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Bank of America selects Westlake High teenagers for its Student Leaders award

James MillerBank of America selects Westlake High teenagers for its Student Leaders award

James Miller

Bank of America recently announced that a Westlake High School 12th grader has been named an official B of A Student Leader, an honor that will allow him to participate in an eight-week paid summer internship.

James Miller will assume responsibilities with local nonprofit Habitat for Humanity of Ventura County, where he will learn about local community needs, develop leadership and professional skills, and receive a competitive salary. He will also receive financial education coaching through Bank of America’s Better Money Habits curriculum.

Given the changing economic environment and Ventura County’s GDP expected to be higher in 2024 and 2025 than in 2023, young people need access to work experience and opportunities to build job skills, awarding officials said.

The private sector can help give young adults better opportunities in the job market. In addition to the Student Leaders program, Bank of America provides practical and hands-on skills to local high school students through the UC Santa Barbara Bren School of Environmental Science & Management’s paid internship program. This year, the company is placing more than 3,400 teens and young adults nationwide in a variety of jobs and internships.

Driven by his passion for social justice, James balances his demanding AP Scholar class load with extracurricular activities that give back to his school and local community.

He is a member of a nationally award-winning speech and debate team and is the founder and president of the Westlake High School Speech and Debate Club. To continue his work to ensure educational equity for the local community, James founded the Ventura County Education Network, which, in partnership with the Oxnard School District, provides free educational resources and mentoring to elementary and middle school students in underserved communities throughout Ventura County.

Later this summer, James will travel to Washington DC to participate in a week-long national leadership summit focused on the power of cross-sector collaboration and civic engagement. Student leaders from across the country will discuss the importance of civic engagement and meet with members of Congress.

The Student Leaders program annually recognizes 300 or more community-minded juniors and seniors from across the U.S. In Ventura-Santa Barbara, 10 local youth have participated since the program began in 2019.