BankWork$ participants with Career Path Services in South Puget Sound, are entering week seven of their class, and graduation is just around the corner. Our team spoke with current participants about their experience, why they are doing the program, and what they’re most looking forward to about beginning their careers in the financial services industry.
Hello everyone! My name’s Austin, and I joined CareerWork$ as our Communications and Development Specialist in March! One of my favorite parts of my job is hearing from incredible participants and instructors, and sharing their success stories so others can hear about their great work.
This week Program Manager Dion Willis and I met with the BankWork$ class at Career Path Services in South Puget Sound. We observed participants in action as they practiced cash handling and dealing with different types of customers, and we heard from guest speakers from Olympia Federal Savings.
In chatting with several participants about their experience with BankWork$, I witnessed firsthand the impact this program is making on their lives. The class brings together participants from all over the world, from Tacoma to Sierra Lione to China, around a shared interest in achieving their career goals. Instruction staff Shelley and Sara teach the skills to succeed in the financial services industry, but each participant brings their own drive, determination, and dedication.
I look forward to seeing these participants graduate and launch careers in the coming weeks. They are not only the future of the financial services industry, but also a reminder that success can come from anywhere.
Lisa Baldwin was feeling professionally stuck. In October 2021, she was working full time in a warehouse, but neither that nor her previous roles were helping her achieve her personal goals. While looking for an opportunity to start a new career, she found the Bankwork$® program at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish.
“I saw this program as a chance for a career that wouldn’t lead to another dead-end job. I felt like I could do something with this, that I could go somewhere,” she says. While BankWork$ (and all CareerWork$ programs) are scheduled so participants can work while taking the course, Lisa was so ready for her next step that she quit her job to pursue BankWork$ with all her energy.
Lisa’s favorite part of being in class was getting to know her instructors and fellow participants: “My instructors were a great support system, and I continue to stay in contact with them.” Her instructors at Seattle YWCA, Tracy Hinman and Melanie Wheeler, noted that Lisa had a strong determination to succeed despite her busy schedule. “Whenever I think about Lisa,” says Tracy, “a smile immediately comes to my face. She has had to overcome many personal challenges, but she bravely chose to use those challenges as her motivation for success, rather than as an excuse for stagnation or failure. Lisa projects positively, kindness, grace, and professionalism. It was truly a blessing having her in class.”
After completing the BankWork$ program, Lisa connected with local recruiters from BECU at the post-graduation hiring fair. In December 2021, she accepted an offer from BECU and started her job by working in their call center. She describes her new position as a perfect match. “They give me the ability to work from home, which has been amazing for my schedule. I had already been a BECU member for several years and had a great experience with their service, and it has only become better as an employee.”
In her new position, Lisa is looking forward to learning many different aspects of the banking industry to figure out where she wants to be long-term. “They encourage job shadowing, and I think I want to shadow a couple of different departments. I want to absorb all the knowledge I can, so I can decide which department is best for me.”
Lisa’s dedication isn’t a surprise to instructor Melanie, who was struck by her drive from the beginning. “Lisa is such a strong woman! She had some clearly set goals for herself and her future, and she remained focused in order to reach those goals. I was so proud and grateful to be able to watch Lisa graduate, begin her new career at BECU, and reach so many of her goals despite so many obstacles that were in her way. She was so much fun to work with, and I hope she knows how proud of her we truly are!”
As Lisa looks into the future for her career, when she reflects on her time in BankWork$, she encourages anyone thinking about signing up to “take the plunge and go into it with an open mind. I’m thankful for BankWork$, it gave me the reset I needed. We all have our ups and downs and have to reset life a couple of times, and I feel like the stars aligned because everything has worked out perfect with my new position.”