The nonprofit Friends of Portland Adult Education has received $60,000 from Bank of America to enhance Portland Adult Education’s workforce training programs and career services for its diverse students. The generous donation will help provide skilled, talented employees to meet Maine’s workforce needs and promote racial equity.
“Bank of America is partnering with Portland Adult Education as part of our $1.25 billion five-year national commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity, with a particular focus on helping create opportunities for people and communities of color,” said Bill Williamson, Maine president for Bank of America. “In Maine, we are committed to supporting organizations that help people get the skills they need to achieve their goals and contribute to economic growth.”
Portland Adult Education (PAE) serves about 2,000 students in its academic and workforce programs each year. Students are racially and linguistically diverse with approximately 77% students identifying as Black or African American, with 45 primary languages spoken, and nearly 70 nationalities represented.
“PAE students are incredibly motivated, and have a wealth of knowledge and skills that can benefit Maine,” said PAE Assistant Director Elizabeth Love. “Bank of America’s support will expand economic opportunities for our students and the community as a whole.”
With strong employer and community partnerships, PAE designs and implements customized workforce training opportunities for students to enter or advance in a range of professional fields. Current sector focuses include health care, education, financial services, early childhood education, and transportation. The 10-12 week intensive programs integrate targeted language and skills training, as well as career advising and job search support in partnership with its New Mainers Resource Center.
Bank of America has been foundational to this effort. Executive Director Anita St Onge explained, “Bank of America has been a strong and consistent partner of PAE for many years, providing funding, support with classroom instruction and mock interviews for job class students, as well as advocating for PAE within the business community.”
“Thank you to Bank of America for being such a great partner to PAE, which is part of the Portland Public Schools,” said Superintendent Xavier Botana. “PAE plays a vital role in Portland’s continued viability. I always remind our community that every dollar we invest in adult education is not just a dollar invested in PAE students. It is a dollar invested in their children, in their families, and in our whole community. Bank of America clearly understands that, and we are extremely grateful for all their support.”