Local Students Receive Leadership Training to be Successful in the Workforce

Jaylen Cocklin

Jaylen Cocklin

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Bank of America announced that the two Columbia high school seniors selected as Bank of America Student Leaders (#BofAStudentLeaders) will complete their paid summer internship experience of workforce skills, leadership, and civic engagement with local nonprofits Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands and United Way of the Midlands. This year, students had the option to voluntarily participate in in-person activities as part of the internship; last year’s program was conducted virtually.

Without access to career skills-building opportunities like the Student Leaders program, many young people may be left behind from a fast-changing job market, leading to higher rates of youth unemployment. As part of its commitment to workforce development as a pathway to economic mobility, Bank of America has connected teens and young adults to paid jobs and internships across Columbia through additional programs like Bank of America’s financial center internship program and others.

“Bank of America has a longstanding commitment to supporting youth employment, leadership development, and community engagement opportunities,” said Kim Wilkerson, president, Bank of America South Carolina. “We recognize young adults are the future of our community, and helping students from all backgrounds gain early work experience puts them on a path to success.”

The Class of 2021 Columbia Bank of America Student Leaders are:
• Jaylen Cocklin, AC Flora High School, United Way of the Midlands
• Peyton Parker-Smith, Blythewood High School, Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands

“As we work to connect and serve over 1,000 youth throughout the Midlands, we are thankful for the Bank of America Student Leaders program and Peyton’s support in particular this summer,” said Troy Thames, executive director, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Midlands. “In addition to the support provided to us, Peyton learned workforce readiness skills by assisting staff, meeting with department leads, and participating in board meetings.”

“Jaylen has been an asset to our team this summer. He has played a key role in gathering information for our Community Impact plan and volunteered with students through our Midlands Reading Consortium,” said Lindsay Minnema, United Way of the Midlands. “We’re grateful to Bank of America for providing this unique opportunity to the next generation of leaders in our community.”

The Student Leaders program, started in 2004, recognizes 300 community-focused juniors and seniors from across the U.S. annually. The Columbia-based Student Leaders engaged in an eight-week paid internship and participated in programming that includes a collaborative, mentor-focused project working closely with both Boys and Girls Clubs of the Midlands and United Way of the Midlands. Jaylen and Peyton gained valuable firsthand insight into how nonprofits fulfill their missions, collaborate with partners, and recognize donors and volunteers. The students completed various projects, assisted in the day-to-day functions of each respective nonprofit, and participated virtually in sessions on the vital role nonprofits play and the importance of public-private partnerships to drive social change.

As part of this summer’s program, Student Leaders took part in a virtual Summit in partnership with the Close Up Foundation to participate in Stanford University’s Young Democracy at Home program, which encourages conversation about current issues facing young people today.

Bank of America
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).

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