Student Leaders 'Banked' on Summer Jobs
Teens face the highest rate of unemployment at 24.6 percent nationally and 29.8 percent in Missouri. To assist with this issue, Bank of America helped five local students secure jobs, including one from Wildwood and one who attends Eureka High.
Five St. Louis-area high school students were selected to take part in the Bank of America Charitable Foundation 2012 Student Leaders program, which awards a total of 225 high school juniors and seniors from around the country with paid eight-week summer internships at local nonprofit organizations. The program recognizes high school juniors and seniors who have demonstrated a commitment to community engagement and volunteerism.
Among them was Nate Noss, a Wildwood resident and former student at Whitfield School. He will be a senior at Eureka High School, starting this month. In 2011, Noss created the Saint Louis Food Rescue, which saves perishable food from being thrown away by grocery stores and instead coordinates donations to local food pantries, homeless shelters and other venues in need.
Noss interned with Youth in Need, where he learned valuable skills in nonprofit management while doing what he loves most: Giving back to his community.
Also participating in the program was Jacquie Ingram, a St. Louis resident, and senior at Eureka High School. She interned at YWCA of Greater St. Louis.
In addition to the internships, students also just returned from Washington, DC, where they participated in a national Student Leadership Summit.
The program is part of Bank of America’s philanthropic commitment to providing community-minded students with access and exposure to critical resources that will bolster their work and life skills while also benefiting the community.
“Teens have been disproportionally affected by the recession with unemployment rates at an all-time high,” said Patricia Mercurio, St. Louis president for Bank of America in an announcement about the program. “Through the Student Leaders program, students are receiving more than just a paycheck. They are gaining valuable real-world experience that will help them develop further as leaders, all while helping to strengthen St. Louis during a time when an increased number of people need assistance.”
Despite gains in the overall job market, one out of every four U.S. job seekers between the ages of 16 and 19 is still unable to find employment, according to Bank of America spokespeople. Last summer, 29.8 percent of Missouri teens aged 16 to 19 were unemployed and 45.8 percent were unable to get the summer work they desired, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Research indicates teens who are gainfully employed have lower drop-out rates, are more likely to continue their education to pursue long-term career goals, and ultimately show an increase in lifetime earning potential.
Overall unemployment in St. Louis was 7.5 percent in May 2012, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slightly higher than the state unemployment rate of 7.3 percent, according to Bank of America materials.
The 2012 Nonprofit Finance Fund State of the Nonprofit Sector survey reports that 88 percent of nonprofits responding expect an increase in demand for services this year, while funding resources remain tight. The extra capacity provided by the students will help nonprofits meet this increased demand.
This year alone, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation is investing more than $1 million in the Student Leaders program. Since 2004, the company has committed more than $9 million, recognizing more than 1,600 students in 44 U.S. cities.
The three other participating local students were:
- Madelyn McGlynn, a Belleville, IL resident, and senior at Althoff Catholic High School; intern at Ranken Jordan
- Catherine Kleiss, a St. Louis resident, and senior at Kirkwood High School; intern at International Institute
- Scott Hartwig, a St. Louis resident, and senior at Lindbergh High School; intern at United Way of Greater St. Louis