Bank of America Teacher Externship Program
With a $50,000 grant from the Bank of America Foundation, NAF teamed up with the Bank of America (BoA) to create a new Academy of Finance (AOF) teacher internship. Twelve AOF teachers participated in the pilot staff development program, launched at NAF's 16th Institute for Staff Development in Washington, D.C., held in July 2001. By providing teachers with an "up close" look at Bank of America operations, the internship covered industry history, as well as recent changes and trends.
Participating AOF teachers were selected from cities in which BoA maintains corporate office. After the initial training at the Institute, teachers returned to their local communities for a week-long intensive internship at the BoA offices, where they attended "new hire" orientations, alongside new company employees, and job-shadowed in a variety of bank functions. The internship emphasized the link between industry-specific topics--credit, bank products, and bank structure--with the skills necessary to succeed in the industry: teamwork, project management, and communication skills, among others.
The program also included the teachers' development of instructional materials, based on their lessons learned during the internship. Teachers received a stipend for their time and effort.
Pilot participants and BoA representatives evaluated the experience via a post-internship videoconference. Teachers unanimously found the internship to be valuable.
Bank of America has pledged support for project expansion in 2001. The Bank of America Foundation has made professional development one of its top priorities. By asking educators to work with them in synthesizing what they have learned, they hope to reach more students than they could ever hope to otherwise, and set an example for other companies as well. The ultimate goal of the partnership is to build a bridge between workplace expectations and workplace realities.