Fourteen men and women from Mesa and surrounding cities in the Valley graduated today from the third BankWork$ class. They are now prepared for careers in the financial industry.
Following the graduation ceremony from the eight-week, 168-hour class, BankWork$ graduates participated in a job fair to fill positions at financial institutions including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, MidFirst Bank, Western Alliance Bank, Comerica Bank and AmTrust Bank.
To date, 22 of the previous 28 graduates in the partnership between BankWork$, local banking partners and Arizona Women’s Education and Employment (AWEE) have been hired in a range of jobs.
Today’s third graduating class included Mesa resident Lisa Carter.
“BankWork$ offers graduates new beginnings in a career-driven industry with incredible upsides,” said AWEE President and CEO Marie Sullivan. “We can measure BankWork$ success by the number of class members who have found jobs, many who were hired immediately upon graduation. The program also is a credit to our donors and supporters who make programs like BankWork$ possible.”
Graduates like John Briones, who graduated with the second BankWork$ class in June, originally enrolled because he knew that a better life for his family meant a job offering opportunities for expansion and growth. He had been working at a Valley hotel earning $8.55 an hour. While studying at BankWork$, his wife added more hours at her own job to help support the family. Briones now works full time as a customer service representative at Bank of America.
BankWork$ launched in 2006 in Los Angeles and currently places about 200 graduates each year. By 2019, BankWork$ will be operating in 15 or more cities nationwide. Its $4-million national expansion is funded by Bank of America, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, which have each pledged $1 million over five years to support the rollout, and by The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, which founded the program and has also pledged $1 million.
Since its launch, BankWork$ has successfully placed more than 800 graduates who were hired by banks and other financial institutions.
BankWork$ achieves a graduation rate of approximately 75 percent and is placing approximately 70 percent of graduates with partner banks each year. The classes are free for participants and provide training in the skills needed for jobs as tellers, customer service representatives and personal bankers.
BankWork$ also offers resume building, job interview practice, job placement assistance and ongoing coaching and mentoring to help with career advancement. Participants must be 18 years or older, have a high school diploma or GED, be fluent in written and spoken English, have basic computer skills and no adult felony convictions.