LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BankWork$™, an eight-week free training program that places low-income young adults and those with barriers to employment in jobs in the financial services industry, announced today that it has placed its 1,000th graduate.
“Clearly the program works. These jobs are stepping stones to a rewarding career in the financial services industry,” said Colleen Anderson, Executive Director at BankWork$™. “Les Biller, retired Chief Operating Officer of Wells Fargo & Co., created BankWork$™ in 2006 because he believed that every successful person has been helped by someone who opened a door for him or her at some point in their career. We’ve now opened 1,000 doors for these young adults and we have thousands more to go.”
BankWork$™ graduates have developed a reputation for loyalty in an industry plagued by high turnover. Eighty-seven percent of BankWork$™ graduates remain employed six months after hire and 72 percent are still there on their one year anniversary.
“By virtue of successfully completing a rigorous eight week program, BankWork$™ graduates have proven to themselves and future employers that they have what it takes to succeed in a lasting career in banking,” said John Sotoodeh, Executive Vice President and Regional Bank Executive of Wells Fargo's Southwest region. “We have hired well-trained and highly qualified BankWork$™ graduates in every one of the markets where the program currently operates and many of them continue to see their careers progress due in part to the opportunities and experience this program offers.”
For BankWork$™ graduates, the program provides a pathway to career opportunities in the financial services industry by equipping them with the hard and soft skills needed to become qualified candidates for in-demand jobs such as bank tellers, customer service representatives and personal bankers.
“We give our graduates more than the fundamentals of banking by focusing on sales and customer service skills and preparing them to succeed in a corporate culture, but what is most thrilling for me are the calls I get from former students telling me how we have utterly transformed their lives,” said Lisa Meadows of JVS Los Angeles, who developed the BankWork$ curriculum.
“After struggling to seek out my professional dreams for four years, I decided to try the BankWork$™ program. One week after graduation, I was offered two positions and began working at Bank of America,” said Dominique Satterwhite, Bank of America personal banker and BankWork$™ graduate from Los Angeles in 2013. “I started out as a teller and was quickly promoted to personal banker. I couldn’t have asked for better preparation for my new career.”
“I always wanted to have a career, not just a job,” said Liudmyla Evans of U.S. Bank in Seattle. “BankWork$ helped me learn things about banking and gain some experience. I knew that it would definitely help me to get a ‘foot in the door.’ Mercedes (the instructor) taught us how to build trust, how to be a team player, how to look and what to do to meet your goals and become successful. After being a peak-time teller for less than a year, I applied for the universal banker position and was given the chance, because I was working hard and had been recognized for providing excellent customer service."
Bank of America, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation have each pledged $1 million to support a national rollout that will bring the BankWork$™ program to more than 15 markets over five years. The national expansion goal is to place 1,200 to 1,500 graduates annually in financial services industry positions by 2019.
BankWork$™ was started in 2006 in Los Angeles by The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation in partnership with regional workforce development leader JVS Los Angeles. The program currently has operations in Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Phoenix and Portland, OR. As part of a five-year, $4-million national expansion in partnership with Bank of America, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, the program will expand to Houston, Denver and Chicago in 2016 and to more than 15 markets by 2019. For more information, see www.bankworks.org.