Maria Carrera & Fran Burchman.jpgMaria Carrera

Portfolio Management Assistant at Bank of  America

Year Up New York

Class of January 2017

When I started Year Up, I was 24 years old and had just gotten my permanent resident status. I came to the U.S. from Guatemala when I was thirteen to meet my parents—my dad for the very first time. All at once, I had to adjust to a different language, a different culture, and a different family. Despite not knowing any English at first, I progressed through high school at a normal pace. But as graduation approached, I realized I couldn’t apply for college because of my immigration status.

Instead, I worked at a supermarket making $7 an hour. When I received permanent residency, I was finally able to take advantage of better opportunities for myself. This led me to Year Up, where I became a part of a community of young adults who shared the same goals, experienced similar struggles, and hungered for success.

Balancing my life while participating in Year Up wasn’t easy. I had to re-acclimate myself to an academic environment. I also needed to manage my time to be there for my family. My daughter was only two years old at the time, and my husband worked long hours as a chef. While he supported me through the program, there were nights when I stayed up until 3 a.m. to finish my assignments. My family was my top priority, but I also knew that the one year needed to complete the program was worth the sacrifice.

Year Up teaches both hard and soft skills that provide students with the tools they need to succeed both inside and outside of the workplace. From email etiquette to knowing the value of a firm handshake, the skills I learned from Year Up enabled me to excel in my internship at Bank of America and in my current role with the bank. As my manager Fran says, we could all use “a little Year Up” in those areas.

The best part about working at Bank of America is the company culture. The bank is very diverse, with different backgrounds and perspectives. Moreover, from my internship to my current full-time role, I’ve always felt supported. I’m now a portfolio management assistant and pursuing a degree in finance part-time. I hope to continue to grow at Bank of America and, after completing my degree, move to the financial crimes group. As a graduate of Year Up, I feel a responsibility to keep opportunity open for the interns that will follow me at Bank of America by demonstrating the value that Opportunity Youth can bring to the workplace.


Hiring Manager Spotlight: Fran Burchman

Vice President and Group Manager, US Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management

I’ve been with Bank of America for over 17 years. Today, I support a network of 80 people and manage the responsibilities of 24 portfolio management assistants. Anytime I look at a resume, I’m looking for a candidate’s willingness to work hard and get their hands dirty. I want to see people who have demonstrated an ability to work on a team.

I started working with the Year Up program two years ago. Since then, I’ve hosted 13 Year Up interns in our group and hired 6 of them, including Maria Carrera, into full-time roles. Year Up interns come in with the hard and soft skills to really succeed in the workplace. They are great at time management and office etiquette, and have an incredible work ethic and eagerness to learn.

Young adults from Year Up seize the opportunity to intern here as if it was the last opportunity on the face of the earth. They are some of my top performers—they do their jobs and they do it right. Now every time someone leaves, people want to hire a Year Up graduate.

I’m always surprised when Year Up graduates say I have touched their lives because they have really touched mine. Their determination to change their circumstances is so inspiring. I’m only helping facilitate them changing their own lives—they come in, they don’t let circumstances stop them, and they conquer.