BankWork$® Celebrates Endorsement by Texas Bankers Association, Partnership to Help Expand BankWork$ Across Texas

BankWork$, a signature program of the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation and the national nonprofit organization CareerWork$®, is celebrating the endorsement by the Texas Bankers Association and its partnership to help expand the program across Texas in the coming years.  

The Texas Bankers Foundation, the charitable arm of the Texas Bankers Association, has also committed $5,000 to Dallas College’s BankWork$ program, to support the program’s expansion to its Richland campus in Fall 2021. 

You can also find more information about this announcement on the Texas Bankers Association website. 

“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$. “Our BankWork$ 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.”     

Dallas College BankWork$ Instructor Elishima Myles (center) with her BankWork$ students.

“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. “Our next step in partnering with CareerWork$ will focus on expanding the BankWork$ program to a second training center in Dallas, establishing a Houston campus and expanding into additional cities across Texas.” 

Operating in 13 cities around the country, BankWork$® helps young adults from low-income communities build meaningful careers in banking, through a free, eight-week career training, placement assistance, and ongoing coaching. Since the program’s inception, more than 3,600 graduates have secured entry-level positions with career potential across the country. Seventy-two percent of graduates remain employed twelve months after they are hired. More than half of BankWork$ students are bilingual and 82 percent of its graduates are people of color.   

Three Ways CareerWork$ Adapted to Meet the Challenge of the COVID Pandemic and Continue Our Impact

Over the past 18 months, organizations across the country navigated the rapid changes of the pandemic. CareerWork$ worked closely with partners around the country to adapt, pivot, and pivot again—and as a result, we’re still marking milestones like graduations and job placements among our graduates.  

Here are three ways we adapted and continued our impact during the pandemic: 

A New Program: CareerWork$ Ready: Early in the pandemic, we launched a new job readiness program, CareerWork$® Ready, a condensed, three-week program designed for individuals seeking their first job, as well as those who are looking to re-enter the workforce., in a broad range of industries. We provide community organizations with the curricula they need to offer virtual or in-person training for job seekers in underserved communities. The program leverages the curricula from our proven BankWork$® and CareerWork$® Medical programs and includes one-on-one sessions and group trainings with a job coach, creating a personalized experience in real time, and standing out from many other pre-recorded programs. 

Making Classes Digital: As we launched CareerWork$ Ready online, we also digitized our BankWork$ and CareerWork$ Medical® curricula, making it possible for our training partners to offer courses through hybrid models while complying with public health guidelines. Moving the curriculum content online meant students also gained digital skills and practiced holding virtual meetings and online collaboration tools—skills and experience necessary in the “new normal” for many careers. 

Making Graduations and Job Fairs Digital: Ask any graduate, or any employer—our graduations and job fairs, where each graduate interviews with each employer partner, is part of what makes CareerWork$ so impactful. We celebrate the hard work and dedication of participants, and they receive far more personal attention than they might during a standard job fair or online application process. During the pandemic, we adapted to ensure we could continue our graduations and jobs fairs by pivoting to a virtual model; immediately following the virtual graduation events, our graduates met 1:1 virtually with employers in their region for job interviews. As we look to the future, we are hopeful and energized for what’s next – especially as we recently hit an important milestone: 4,000 graduates placed into jobs with career growth potential.   

Thanks to these steps and collaboration with our training partners around the country, CareerWork$ is poised for our next phase of growth— expanding with new partners, new staff, potential for new training programs, and new ideas for the future. Our work has never felt more vital, and as the pandemic has highlighted the long-standing inequities for BIPOC community members, the need for our last-mile training programs has never been so clear. 

Graduate Spotlight: Emily Duong: From “No Direction” to A BankWork$ Class to A Growing Career with Bank of America

After immigrating to the United States with her family, Minh (Emily) Duong’s career path was unclear.  

For a while, she worked part-time in retail. But Emily wanted a more meaningful career.  

“After I came to the US with my family, I had no direction,” she recalls. “I did not know to build a career plan. In the darkest time, I came across the BankWork$ program.” 

Emily had found the BankWork$ program with our Bay Area partners, Fremont Adult and Continuing Education. 

“It was the opportunity I was looking for, so I could not let it slip away.” 

In April 2018, Emily began our free, eight-week BankWork$ training program. It was the first all-female class BankWork$ class in the history of the Bay Area program, “a circle of support, friendship and sisterhood to rely on,”as Emily describes it. 

Emily experienced our program that provides the hard and soft skills they need for entry-level roles in banking, a curriculum that was co-developed by employers and community-serving organizations to ensure success. Emily graduated from the BankWork$ program that June. The youngest in her class, her peers chose her to be the class graduation speaker.  

After graduating, Emily interviewed for open roles with our partner banks partners. She soon received two offers, and she accepted a position with Bank of America as a part-time teller. Within the first six weeks, Emily was promoted to a full-time teller role. She was also recognized for her excellent customer service skills.  

In 2019, Emily was promoted to a Lead Teller role and continues to receive accolades for her top performance in her new career with Bank of America.   

“Regardless of which banking positions you would like to apply to later, after completing this short-term program, you are well equipped with the most powerful tool, customer service skills, which helps differentiate you from the crowd,” says Emily. “I was so grateful for every lesson from the BankWork$ program.” 

Today, nearly two years into her career in financial services, Emily’s advice to her fellow BankWork$ students is simple: 

“Be confident in your abilities and do not give up…If I can do it, then, yes, you can make it through as well.”