Birmingham Promise has been awarded a $1.8 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to expand its apprenticeship and internship program for seniors in Birmingham City Schools.
The grant will be spread out over three years and will be used to provide more work opportunities that allow high-school students to build high-demand skills and valuable networks in key industries.
“We are so grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies for investing in our program and more importantly for investing in our Birmingham students,” said Rachel Harmon, executive director of Birmingham Promise. “Working as apprentices and interns helps our students earn money, get career experience, and start building professional networks. These are benefits that last a lifetime.”
Birmingham Promise offers students a chance to gain paid work experience through internships and apprenticeships in four core industries: finance and insurance, healthcare and life sciences, energy and engineering, and digital technology. The goal of the program is to promote economic mobility by developing pathways to quality jobs and flourishing careers. Birmingham Promise has partnered with more than 80 local employers to date.
“The investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies is simply game changing for our community,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin, whose administration launched Birmingham Promise. “I have prioritized investing in young people from the very beginning. It is the ultimate validation of those efforts to have our local investments matched by a national organization such as Bloomberg Philanthropies. We look forward to leveraging this investment to enhance, expand and deepen our efforts to support our city’s next generation of talent.”
The Birmingham Promise grant is part of $25 million in investments announced today by Bloomberg Philanthropies to prepare young people for careers and help them recover from the financial and educational disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This support from Bloomberg will give students in Birmingham City Schools an opportunity to learn and grow through internships in various professions. There is no substitute for this kind experience. It will impact the students’ lives and help shape their future success,” said Mark Sullivan, superintendent of Birmingham City Schools. “We are grateful to Bloomberg and to the Birmingham Promise for the investment they are making in our scholars.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in 170 countries around the world in five key areas, including arts, education, environment, government innovation and public health.
Bloomberg Philanthropies said the announcement of additional support for career and technical education programs comes at a critical moment in the nation’s pandemic economic recovery, when high school students need access to high-quality job training opportunities more than ever and businesses are eagerly looking to hire qualified talent in a range of middle-skill jobs – jobs requiring more than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year college degree.
In addition to Birmingham, other grants included in the announcement went to programs in Atlanta, Baltimore, Camden, Charlotte, Denver, Louisville, Providence, Washington D.C., Delaware and Texas. This new investment brings Bloomberg Philanthropies’ support of career and technical education programs to $90 million since 2016.
“High school students have had their educations turned upside down by the pandemic. To put them on a path to success, we need to ensure they have access to the opportunities they need to reach their full potential – and that includes creating new avenues for them to get there,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Apprentice-style and school-based career programs allow students to get the skills and high-quality, on-the-job experience they need – and employers are looking for. These programs will help more young people begin successful careers and build a stronger future for our country.”