What we do together is we recognize that we have all of this talent in low- and moderate-income communities. We need to get in front of that talent. We need to explain all of the jobs that we have here at Bank of America, give them access, give them awareness, give them education and then help them get into the application process,” Gragnani-Woods said.
Those interested in the Year Up program can apply online.
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