[caption id="attachment_200721" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Barlcays Bank will donate $1 million to Braven, in continuing its efforts to give back to the community and improve the talent pipeline. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS[/caption]
WILMINGTON — With a financial commitment inked over the next two years, Barclays is solidifying its relationship with a nonprofit that aims to help students get employed after college or pursue graduate degrees. Both organizations are exploring a partnership with Delaware State University.Braven, an organization that focuses on boosting economic mobility of college students, has signed a letter of intent with DSU to start a partnership that could connect its students with leadership courses, soft skill training and more. Barclays, which has worked with Braven since 2020, has recently committed to investing $1 million in Braven over the next two years.“[DSU] could be a historic site for us, as it has its largest class in history. If you think about the economic mobility of Black Americans, and possibly 800 to 1,000 students a year to go through Braven, they can see a 40 to 50% chance of uplift, we have the chance to put a lot of people on the path to the American dream,” Braven CEO Aimée Eubanks Davis told the Delaware Business Times.While the letter of intent is not a binding agreement, DSU spokesman Carlos Holmes said the university is excited to continue exploring the possible partnership with Barclays and Braven.Founded in 2013 by Eubanks Davis, Braven’s goal is to lend a hand to first-generation college students, students from low-income backgrounds as well as those of color, in terms of career preparedness. That can range from offering courses with education partners, coaching small cohorts, one-on-one mentorship, and offering mock interviews.There is data to show the pay gap between genders and races, even among recent college graduates. Women who graduated in 2020 earned an average annual salary of $52,266 while men made $64,022, according to research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Black women are paid 64 cents for every dollar a white man earns, according to data collected by LeanIn.org.Braven aims to give students the tools to succeed through providing volunteers from corporations, each taking the time to host mock interviews or leadership courses. That could include how to make small talk at networking dinners, writing a resume or how to act in a boardroom.Jamila Ritter is one such Braven alumna from Rutgers University-Newark. As a non-traditional student who was often told that getting a good education would lead to a new job, she wondered how to close the gap between the two. Now she is the Assistant Vice President at Barclays in its New Jersey office, and an avid Braven leadership coach.“If your parents have a different job, they may not have the professional networks that others in your class do,” said Jennifer Cho, head of Citizenship and Community relations for Barclays Consumer Bank. “On our end, we really see Braven closing the gap for students that don’t have those additional kinds of benefits to get into a corporate job.”If the partnership is executed, Braven may offer a course to DSU students that could cover long-term and short-term goals, as well as other skills in networking and working toward internships. The model has played out at Spelman College, a private HBCU in Atlanta, where women in the sophomore class were required to take the course for credit.But for the program to succeed, other philanthropic organizations would have to come to the table to support Braven, financially and through volunteers. Barclay’s donation of $1 million makes the bank one of its top corporate contributors — and will support up-skilling 4,200 four-year college students and 650 graduates.But Barclays’ involvement does not end at financial contribution. The financial institution has hundreds of its employees volunteering through Braven, first starting at its New Jersey offices two years ago. This includes serving as mock interviews, leadership coaches and professional mentorship.Barclays has also served as a partner on Braven’s Capstone challenge in the New Jersey region, where students are tasked with coming up with an idea that addresses a company’s most pressing issues for a pitch competition.“Braven is a perfect match, as we think of partners that align with priorities of workforce development, not only in terms of financial capital but in human capital,” Cho said. “Their fellows have wowed a lot of our hiring managers, and we’ve been able to hire several students into Barclays — and we’re hoping to grow that pipeline as well.”
Flash Sale! Subscribe to Delaware Business Times and save 50%.