Year Up New York Honors Keith Banks, President, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management at its Class of January 2014 Graduation Ceremony

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Keith Banks delivered the keynote address and received the “Urban Empowerment Award” for his commitment to support young adults’ ability to access sustainable careers and higher education.

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"Don't let anyone tell you what you can't do, show them what you can do."

Year Up New York awarded Keith Banks, President, U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management with the “Urban Empowerment Award” in recognition of his work to close the Opportunity Divide in New York City and empower young adults to realize their full potential. Mr. Banks delivered the keynote address during the ceremony, which welcomed 102 new graduates into Year Up New York’s growing alumni community.

During his address, Mr. Banks encouraged the graduates to follow their passion, “Like you, I had no one to pave the way for me. I didn’t have parents who were business executives with connections or a safety net. I chose my career path not to impress my friends but to pursue my own aspirations. I encourage you to find something that you can be passionate about and go for it. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do, show them what you can do.”

Bank of America and U.S. Trust have been key partners of Year Up, sponsoring 201 internships across their national network since 2008, including 49 internships in New York. Mr. Banks has mirrored this institutional commitment to their mission by becoming personally involved in their work – as a guest speaker and most recently by welcoming a group of Year Up New York students to his office for a roundtable with members of his leadership team. His service on the board of the Police Athletic League – a New York City youth development nonprofit - also supports this well-deserved honor.

Lauded by Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton for its proven, scalable model, Year Up is a national nonprofit organization that provides urban young adults with an intensive, yearlong training program and career-focused education in growing professional industries. Year Up helps young people not enrolled in school or participating in the labor market cross the Opportunity Divide to access living-wage employment and higher education. In turn, companies gain access to a pipeline of high-quality entry-level talent.

In New York City alone there are nearly 200,000 young adults who aren’t working or attending school. Meanwhile, New York business are actively seeking qualified, motivated entry-level talent to stay globally competitive. Year Up is fulfilling an important need to create a bridge between capable young adults and the human capital demands of local businesses.

Year Up New York, one of 11 Year Up sites across the country, was launched in 2006. The program provides local young adults, ages 18-24, with technical, professional and communication skills including: desktop and network support; software installation; business writing; time management; and working in teams. Students earn college credits from SUNY Empire State College for completing their coursework during the first six months of the program. The next six months consist of an internship at a corporate partner firm such as Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Bloomberg, Goldman Sachs, Google, and Facebook. 85% percent of Year Up New York alumni are employed or in school full-time within four months of graduation, earning an average of $30,000 a year. Learn more about Year Up New York by following us on Twitter (@yearupnewyork) and on

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has supported Year Up since 2004, providing more than $2.3 million in support around local growth, national expansion, and capacity building. In addition to this national support, employee volunteers support Year Up apprenticeships through targeted, skills-based mentoring.

About Year Up Inc.
Year Up's mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Year Up achieves this mission through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships and college credits. Its holistic approach focuses on students' professional and personal development to place these young adults on a viable path to economic self-sufficiency. Year Up currently serves more than 2,000 students a year at sites in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, San Francisco Bay Area, the National Capital Region, and Puget Sound (Seattle). To learn more, visit or

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Roberto Zeledon
Year Up
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Matt Cronkite
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