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Charlotte Hornets, Bank of America to Showcase Year Up in Event Focused on Bridging the Opportunity Divide

Apr 19, 2024

April 1, 2024 – Hornets Sports & Entertainment and Bank of America today announced they will host an event tomorrow, Bridging the Opportunity Divide, in order to showcase national nonprofit Year Up – which provides skills-based training and a pathway to meaningful employment for young adults without four-year college degrees – and the impact it has made within the Charlotte community. The organizations will host a panel discussion, fireside chat and reception tomorrow, April 2, at Spectrum Center for more than 200 prospective corporate partners, as well as current and prospective Year Up interns at Bank of America. 

“The Charlotte Hornets are proud to once again join forces with Bank of America to do good within our community, especially within the realm of education,” said Hornets Sports & Entertainment Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility Betsy Mack. “Year Up is a tremendous organization doing phenomenal work both here in Charlotte and across the country. Our goal is to highlight that this program works and that there are benefits for both the community and companies involved.” 

Bridging the Opportunity Divide, which will be moderated by Hornets In-Arena Host Ohavia Philips, will begin with remarks from Year Up Chief Executive Officer and President Ellen McClain before moving into a panel discussion featuring Bank of America Senior Vice President and External Partnerships Program Manager Emily Hughes, Alston Educational Group Founder and Year Up Board Member Dr. Geleana D. Alston and a current Bank of America Year Up intern. Following the panel, a fireside chat will be held with Bank of America Assistant Vice President Trinity Simpson, who is a graduate of the Year Up program and the Chair of Year Up’s Charlotte Alumni Association. 

“Year Up has been a great partner for us nationally for about two decades, and we’ve hired hundreds of interns through their program who have continued on to have successful careers with us,” said Kieth Cockrell, President of Bank of America Charlotte. “We’re very happy to work with Year Up right here in our hometown of Charlotte as we collectively seek ways to improve economic mobility and future career pathways for young people.” 

Year Up Charlotte, the nonprofit’s first site in North Carolina, launched in 2019 with generous support from Bank of America and the John M. Belk Endowment. Nationwide, 80% of Year Up graduates are employed or attending college within four months of completing the Year Up program. Locally in Charlotte, more than 75% of Year Up graduates are hired into roles at their respective internship companies. Today, Year Up has more than 250 corporate partners, including more than 40 of the Fortune 100. 

“We’re really appreciative of organizations like the Charlotte Hornets and Bank of America for supporting Year Up's vision of every young adult reaching their full potential,” said Year Up Chief Executive Officer and President Ellen McClain. “Our proven approach offers young people with access to today's best companies and a connection to meaningful employment, while ensuring companies can access a pipeline of skilled, motivated talent. We’re proud of what we’ve done in just five short years here in Charlotte and look forward to many more partners joining us in our work to close the Opportunity Divide.” 

The Hornets and Bank of America partner annually on a variety of initiatives focused on youth and economic mobility, including the Hornets Innovation Summit presented by Bank of America. Year Up is a previous grant recipient from the NBA Foundation, which promotes economic empowerment in the Black community and is funded by $1 million annual donations from each of the 30 NBA teams. 

About Hornets Sports & Entertainment 

Hornets Sports & Entertainment owns the Charlotte Hornets, the Greensboro Swarm (NBA G League) and Hornets Venom GT (NBA 2K League) and operates Spectrum Center, the premier destination for sports and entertainment in the Carolinas. The first major professional sports franchise in the Carolinas, the Charlotte Hornets are celebrating the 35th Anniversary of their inaugural season during the 2023-24 NBA campaign. HSE creates spectacular fun and memories that marvel for the more than 1.2 million people who visit Spectrum Center annually, and positively impacts the Carolinas through community programming and the Charlotte Hornets Foundation. For more information, please visit,, or 

About Bank of America 

Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 67 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 3,900 retail financial centers, approximately 16,000 ATMs and award-winning digital banking with approximately 56 million verified digital users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and approximately 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.