Banking on the future
BankWork$ Dallas College graduating class of 2020.

BankWork$ program creates opportunities for successful careers in banking

As the banking industry continues to evolve, community banks look to better serve the communities in which they operate. From tellers to personal bankers, branches seek to attract the next generation of bankers into their pipeline — with an emphasis on the diversity and inclusion of young talent who have the basic skillsets to succeed on the frontline.

Enter CareerWork$

Young adults from low-income communities who are interested in a career in banking can make their dream a reality, thanks to national nonprofit organization, CareerWork$ and its signature program, BankWork$. This vocational training program allows young adults to build meaningful careers in banking through a free, eight-week career training with placement assistance and ongoing coaching.

The program takes the guesswork out of hiring new frontline employees and allows financial institutions to choose from well-prepared banking candidates who can provide industry-specific customer service and sales experience in accordance with the needs of Texas community banks.

Ensuring the future of the banking industry

Texas Bankers Foundation donates $5,000 towards BankWork$ Dallas College program.The Texas Bankers Association recently partnered with the nonprofit organization to support the expansion of BankWork$ in Texas. The program currently operates classes at Dallas College and aims to develop a career-track pipeline for young adults from low-income communities in the banking industry. 

“BankWork$ is an outstanding program that aligns with many important TBA objectives — including access to talent for our member banks, increasing diversity and inclusion within our workforce and, ultimately, elevating the socioeconomic well-being of local communities across the state,” said Brent Cox, vice president of member relations at the Texas Bankers Association. 

TBA is committed to ensuring the future of our industry by growing and supporting the banking programs at Texas colleges and universities as well as like-minded organizations such as CareerWork$.

In partnership with TBA, CareerWork$ plans to expand its BankWork$ training course to multiple cities throughout the state such as Houston, Austin and San Antonio, as well as a second location in the Dallas area.

A successful workforce development program

Income more than doublesOriginated in Los Angeles in 2006, BankWork$ was created by the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation and has since expanded to 13 metro markets across the U.S. including Atlanta, San Francisco Bay Area, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland, Seattle and the South Puget Sound.

“We train for success in the financial industry and beyond, and we are excited to be partnering with the Texas Bankers Association to bring our free career training program to more communities across Texas,” said Sherry Cromett, president of CareerWork$.

The eight-week program prepares job seekers for entry-level positions as a first step on the career ladder in the financial services industry. Positions include teller, customer service representative, relationship banker and personal banker, to name a few.

To participate in the program, eligible students 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 pass a standard background check. 

“Our BankWork$ program teaches hard and soft skills needed to succeed in banking and engages employers throughout the program to provide industry insight and integrated recruitment opportunities. We work in communities where we can have the greatest impact and partner with local workforce development organizations, banks and financial institutions to match great hires with great jobs,” Cromett added.

From role-specific skills to a broader industry overview, participants learn the ins and outs of the banking industry needed for a lasting career. Each course is custom-tailored to provide the knowledge banks are seeking and focus on hard skills for on-the-job success in banking and soft skills needed to thrive as a professional anywhere. The curriculum includes how to create a positive impression, build relationships with clients and co-workers, problem-solve and much more.

Finally, BankWork$ looks to connect great hires with great careers to ensure participants and employers thrive.

Each of the students had the opportunity to interview with nearly a dozen Texas banks on graduation day for the chance to land a job in the field.

Creating a lasting impact following graduation

Financial industry increases diversitySince the creation of BankWork$, the program has helped place more than 3,600 graduates in new careers with strong growth potential. Last year, Kinetic West conducted an analysis using BankWork$ participant data from a Seattle-based training program. This evaluation found that three years after completing BankWork$:

  • Graduates’ income more than doubled within the first three years, resulting in an average wage increase of 134% after graduation when compared to wages earned prior to joining the program.
  • Graduates become self-sufficient faster after the eight-week program and exceed the self-sufficiency threshold for a single adult within three years, compared to 27 years for a non-participant.
  • Graduates annual lifetime earnings soar and are $1 million higher versus non-participants.
  • Graduates’ employment rate skyrockets and gains are 39 percentage points higher for graduates compared to non-completers.
  • Bankwork$ graduates pay more in taxes and contribute an estimated 70% more in local, state and federal taxes than non-participants.

Building the next generation of bankers

A BankWork$ student had a virtual interview on graduation day.Since 2018, Dallas College has graduated nearly 100 total students in eight classes. Most recently, the BankWork$ program at Dallas College produced 11 graduates from its training program. Each of the students had the opportunity to interview with nearly a dozen Texas banks on graduation day for the chance to land a job in the field. Many of the students held prior experience in sales and customer service and now have the skills needed to succeed in the banking industry.

Upon graduation, alumni receive assistance with job placement and ongoing coaching for career success. This method allows the students to receive the support needed to get a job and advance in their careers.

Over a dozen Texas banks have already utilized the BankWork$ program from Dallas College, as well as its out-of-state training programs, and have seen positive results from these unique hires.

The new employees tend to “bring a new mindset to community banking and allow banks to better understand and support the needs of their communities through personal experience,” Cox added.

Continued support for university partners

Financial industry expands reachIn addition to its partnership with CareerWork$, TBA along with its charitable arm Texas Bankers Foundation, have committed hundreds of thousands of dollars to building the next generation of bankers to ensure an inclusive and diverse workplace, at all levels of the banking industry, for years to come. 

This includes a recent $100,000 commitment to the Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Texas Southern University (TSU) to help build a leading banking program at the Historically Black College & University (HBCU). The new academic program, Future Bankers Leadership Program (FBLP), will give students direct exposure to commercial banking.

The program will soon introduce business students to the industry through a formal curriculum, interaction with executives and industry mentors as well as commercial banking internships. Offered at the undergraduate level, students will learn the foundational knowledge and the critical skills necessary for students looking to enter the financial services sector. The FBLP will start in the Fall 2021 semester.

For more information on university partners visit www.texasbankers.com/UniversityPartnerships

Financial education for all steps of life

Financial education is increasingly important and not just for young adults. Whether a small business owner or future banker, strong financial literacy can support key life goals such as balancing a budget, buying a home, funding an education, paying taxes and more.

As a part of TBA’s mission, the Association believes in supporting Texas banks and its communities through financial literacy, business literacy and workforce diversity:

Financial literacy for individuals and families
Many in underserved communities do not have the financial life skills that lead to economic well-being, resilience, savings and wealth creation. Public school budgets and curricula are stretched, so banks have proudly supported and invested in financial literacy programs for years.

Business literacy for small businesses and entrepreneurs
Small business owners and entrepreneurs in underserved communities may not have access to business education and training. If we want sustainable communities, we must support sustainable businesses, community growth and jobs. This, in turn, will provide sustainable markets for banks and expand access to capital in communities.

Workforce diversity for community and bank growth
Banks need a workforce that includes individuals from and who know the communities they serve. This element must include training frontline bankers and lenders as well as NextGen bank executive leaders.