LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BankWork$®, the award-winning career training program created by Los Angeles nonprofit Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), graduated its 1000th trainee in a milestone ceremony held Nov. 4 at the Los Angeles EXPO Center.
Leaders in the workforce development field, JVS Los Angeles offers hope and opportunity through job training, mentoring and education, helping people overcome barriers to employment and achieve self-sufficiency. BankWork$ prepares job seekers – primarily low-income adults from underserved communities – for positions as bank tellers as a first step on the career path in the financial services industry.
BankWork$ powerfully demonstrates how public-private partnerships can successfully bridge the skills gap by pairing employers with well-trained, motivated job seekers. The eight-week intensive program is offered free to eligible applicants with funding from local banks, foundations, private donors and the State of California and partners closely with the America’s Job Centers network.
“What distinguishes BankWork$ from other vocational training programs is our high level of engagement with our employer partners,” said Jay Soloway, JVSLA director of Training and Education. “We connect highly-qualified graduates directly with major banking institutions that are eager to fill positions.”
Since the program graduated its first class of ten pioneering students in 2006, JVSLA has placed over 800 individuals in banking jobs, boasting a consistent placement rate of nearly 85 percent.
Alumni speaker Dominique Satterwhite told the audience how he had worked the night shift at his job in order to attend BankWork$. “I had always worked hard to be successful, but I just couldn’t find the opportunities to help me realize my professional dreams,” he said. “I was hired as a Bank of America teller within two weeks of my graduation in 2013 and was then promoted to personal banker. I couldn’t have asked for a better or more effective preparation for my new career.”
Attending the ceremony alongside family and friends were recruiters from partnering banks, assessing the 25 trainees’ qualifications as they were lauded during the presentation of their certificates of completion. Most came from food service and retail jobs and many were bilingual.
Immediately afterward, the graduates met one-on-one with the recruiters at an on-site job fair.
“We will leave here having made multiple offers for positions that include tellers, personal bankers and call center representatives,” said Bank of America recruiter Tracie Peddy.
Because BankWork$ offers a highly replicable model for transitioning people to high wage, high growth jobs, Les Biller, former vice chairman of Wells Fargo and co-founder of BankWork$ with JVSLA, is expanding the program nationally.
“This model will benefit other cities,” said Biller. “JVSLA has set a high standard so that these students are actually getting jobs and launching long term careers.”
JVS BankWork$ won the Project Collaboration Award at the 2013 Los Angeles Business Journal (LABJ) Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards recognizing “innovation, involvement of multiple stakeholders and the engagement of the community being served.”