Jessica Ramirez-Jefferson never saw herself having the right experience to work in a bank. After many years in the restaurant industry, she thought a banking career was out of reach, even as she wanted the stability that a career in financial services would offer.
In October 2021, while researching courses to enhance her workforce skills, she found the BankWork$ career-readiness program with our partners in the Bay Area, Fremont Adult and Continuing Education. She jumped at the chance, and started the free class that fall.
For Jessica, the most impactful takeaway from BankWork$ was “a greater sense of self-encouragement,” she says. “I learned more about my strengths and weaknesses, and because everyone encouraged each other we quickly became a family. I was so surprised to see myself succeed.” A bi-lingual speaker fluent in English and Spanish, Jessica was particularly impressed by the diversity of her class, and noticed that “within our class, we had people who spoke eight different languages.”
Her instructor, Michelle Branner, praises Jessica as “a model student. She came to class every day motivated to learn more. Her personal strength not only empowered her, but it also inspired others to achieve greatness. It was a pleasure to have her in class.”
Like all graduates of a CareerWork$ program, Jessica attended a hiring fair with employer partners in her area immediately after her graduation ceremony. She was hired by Comerica Bank, and in her new role as a Customer Service Representative, she has felt fully equipped to handle her responsibilities.
Jessica was moved by how much the program and her instructor embraced and accepted her. “It touches my heart that they look for people like me, and gave me that push-up to help me. That I found the class makes me so grateful. When people care enough to make the world a better place, it’s a beautiful thing.”
Jessica is thriving in her new career. “I open the bank myself; I do dual control [transactions requiring a greater level of approval], I’m meeting clients, I do it all.” Working with customers with disabilities has been a special highlight for her: “I’ve made great connections with a customer who has a service dog named Molly, who always comes right to my window to greet me!” Jessica looks forward to advancing in her career, and hopes to eventually move into the mortgage and loans department
To anyone thinking about signing up for BankWork$, Jessica says “try it out and see if you like it! You won’t know until you try. If you’re ready to find out who you really are, this class will help you get there. It definitely inspired me to go further in my career. I’m so honored to be part of a program that wants better for people in the world.”