[caption id="attachment_199051" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Delaware State University campus | PHOTO COURTESY DSU[/caption]
Bank of America provided $1 million to Delaware State University in November to support the historically-Black university’s career resources, with a focus improving access to job opportunities for students of color.
DSU President Dr. Tony Allen told Delaware Business Times that the money will allow his school to invest more resources into some of its existing programs — such as mentoring, internships, job shadowing, and cooperative research — and combine them into a “seamless, integrated career pathways process that begins exposing our students with professional culture and opportunities from the first days of their academic career to the day they begin their careers.”In June, Bank of America committed $1 billion nationally over a four-year span to address economic and racial inequities at the local level that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. In September, the companydirected $25 million from that commitment to support jobs initiatives in Black and Hispanic/Latino communities nationwide.As part of that $25 million, Bank of America committed $1 million to 21 higher education institutions, including DSU, to enhance education and job training for students of color.Chip Rossi, Delaware market president for Bank of America, told DBT that the bank chose to partner with DSU as one of the recipients because of the work the school is already doing to advance equity for communities of color.“As one of the top Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the country, and long-standing partner in one of Bank of America’s key markets, Delaware State University is an important institution that is continuously working to help close the gap for communities of color in Delaware,” Rossi wrote in a email response.The partnership with Bank of America will allow DSU to “better focus on the precise requirements of our corporate/business partners as students navigate their career pathways, and to identify professional mentors within the organizations of potential employers,” Allen said.By preparing students for the workforce throughout their time at DSU, Allen said the university will give graduates an advantage over other candidates when they search for a job.“Thus our graduates are competitively better prepared when they walk across the stage, and already have multiple professional connections in their chosen career fields,” he wrote in a email responseRossi added that Bank of America will help DSU form new relationships and expand existing ones with Delaware employers to connect DSU students with high-paying job opportunities.Bank of America is also partnering with and giving funding to the Aspen Institute, an international nonprofit focused on improving equity, to bring together higher education institutions for technical and programmatic assistance and to share best practices.DSU can provide a lot of insight to its fellow higher education institutions through such collaborations, Allen added.“We have a lot to offer the broader higher education community, including strong expertise in wraparound support services for our students, many of whom were poorly served by public education and come to us from low-resource families,” he said. “We have also made large strides forward in building the kinds of working, operational partnerships with potential employers that open up multiple opportunities for our students.”By Marcus DieterleContributing writer