By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK— Two students from the Oklahoma City area have been selected to participate in Bank of America’s Student Leaders program, where they will have the opportunity to apply their skills and leadership abilities to community-minded initiatives in partnership with local nonprofits.
The 2020 Student Leaders are Beyonce Hammond and Sergio Hernandez.
A recent graduate of Moore High School, Beyonce will be attending the University of Central Oklahoma, and is passionate about addressing the school-to-prison pipeline.
Hernandez, a recent graduate of Oklahoma City Public Schools, will be attending Oklahoma City University. Sergio grew up in the Boys and Girls Club in OKC, and has continued supporting them through his work there, and was named their State Member of the Year.
“Facilitating early access to jobs creates opportunities to apply soft job skills and makes a measurable impact in the lives of young people, and directly contributes to their long-term success,” said Tony Shinn, Oklahoma City market president at Bank of America.
“The Student Leaders Program is a part of a broader commitment to connect individuals in Oklahoma City to the training and jobs needed for success, ultimately strengthening our community by creating more widespread, sustainable economic mobility.”
This year, Bank of America has partnered with the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, and their four 2020 Student Leaders to help develop a strategic social media plan around suicide awareness in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
“We’re so excited to have such passionate and driven students working in partnership with us this summer, and their work is making a direct impact in our community,” said Kristy Sturgill, Director of Marketing for Mental Health Association Oklahoma.
“Beyonce and Sergio are two of four Student Leaders statewide, and we’re proud of their contributions to area projects, like our strategic plan for suicide awareness,” Sturgill added.
Today, about 15 percent of all young people across the country, or 4.7 million, are categorized as disconnected youth who aren’t in school and don’t have a job. Without access to opportunities that build career skills, many young people may be left behind, leading to high rates of youth unemployment and juvenile delinquency and hindering overall economic progress.
Paid youth employment programs like Student Leaders connect young adults to education, training and the job market, which can help them build workforce skills while also enabling them to engage with their community.
This is the second year for the Student Leaders program in Oklahoma City.
Through this program, nearly 3,500 young people from across the country have gained skills and workforce experience since 2004.
Bank of America also provides information and tools to help young adults during these internships learn about careers and personal finance through Better Money Habits®, its financial wellness and education platform.
According to the website, Bank of America is 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,” the website states.
“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,” the website continues.
“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.”
For more information, visit bankofamerica.com.