The Bank of America Charitable Foundation recently announced that it would be selecting five high school students from the Greater Baltimore Area to participate in an eight-week paid summer internship at a local non-profit through its student leader program.

In Baltimore the unemployment rate for those ages 16-24 remains at a record high of 19.4 percent which affects not only earning potential educational potential as well.

Teens who are employed have lower drop-out rates and are more likely to continue on with their education and earn higher salaries in the future as opposed to their unemployed counterparts.

David Millman, Maryland and Baltimore market president for Bank Of America said in a statement, “Early employment is a critical stepping stone on the pathway to financial security, yet young people face a number of challenges in finding job opportunities today… These internships give teens in our community the chance to develop important workforce skills while earning what for many will be their first paycheck.”

Alexis Gaskin, who will be a senior at Southern High School, Anna Xi, who will be a senior at Mariotts Ridge High School, Janice Onigbinde, who will be a  senior at Century High School, Likhitha Butchireddygari, a graduate of Perry Hall High School, and Shreya Nalubola, a recent graduate of Centennial High School, were the five students selected by Bank of America for paid internships at Teach for America, a national teacher corps focused on helping tutor students in public schools around the country.

The students will serve as paid interns at Teach for America for eight weeks and then continue on to travel to Washington D.C for a National Student Leadership Summit taking place from July 12th-17th Where they will participate in service learning projects, workshops, and seminars about money habits as well as meetings with Congress members. Kerry Sullivan, President of The Bank of America Charitable Foundation said in a statement, “They look at the connection between business, non- profits and government and they also look at their own strengths.”

The program has been around since 2004 and has supplied about 60 Baltimore teens and around 2,200 young adults nationwide with paid summer internships.

Former Student Joanna Ogundipe said in a statement about the program, “This program has given me the courage to speak out and use my voice.”

Malcom Stewart, another former student leaders said that the program taught him “wherever life takes me I know that my goal is to have a positive impact.” Stewart said the program has also helped him to form lifelong connections and that “it’s going to be really powerful to know that you have that support system of all the other students… I’ve connected with a lot of different people and we’ve really learned from each other.”

The organization has partnered with many different non-profits in the past and hopes to continue helping young adults around the nation find employment.