Virginia Union University Receives $1M Grant from Bank of America
Virginia Union University (VUU) has announced it is the recipient of a $1 million grant from Bank of America for its innovative approach to preparing students for careers in the financial industry. VUU’s new Workforce Development and Financial Markets Program is called “MORE” which stands for My Opportunity is Real Essential.
“As we strive to better serve our students and surrounding communities, it is imperative that we provide them with the tools to be successful beyond the classroom,” said Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, President and CEO of VUU. “We are pleased to accept this grant from Bank of America to launch the MORE program, which will allow us to bring financial literacy tools to communities who may not have access otherwise. This workforce development initiative is a stepping stone on the path to generational wealth within our communities.”
The MORE program has three key components:
- Community Outreach: In the Tri-county area of Chesterfield, Henrico and Richmond, students in nine schools – three elementary, middle and high schools – will be provided with access to the Mobile Community Outreach Financial Van. The community outreach effort will focus on providing students between the ages of 10 and 18 years old with the foundations of finance and banking. Additionally, the mobile outreach van will serve residents of the Gilpin Court community, providing access to financial education in the areas of wealth management, investments and homeownership.
- Financial Markets Lab: Students and local residents will have access to the Financial Markets Lab located on the VUU campus. The lab will contain 30 state-of-the-art computers, each with planning, budgeting and investment software and four electronic stock tickers, allowing students to learn and access real world indexes as it relates to the NASDAQ and Dow Jones Index.
- Workforce Development and Assessment: The program will provide a Workforce Development coach to help students prepare for internships during their sophomore and junior years. The coach will also assist students with mock interviews, job placement and career assessment preparation by providing Behavioral and Market Competency tests. VUU will also host a quarterly Financial Business Speakers series, where students can continually learn about career opportunities in the financial industry.
“We are excited to partner with Bank of America on this innovative program to build a workforce pipeline for the financial industry, as well as to educate young children and adults about the importance of financial literacy, financial markets, and managing wealth,” said Dr. Robin R. Davis, Dean of the Sydney Lewis School of Business.
The grant from Bank of America is a component of the “Way Forward Initiative” – a multi-year collaboration between education firm EAB and the bank – and is part of the bank’s $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity. Virginia Union University is an inaugural cohort of the initiative.
“HBCUs play a vital role in creating opportunities for students and communities of color by providing education needed to address economic and social inequality,” said Victor Branch, Bank of America Richmond President. “At Bank of America, we believe it is essential that these institutions receive the support they need to continue in their mission.”
The Sydney Lewis School of Business will lead this initiative and has partnered with Virginia Union University’s Workforce Development division and the Evelyn Reid Syphax School of Education.