KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Bank of America is continuing to help young people gain work experience and become contributing members of society.

The company hosts an eight-week Student Leaders summer program for hundreds of students all across the country. They are invited to participate in the National Student Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C., to see how nonprofits, governments, and businesses collaborate to meet local needs.

Two Knoxville-area students have been selected to represent the region. Victoria Gonzalez and  
Odreille Uwimana are both rising college freshmen who will already be entering their undergraduate programs with work experience and leadership knowledge.

Victoria Gonzalez is a graduate of Berean Christian School and will be entering Belmont University in Fall 2023. She is originally from Venezuela and is using her bilingual skills to support the Knoxville Latino community through volunteering as an interpreter with Cornerstone Church of Knoxville.

Odreille Uwimana graduated from Fulton High School and is entering Berea College in Kentucky.
she spends her time volunteering with Western Heights Baptist Center, Lonsdale Community Kickback, and The Emerald Youth Program.

Bank of America is grateful to have an excellent partnership with the non-profit, The Restoration House of East Tennesse, and Knoxville’s only children’s museum, Muse Knoxville.

This summer, The Restoration House of East Tennessee and Muse Knoxville hosted both Gonzalez and Uwimana with paid internships to learn all about assisting the needs of the Knoxville community.

Student Leaders is an essential program because today, approximately 10 percent of all young people, or 4.1 million across the country, are categorized as “disconnected youth” who aren’t in school and do not have a job. Without access to opportunities that build career skills, many young people are getting left behind. This leads to high youth unemployment rates and juvenile delinquency and ultimately hinders overall economic progress. 

In Tennessee, youth unemployment in the East Region was nearly four times the state rate. With changing economic environments and a shifting job market, young people need access to workforce experience and career skills-building opportunities.

Bank of America is proud to be bringing these opportunities.

Applications for the 2024 program will begin in October 2023.