Pima Community College and Bank of America announced a partnership to help students of color successfully complete the education and training necessary to enter the workforce and embark on a path to success in Pima County.
The bank is awarding $1 million to PCC and to Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix as part of this investment, which builds on 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 Adriana Kong Romero, Tucson market president, Bank of America. “This program helps support Black and Hispanic-Latino students in Southern Arizona by creating a collaborative approach to job training that will enable them to make a real and meaningful impact in their communities.”
PCC Chancellor Lee Lambert said: “The College is honored to partner with Bank of America to move the bar on graduation and workforce success for our students. This funding will allow us to close critical skills gaps and open new opportunities for Pima graduates.”
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.
In addition to Pima Community College and Arizona State University Downtown Phoenix, the $25 million, nationwide initiative includes partnerships with nearly two dozen community colleges that serve predominantly Black and Hispanic-Latino students, public historically Black colleges and universities and public Hispanic-serving institutions. 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. At Pima Community College, while some students transfer to a university to continue their education, fewer than 16 percent of students earn a certificate or degree within six years. For students of color, graduation and completion rates are particularly low – 18.6 percent for Black students and 18.6 percent for Hispanic students. Although HBCUs and HSIs are a mix of public and private institutions, the ongoing challenges brought on by coronavirus have exacerbated their financial struggle as they seek to serve students from the most vulnerable communities.
With the support from Bank of America, Pima Community College will use its funding to accelerate the development and implementation of micro-pathways and apprenticeship opportunities in manufacturing, IT, construction, logistics, and emergency medical services.
These program options will address specific skills gaps to create pathways to higher paying and family-sustaining jobs that are in demand and will ensure increased opportunity and enrollment for students of color. Bank of America will work alongside other partner employers to ensure these programs target specific hiring needs and create a clearly defined career pathway to future employment.