JERSEY CITY, N.J. | Bank of America and New Jersey City University (NJCU) have announced a historic partnership whereby the company will invest $560,000 in the NJCU School of Business and its Career Services Center. This unique grant is the largest single corporate gift and most significant investment in career development in NJCU’s history. The investment is in the form of a four-year grant that will address racial, ethnic, and income inequality and help students of color successfully complete the education and training necessary to enter the workforce and embark on a path to success.
Access to good jobs and meaningful careers are key to closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap. Students of color often face daunting challenges, including financial hardship, lack of guidance in choosing courses that will help them achieve success, and lack of internship and skill-building opportunities to prepare for career readiness. Bank of America is working to address these issues as part of its $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to help advance racial equality and create economic opportunity by focusing on priority areas of jobs/education/skills, health, small business, and housing.
It builds on Bank of America’s ongoing work to address the underlying issues facing individuals and communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the global pandemic.
NJCU, a top-performing school in multiple game-changing measurements, including distinction in Social Mobility, will utilize the partnership to integrate real-world experiences with in-classroom learning and professional development to assist students of color in securing meaningful internships and jobs. NJCU, a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) and Minority Serving Institution (MSI), features an undergraduate population that is 45 percent Hispanic-Latino and 21 percent Black. Additionally, 54 percent of its undergraduates are first-generation college students and 58 percent of eligible students received Pell grants during the 2020-21 academic year.
Dr. Sue Henderson, President of New Jersey City University, said: “We are grateful to all corporate partners and donors who invest in the lives of our students. This four-year investment by the Bank of America is not only a generous gift, but even more so, will ignite life-changing experiences in the lives of our students. Many of our students have financial
insecurity and lack mentorship, soft skill development, and professional development and internship opportunities, which will be addressed by this gift. We thank the Bank of America for their historic investment in NJCU’s critical goal of enhancing student success.”
“Solid employment skills are the key to self-sufficiency and economic mobility, and we hope our investment in New Jersey City University will encourage others to join us so the next generation of leaders have the training and education they need to succeed,” said Alberto Garofalo, President, Bank of America New Jersey. “We look forward to a strong partnership with NJCU to create a world-class career development program that will deliver life-changing jobs in New Jersey for many years to come.”
In 2022, this grant will enable the NJCU School of Business to launch the Career Readiness and Placement Program (CRPP), which will challenge students of color to address real-world business problems or case studies by engaging them in a comprehensive, interdisciplinary research and problem-solving experience. Career readiness programming will incorporate micro-credentialing in critical skill areas such as Google Analytics and Bloomberg Market Concepts, connect students with industry mentors, and offer supplemental programming through which industry professionals will participate in networking events, professional development workshops, and guest speaking so students can further strengthen essential industry skills and knowledge. While CRPP is focused on assisting students of color, career readiness programming will be available to all 1,300 business students.
“We are beyond grateful for this generous grant opportunity from Bank of America to augment our career services, benefiting our diverse student body,” said Josh Iannuzzi, Director of Career Services at the NJCU School of Business. “We are particularly empowered to utilize this platform that the company has provided to engage other local business partners to educate and hire local NJCU talent.”
“Many firms talk about giving back to their local communities and recruiting diverse talent,” Iannuzzi added. “Through this grant, Bank of America is taking action. We are eager to work with those businesses who want to do more, and we will now have the bandwidth, resources, and map to help them do so through this grant.”
NJCU students who complete the Career Readiness and Placement Program will develop leadership, career readiness, analytical, teamwork and presentation skills; build a network of peers and mentors to use throughout their career; broaden industry knowledge by hearing from business leaders during professional development sessions; cultivate soft skills by working with and receiving constructive feedback from advisors and mentors; and develop their professional brand.
Furthermore, this investment will increase economic returns for communities of color via entry into high-wage, in-demand careers and help build and develop sustainable and collaborative hiring partnerships.
“We know that when given a true opportunity to compete for internship and job opportunities with top-level firms, NJCU students and alumni are wildly effective at landing and succeeding in internships and jobs,” Iannuzzi summarized. “At NJCU, we don’t have to search far and wide for diverse talent with grit and drive. That determination and make-up are what our students are made of, and we are eager to share this opportunity and talent pool with more of the local business community.