BankWork$ To Expand to Charlotte, North Carolina with New Partner: Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont

View original press release here.

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont is partnering with CareerWork$® and The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) to train and upskill people in the Charlotte region for careers in banking.

The Charlotte region is home to more than 91,000 financial services jobs, and it is the second-largest banking center in the nation. With no other workforce development programs dedicated to the finance industry in the greater Charlotte region, Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont is expanding its training division to offer the BankWork$® program so that people have equitable access to career development opportunities.

“We envision a community where equitable access to career opportunities is available for all,” said Chris Jackson, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont. “We recognize that skilled training is an essential part of helping to build our growing city, and having these skills can lead to in-demand, high-potential careers. We’ve come together with CAEL and CareerWork$ to make the path to these careers possible in one of our community’s top industries.”

CareerWork$ partners with experienced workforce development and nonprofit organizations, like Goodwill, around the country to operate their programs. On a national level, the BankWork$ program has a 73% placement rate.

“CareerWork$ is thrilled to partner with Goodwill Industries of Southern Piedmont to bring BankWork$ to the Charlotte region. Through this partnership, we hope to help many in the community launch careers with excellent growth potential in the financial services industry,” said Ranko Fukuda, interim executive director.

BankWork$ is an eight-week intensive workforce services program that will give people the skills, access, and coaching needed to succeed and grow in banking careers—from understanding the financial services workplace to bank regulations, bank products, cash handling, and processing customer transactions. Graduates are prepared for roles such as: Associate Banker, Branch Banker, Client Services Representative, Lead Teller, Member Service Consultant, Personal Banker, Relationship Banker, Teller, and Call Center Representative.

Additionally, the program will engage prospective employers in the community during the duration of the program to provide industry insight and integrated recruitment opportunities.

“We look at the local business needs and participant opportunities to prosper when developing training programs for our nonprofit,“ said Raquel Lynch, chief program officer for Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont. “In addition to providing BankWork$ to the Charlotte community, participants enrolled in this program will also have access to family stability services, a Career Navigator and Employer Engagement Specialist for assistance with interpersonal skills, mock interviews, resume preparation, and help landing the job.”

Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont uses the revenue generated from the sale of donations throughout our retail stores and online, philanthropic donors, and grants to provide employment, job placement, job training, and certifications and credentials for anyone looking to improve their skills and grow their careers. The BankWork$ program is also offered free of charge but will provide participants with a stipend of $15 an hour during their training to support them on their journey toward a new career.

“CAEL is grateful for Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont’s leadership in bringing this much-needed short-term career training program to the Charlotte community through Truist Foundation’s Where It Starts: Build Better Careers initiative,” said Earl Buford, president of CAEL. “We’re excited to see how our partnership with Goodwill and CareerWork$ continues to unfold as we work together to create opportunities for more individuals in the Charlotte area to connect with good jobs in the financial services sector.”

CareerWork$® Announces Lulama Nzimande as the Latest Recipient of the Marc Hill Rising Star Award 

CareerWork$ is delighted to announce the selection of Lulama Nzimande, an April 2023 graduate of the BankWork$® program from our training partners at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, as the sixth recipient of the Marc Hill Rising Star Award! 

Lulama’s journey began in her birthplace of South Africa, where she bore witness to the country’s evolution from apartheid to democracy during her formative years, instilling in her a deep respect for diligence and advancement. Fueled by a recognition of insufficient financial awareness and empowerment among women, her path led her into the realm of financial services. Reflecting on her experiences, Lulama shared, “The positive changes I’ve seen in South Africa represent my enduring compassion for individuals who exemplify profound humanity.” 

Before enrolling in BankWork$, Lulama was already employed full-time as a dedicated caregiver. Her instructor, Tracy Hinman, mentioned that Lulama was “undeterred by her busy schedule; she adjusted her hours to coincide with the program’s classes. Juggling overnight shifts while consistently being prepared for class, Lulama’s determination stayed unwavering. She approached her assignments diligently, participated actively in class discussions, and maintained an incredibly positive attitude.” 

After graduating from BankWork$, Lulama secured a position as a Remote Contact Center Consultant at BECU, a month after her graduation. Her dedication, hard work, and commitment paid off, propelling her into the financial sector with confidence and purpose. 

 “After winning the award, I couldn’t help but let my emotions overflow as it dissolved any lingering doubts I had about the worthiness of my journey,” said Lulama. “The unwavering support from BankWork$ and the YWCA touched me deeply, serving as a reminder that I wasn’t navigating this path alone. As a woman and a person of color, it means a great deal to me. It gives me hope. Moreover, it compels me to give back to the community, to anyone I come across. I have a desire to contribute, whether through time, financial assistance, referrals, or resources. It motivates me to be a responsible citizen.” 

The Marc Hill Rising Star Award recognizes a graduate of our BankWork$ or CareerWork$ Medical® programs each quarter who has shown significant personal growth and transformation from the start of their class until their graduation. Each award recipient receives a certificate and a cash award to enhance the start of their new career. 

The award is an integral part of CareerWork$’s ongoing effort to create pathways to meaningful careers. It also honors the life, work, and legacy of the late Marc Hill, who was an instructor for both the BankWork$ and CareerWork$® Ready programs at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. Marc passed away in late 2020, but the lessons he shared with his students epitomize our organizational values: respect, collaboration, equity, and inclusion. 

Learn more about The Marc Hill Rising Star Award. 

Transforming Lives in Healthcare: Karina Gallardo’s Impact in CareerWork$ Medical

With her warm and welcoming demeanor, Karina Gallardo has been a guiding force, shaping the aspirations of future healthcare professionals at JVS SoCal’s CareerWork$ Medical program in Los Angeles. 

Starting as a medical receptionist, Karina understands the intricacies and demands of the administrative side of healthcare. Through her own journey from volunteering to interning, she gained invaluable insights into the healthcare ecosystem, allowing her to relate intimately to her students’ aspirations and challenges. 

Karina’s healthcare journey began in high school where she volunteered, and it continued throughout her college years. She combined her biology studies with internships, creating a blend of education and practical experience that prepared her for her initial professional role in healthcare. During college, her journey continued as she interned while pursuing her biology studies, ultimately paving the way for her entry into the healthcare field. Her additional pursuit of counseling psychology further solidified her passion for working with students, leading her onto the path of teaching. 

Her introduction to the healthcare field involved internships and volunteering at the Los Angeles General Medical Center. She started as a Receptionist at Adventist Health White Memorial, later progressing to become a Program Coordinator, showcasing her growth and unwavering dedication. 

Motivated by her interest in counseling psychology and a strong desire to assist students, Karina found her calling in teaching through CareerWork$ Medical. Her background as a healthcare professional enables her to embody empathy and compassion, qualities she instills in her students. Her story stands as an inspiring example for those aspiring to enter the healthcare field. “I adore working with students and always yearned to teach, and CareerWork$ Medical has granted me that opportunity,” Karina stated. 

As an instructor, Karina has found her calling. With an affable and confident demeanor, she comfortably addresses her students, drawing from her own experiences to guide and enlighten them. “I think everyone comes with a little bit of hesitation about starting this program. But what I can say is, think about the bigger picture. Look at the light at the end of the tunnel. It might seem so far off, but once you’re done and once you’ve arrived, it will be worth it, because you can take this anywhere,” she advises her prospective students with an air of assurance. 

Throughout her career, Karina has embraced valuable lessons, one being the importance of building connections with her students. Understanding that trust can’t be forced, she strives to create an environment of understanding and respect, recognizing that everyone comes from unique walks of life. “I think it definitely comes back to my background. Counseling psychology has been very helpful in working with different type of characters and personalities, different people being adaptable, being flexible to everyone’s differences,” she explains. Her flexibility and adaptability shine through, making her classroom a place where every student feels valued and heard. “If we can mirror empathetic language throughout our classroom setting, we can bring that into the field,” she shares, emphasizing the significance of empathy in the healthcare industry. 

Karina sees being an instructor as more than just teaching. It’s about forming real bonds with her students, helping them develop, and cheering for their achievements. She feels incredibly happy when she witnesses her students beginning their healthcare careers or using their skills in different parts of life. 

Learn more about CareerWork$ Medical at JVS SoCal Los Angeles. 

Empowering Dreams: How BankWork$ Led Jasmine Grant to a New Career in Financial Services

After relocating from Las Vegas to Pittsburgh, Jasmine Grant found herself at a crossroads in life. Her previous path was leading her towards a career in law, but as she delved deeper into her options, Jasmine discovered her true passion resided in the financial services industry. Determined to follow her heart, she decided to enroll in BankWork$ at Energy Innovation Center with Partner4Work. Under the guidance of her instructor, Carmen Williams, she found a supportive and inclusive atmosphere that eased her transition. 

“BankWork$ equipped me with valuable skills and knowledge,” said Jasmine. “The program not only covered rules and regulations but also provided practical scenarios, allowing me to simulate real-world interactions with customers which I still do today. Pretty much everything was useful. BankWork$ was very thorough in educating us on how to deal with and operate with customers.” 

As the program progressed, Jasmine honed her skills and gained valuable knowledge, preparing her for a successful career in banking. At the end of her time in class, she interviewed with local banks and credit unions. Eventually, she chose to start her career at First Commonwealth Bank. 

Jasmine couldn’t emphasize enough the impact Carmen had on her journey. She said, “Ms. Carmen’s support was not just for me, but for everyone in that classroom. She was supportive, understanding, and always available to us in many ways. She always took the time to make sure that we were equipped to be a part of this field. Regardless of the challenges I encountered, Ms. Carmen’s unwavering support and availability were instrumental. There was no issue that I had that I couldn’t come to her with, whether personal or work-related. She really changed my life,” said Jasmine. 

Reflecting on having Jasmine as a student, Carmen said, “I loved having Jasmine in the class; she was very outgoing and outspoken. She was always eager to ask questions, and despite having a lot of personal changes happening in her life, she didn’t let it stop her from excelling. I’m so happy she chose First Commonwealth Bank; they’ve hired multiple BankWork$ graduates, and it’s a perfect fit for her inquisitive nature.” 

Jasmine’s story is just one of many uplifting tales of how BankWork$ helps participants all over the country achieve their dreams. The program has a positive generational impact on the families of its graduates, empowering them with financial independence and stability. 

For Jasmine, her biggest inspiration and source of joy are her two daughters. “Their enthusiasm, resilience, and talents motivate me to be the best version of myself every day,” noted Jasmine. BankWork$ is an amazing program that goes beyond finding employment—it genuinely helps people. 

Learn more about BankWork$ at Energy Innovation Center with Partner4Work.