“If I don’t make this call now, then when will I?”
That was the question Chicago resident Adriana Flores was asking herself in late 2019 as she considered applying for the BankWork$® program with our training partner Association House of Chicago. A friend who had already completed the eight-week, free comprehensive career development program and been hired immediately by an employer partner, had recommended it to Adriana.
After working in retail early in her career, Adriana had been a stay-at-home mom the previous two years, and she was ready for a change.
“I needed a better future for me and my son,” says Adriana.
So Adriana made the call and applied for the BankWork$ program. In January 2020, Adriana started the eight-week career development program.
At first, Adriana says, she was hesitant and out of her “comfort zone” after being out of the workforce for several years. But Adriana settled in; her instructor’s talent and the value of hearing from multiple employer partners from across the financial services industry, who spoke to the class about their different roles and approaches, helped her s
In March 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic growing, her BankWork$ program shifted to a virtual model. Instead of the typical in-person graduation celebration and career fair with employer partners, the graduates participated in a virtual format.
After interviewing with several banks, Adriana accepted an offer from Chicago-based Byline Bank.
“BankWork$ helped me get my foot in the door. That was the first step. They gave me the opportunity, and then it was on me,” says Adriana. After starting in a part-time Teller role, Adriana then took on a full-time role, and is now a Senior Teller.
And Adriana isn’t the only BankWork$ graduate at Byline Bank: two of her fellow graduates from her cohort also joined the Byline Bank team.
As a Senior Teller, Adriana brings another skill to help serve the mostly Hispanic community in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood: a native Spanish speaker, she is fluent in both English and Spanish. That’s allowed Adriana to help serve the bank’s Spanish-speaking customers, acting as a translator for many of their customers who don’t speak English.
“Language accessibility is a challenge for many in this community to financial stability.”
More than half of our program graduates are fluent in two or more languages, making banking accessible for communities where English fluency could be a barrier.
As Adriana grows her career, her advice to others considering BankWork$ and a career in financial services it to “go for it. There’s a lot you can learn and you can pass a lot of that on to your family to help them be more financially stable. You never know what opportunities can come from it. Joining BankWork$ was the best decision I could have made. I made good friends who I have the pleasure of working with now and met a lot of great people along the way as well. I now have a stable career, and I can’t wait for what the future holds.”