Although there’s no secret recipe for success, access to resources like mentors, professional networks and internships can help young people as they navigate the transition from school into the workforce. For over a decade JPMorgan Chase’s flagship college and career readiness program, The Fellowship Initiative has helped young men of color across the country bridge the gap and achieve academic and professional success. To date, the program has helped over 750 young men of color benefit from community, mentorship, leadership and experiential opportunities, equipping them to achieve academic and professional success.

As the Class of 2023 celebrates their graduation and begins the next chapter of their lives, TFI Houston Executive Sponsor Tiffany Roland, Managing Director, Asset & Wealth Management, sat down with graduate Hoyt Jackson to discuss the impact participating in TFI had on them and their journey.

Q: Congratulations on your graduation! What are some of the experiences you’ve had in TFI that helped you successfully apply to get accepted into college? 

Experiences like mock interviews, FLO opportunities and college visits have helped me in the process of applying and being accepted into college, presenting me with chances to explore different campuses and really envision myself at college. But the personal development opportunities I got through TFI have been really pivotal too. I’m a major car enthusiast, and TFI introduced me to car meets, where I got to meet new people who share my interest. Not only has this taught me the importance of collaboration and networking, it’s also opened my eyes to the diversity of interests and talents that can exist within a community.

Q: What motivated you to apply and stick with TFI for all these years?

The transformative power of TFI has helped me discover my potential and nurtured me to become the person I am today. Despite not being naturally social, TFI introduced me to a lifelong community of individuals who have supported and motivated me to step out of my comfort zone, and played a significant role in my personal growth.  Within TFI, I have been fortunate to have mentors like Mr. Julius and Ms. Thompson who have guided me through moments of frustration and uncertainty, consistently steering me in the right direction. Their mentorship has been invaluable in my journey of self-discovery and personal development

Q: Looking back to when you started with TFI during sophomore year, what has changed the most in terms of how you thought about college and post-high school life? 

Before TFI, I had a pretty limited understanding about the opportunities and possibilities that existed for me beyond high school, and just saw college as a way to get a degree and a job. TFI has expanded my horizons and shifted my perspective by exposing me to speakers and TFI graduates who have shared their own experiences and successes with me. I’m more aware of the opportunities college can offer a person beyond the classroom, and they ways it fosters personal growth, intellectual exploration and the development of critical skills. TFI has inspired me to approach college, not as a stepping stone, but as an opportunity to challenge myself and make a positive impact in the future.

Beyond college, TFI has introduced me to mentors and the importance of building and nurturing a network. It’s also equipped me with life skills, such as building a resume, preparing for interviews and financial literacy. All of this has given me the confidence to take agency and ownership of my life, pursue my goals and make informed decisions about my future. I’m leaving high-school with a greater sense of purpose, ambition and the belief that I have the power to shape my own path.

When we invest in our young people, we’re making an investment in our futures, and the future of our communities. TFI is a part of JPMorgan Chase’s broader commitment to driving a more inclusive economy. In addition to Houston, the program is offered to high school students in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, and Washington, D.C. Since launching in 2010, TFI has provided young men of color with resources, mentorship and a community of supporters who are invested in the students and their success. With over 95% of TFI Fellows pursuing college or post-secondary pathways, the program has opened doors to opportunities for more people.