Every graduate of any CareerWork$ program knows that what sets us apart isn’t just our industry-specific career training—it’s individual support, and direct connections to local employers looking to hire. While our Instructors bring industry experience and are responsible for leading participants through our eight-week curricula, the person responsible for helping program participants connect directly with employers is each class’s Career Navigator—part of the special sauce that makes CareerWork$ programs have such success with launching their new careers.
Matthew Samaniego never expected that his own career path would lead to workforce development and career training. But today, Matthew Samaniego speaks passionately about his work as a Career Navigator with our Bay Area partner Fremont Adult & Continuing Education.
For Matthew, being a Career Navigator means “working with our students one-on-one to make sure they have everything they need to succeed. We are already giving them a great curriculum with our Instructors, so my role is to meet with them individually throughout the program, and to provide that post-class support and ongoing coaching, and help connect them with employers with roles to fill.”
As he works with participants in the BankWork$ program – as well as those considering it – Matthew emphasizes that “you’re not just getting into a job, but a career. It’s something you can do your whole life, with opportunities to advance at every step.”
A Bay Area native, Matthew worked in customer service, logistics, and retail before joining our Bay Area partner Fremont Adult & Continuing Education in an administrative role, which he held for nearly two years. When the opportunity opened up to be a Career Navigator with the BankWork$ program, Matthew says he “jumped at the chance.” He was already familiar with BankWork$ and had seen its impact on its students firsthand.
Working directly with BankWork$ participants, Matthews says he cherishes the chance to “connect talented people with a real career opportunity that can transform their lives. Seeing our students really blossom into themselves and become these confident people by the end of the course is so impressive and inspiring.”
Matthew also values building relationships with students during and after the program – and seeing them build relationships with one another. “Each class becomes a bit of a family,” Matthews says, with cohorts staying in touch via WhatsApp to send holiday greetings and celebrate each other’s new roles and promotions in their new careers.
The COVID-19 pandemic made Matthew’s work more challenging over the past two years—a challenge experienced by all of our Instructors and Career Navigators across the country. But, like all instruction staff, Matthew and his colleagues at FACE adapted, working with CareerWork$® to launch virtual, and then hybrid, BankWork$ classes, along with virtual graduation celebrations and career fairs with employers.
Today, Matthew loves being back in person with FACE’s BankWork$ students. But he also notes that the challenges posed by the pandemic and virtual instruction “taught us a lot, too. We can include technology skills like remote meeting and incorporate that into our curriculum. We’ve come through it stronger than ever before.”
“You realize how much it starts to mean to you as well. I keep calling my role a job, but for me, it’s a career and a calling. I look forward to many more years working with CareerWork$.”
Thank you, Matthew, and all the Career Navigators and Instructors who make our programs around the country so impactful! To learn more about upcoming BankWork$ classes with Fremont Adult and Continuing Education, click here.