Bank of America awards $90,000 to help low-income and minority students build essential work skills before graduation, ultimately bolstering post-graduation job opportunities
LARGO, Fla. – The Pinellas Education Foundation has announced the launch of its annual Summer Career Acceleration Program (SCAP) with support from Bank of America. More than 30 businesses, including the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), Creative Contractors, and Piper Fire Protection, will host 114 Pinellas County students for a six-week, paid work experience from June 6 to July 15, 2022, which includes training in the functions of an entry-level position. Through SCAP, local youth can explore various career pathways and positions, some of which they may not equate to the type of employer, for example, IT at a hospital or finance in a furniture company.
SCAP is geared toward rising seniors in 17 high schools across Pinellas County. Once selected, interns are matched with employers through an in-depth interview process. Interns work at least 20 hours per week and are paid a stipend over their internship. Before stepping into an internship, students will participate in job preparation workshops, with lessons in personal finance, career exploration, resume and job interview skills.
SCAP works alongside Pinellas high schools to target students who may not pursue postsecondary education and need additional support to increase economic opportunities. By the end of the program, interns will be equipped with a functional resume, valuable job skills and paid work experience, advancing their path toward greater post-graduation success.
“Programs like SCAP are integral to our commitment to preparing students for the variety of education and career pathways available to them following graduation from high school,” said Dr. Stacy Baier, CEO of the Pinellas Education Foundation. “Bank of America’s generous support of this and other workforce preparedness programs underscores our shared belief that the success of our students is a primary determinant of economic prosperity of the community as a whole. Together, we’re providing students with opportunities to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in today’s job market, whether they choose to attend college, pursue a career technical certification or enter the workforce upon graduation.”
A partner in the program, Pinellas County’s South Cross Bayou Water Reclamation Facility recently hired on Seminole High School graduate Merric Grego, who had completed a SCAP internship at the plant last summer.
“Our industry desperately needs more operators to run our treatment facilities, and to host five students who all took a real interest in our careers was incredible,” said Shea Dunifon, Education Coordinator for Pinellas County Utilities. “After hiring Merric, we received serious inquiries from potential student interns looking to make a transition straight out of high school into a career in water.”
“It’s important to show students that there are many paths to earning a livable wage and the earlier they start thinking about that, the better,” said Bill Goede, President, Bank of America Tampa Bay. “That’s why we are committed to supporting Pinellas Education Foundation’s SCAP program that has already made a significant impact by offering valuable job skills training and helping dozens of local students obtain meaningful employment.”
In total, Bank of America will grant more than $630,000 to 21 nonprofits across Tampa Bay this quarter. The funding will advance each organization’s efforts to address fundamental basic needs, from food insecurity and homelessness to workforce development, job training and youth employment.
The Pinellas Education Foundation is committed to ensuring that every student graduates high school prepared for life, whether that pathway involves college, career technical education or a career. While many high school programs exist to help students with college coursework or career technical certifications, meaningful career experience opportunities are limited. For students who may not go directly into postsecondary education, job exposure while in high school is even more valuable in preparing them to enter the workforce after graduation.
To learn more about the Pinellas Education Foundation, visit https://pinellaseducation.org/
About the Pinellas Education Foundation:
The Pinellas Education Foundation is a dynamic, nationally recognized non-profit organization that leads the way in advancing public education and student achievement. We are committed to equity – our belief that every student deserves a high-quality education. Our mission is to accelerate educational achievement for all students through the effective mobilization of innovation, relationships and resources. Our vision is that every student will be prepared for life after high school, whether the choice is to attend college, enter the workforce or obtain technical training. Learn more about the Pinellas Education Foundation at www.pinellaseducation.org