CareerWork$® Announces Delaney Bord as the Latest Recipient of the Marc Hill Rising Star Award 

CareerWork$ is delighted to select Delaney Bord, a March 2022 graduate of the BankWork$® program from our training partners at Partner4Work and Energy Innovation Center Pittsburgh, as the fourth recipient of the CareerWork$ Marc Hill Rising Star Award! Delaney recently began her new career in financial services working as a Personal Banker at Dollar Bank in Pittsburgh. 

Beginning in Spring 2021, 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 cash award to enhance the start of their new career.   

The award is part of CareerWork$ ongoing work to open doors to meaningful careers – and honors the life, work, and legacy of the late Marc Hill, an instructor of both the BankWork$ and CareerWork$® Ready programs with CareerWork$ partner, YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, who passed away in late 2020. Marc began teaching our BankWork$ courses in 2011 and then began teaching CareerWork$ Ready in 2020 as part of our response to the COVID-19 crisis. The lessons Marc shared with his students embody our values as an organization: respect, collaboration, equity, and inclusion.   

“I am incredibly grateful to be even nominated. Just hearing a few words about Marc Hill makes me feel so honored to get this award and have a chance to know his story. Bankwork$ has changed my life. Not only is BankWork$ an amazing program, but it has very inspirational and dedicated instructors, such as Tanya Bashor and Carmen Williams, who stop at nothing to make sure their students succeed. Words cannot even describe how truly thankful I am,” says Delaney. 

The CareerWork$ and Energy Innovation Center teams, along with Delaney’s colleagues at Dollar Bank, had the opportunity to surprise her with the news that she had been selected as the newest recipient from a pool of candidates across the country.   

“After we got off the video celebration, she was so appreciative, shocked, and overwhelmed with emotion that she was chosen. We are all so proud of her and all she’s accomplished,” says Kim Rodriguez, Assistant Vice President of Branch Administration at Dollar Bank.  

“Delaney was one of the best students I have taught. She was punctual, had perfect attendance, excelled on all of her exams, and asked thoughtful questions throughout. She made no excuses even though attending the Bankwork$ training for eight weeks was very challenging for her. Delaney was always positive and determined to place at a bank—and Dollar Bank is lucky to have her!” said Tanya Bashor, Delaney’s former instructor at Energy Innovation Center Pittsburgh.  

From all of us at CareerWork$, congratulations, Delaney! 

Shelley McHugh and Sara Sheldon From Career Path Services are Helping Students Grow Into Their New Careers Through BankWork$. 

In Lakewood, Washington, just south of Seattle, dynamic duo Instructor Shelley McHugh and Career Navigator Sara Sheldon lead the BankWork$® program with our partners Career Path Services. Shelley and Sara draw on their backgrounds in finance and human services in supporting students before, during, and after our free, eight-week comprehensive training as they learn the skills to thrive in a new career in financial services. For Shelley, that includes a career serving in the United States military and in banking. For Sara, that includes experience working at the Washington State Department of Health & Human Services. For both, the opportunity to support students going through this program is life-changing. 

Shelley and Sara believe a key part of the success of the BankWork$ program is that it teaches the industry-specific knowledge and the customer-facing skills needed to succeed and advance in careers: “For our students, BankWork$ is a package deal: it offers both the hard and soft skills they need,” says Sara.  

For both Shelley and Sara, working directly with their students and watching them grow during the training is a highlight of their jobs. “Often the person walking in the door is often not the person who walks out of the door,” says Shelley. “It’s so gratifying and exciting to hear from our graduates about milestones like promotions in their new career – and their new babies, too!”  

Like so many workforce development organizations around the country, the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic posed unprecedented challenges and barriers to serving their community with the BankWork$ program. But working with our training partners around the country like Sara, Shelley, and Career Path Services, CareerWork$ adapted quickly, making classes virtual and creating virtual graduation celebrations and hiring fairs with local employers.

“We’re grateful we were able to pivot so quickly to virtual learning by using our Learning Management System,” recalls Shelley. “Now, information is at our students’ fingertips. It’s a great tool to help them be even better prepared for being in a bank. We’ve also learned to appreciate the value of being in person.” 

When giving advice to students considering BankWork$, Sara emphasizes that participating in BankWork$ is a smart bet for the long term. “It’s an investment that dramatically increases your chances of launching a lasting career in financial services.” 

Both Sara and Shelley are characteristically humble when talking about their work together, preferring to keep the spotlight on the graduates and their achievements. “Our graduates always thank us,” Shelley says, “but they did the hard work.” 

Career Path Services operates across Washington State, offering programs and services to help individuals and organizations meet their employment goals. Founded in 1971, their mission is to break the spirit of poverty through the dignity of work. They have been voted a top nonprofit to work for eight times in the last decade, and we are proud to partner with them to offer BankWork$ and CareerWork$ Medical.

To learn more about BankWork$ and our partnership with Career Path Services, click here. 

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In Search of Stability, DaVonte Poole found BankWork$–and a Growing Career.

DaVonte Poole spent much of his early life filled with curiosity to see the world, but without the family or economic stability to fully stretch his wings. “I knew there was something more for me out there, that there were more than just the four corners of my Chicago block. I knew the world was bigger and I wanted to see it,” he said.  

After moving between different homeless shelters, he left Chicago for Alaska, where he discovered Covenant House of Alaska, a shelter in Anchorage. In Alaska, he worked several jobs in retail and hospitality—but one person changed DaVonte’s life. At NuVision Credit Union, DaVonte met LeeAnthony Jenkins, who recommended he joined their credit union and learn about the possibilities of working in the financial services industry. “From day one, LeeAnthony challenged me to learn everything I can about the financial Industry, and I accepted the challenge head on! He truly inspired me because I didn’t know that it was possible for someone in the financial Industry to look like me” says DaVonte. 

After moving back to Chicago in 2017, while he was also taking the Dovetail Project, a program for high-risk fathers to understand their importance in the lives of their children, DaVonte discovered the BankWork$ program at Association House of Chicago. He knew his limited interview and office experience was limiting his professional opportunities, and felt BankWork$ could give him the tools necessary to go farther in his career in banking.  He loved learning about professional roles he could take on. 

“The BankWork$ curriculum included panels of program alumni speaking about their careers, and I appreciated the insights. Being able to hear others’ stories of what they went through in the industry gave me tools to put in my toolbelt. I was constantly taking notes about every little thing.”  

After graduation, like all BankWork$ graduates, DaVonte attended a career fair with employers looking to hire. Wanting to learn from the ground level of how money moves as a teller, he interviewed for a position at a call center for Bank of America. “I had a great interview, and they offered me a position.” After eight months as a teller, he was promoted to a banker. 

After two years of working with Bank of America, DaVonte accepted a new job at Credit Union One as a personal banker, where he became interested in mortgages and credit cards. ” As a Banker, one of your primary roles is to achieve sales goals through providing loans. When I was at Credit Union One, I was able to sell over a million dollars in loan value, which was one of the highlights of my career.” In his next career move to BMO Harris, he developed skills in commercial and business lending. “I wanted to be multi-faceted when it comes to financial services.” 

In May 2022, DaVonte accepted a new role as Assistant Branch Manager at PNC Bank and is looking forward to supporting the next generation of bankers.  “I’m excited about this new job! I want to be able to train a new team of bankers. I know what it takes to be a banker, and I know the habits in order to be successful. If I’m given the opportunity to multiply myself, I know can take a branch to the next level. Hopefully, we can do some great things.”  

As DaVonte reflects on his career, he credits a combination of his own drive and the BankWork$ training he received. ‘Any time I received a no, I felt like I had to sharpen my toolset. I looked at myself in the mirror to figure out what was going on. You have to be your biggest motivator; when you are, nothing someone can say will knock you off your path. People told me I was crazy for wanting to be a banker. External supports can be few and far between on the road to success. I’m thankful for BankWork$ because it gives opportunities to individuals who would otherwise not even think about stepping into this industry. Because BankWork$ didn’t give up on me, I didn’t give up on myself.” 

DaVonte started off with very little encouragement in his career in the financial services industry, but through perseverance, determination, and confidence he has worked his way from BankWork$ graduate to Assistant Branch Manager. We are so excited to see how DaVonte continues to make an impact on the financial services industry. Congratulations on your continued advancement in your career, DaVonte! 

To learn more about BankWork$ and our partnership with Association House of Chicago, click here.  

BankWork$ Class Observation Video

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.

Observing a BankWork$ Class: Success in Action

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. 

BankWork$ Gave Lisa Baldwin “The Reset She Needed” To Support Her Family and Reach Her Career Goals 

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.”  

To learn more about BankWork$ and our partnership with Seattle YWCA, click here. 

For Jessica Ramirez-Jefferson, BankWork$® Helped Her Be “Part Of a Program That Wants Better For People In The World.” 

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.” 

To learn more about BankWork$ and our partnership with FACE, click here. 

CareerWork$ Ready Is “Building Up Confidence For The Whole Family” Says Program Manager, Dion Willis

As Dion Willis celebrates his one-year anniversary as a Program Manager with CareerWork$, he’s looking back at one of the most rewarding parts of his job: helping grow and develop CareerWork$ Ready. “It’s one of those programs that gives you not just the skills and training you need, but the confidence to know that you can do it,” he says.  

CareerWork$ Ready is the newest free job training program offered by CareerWork$ and our Training Partners. The program was created during the COVID-19 pandemic to help individuals struggling with unemployment, but has proven effective even as the labor market has steadied. Designed to serve individuals seeking their first job or those re-entering the workforce, CareerWork$ Ready focuses on both the skills to secure a job, such as a resume writing and interview practice, and the people and communication skills needed to succeed in any role. After completion, participants are prepared to interview for open roles with confidence and a renewed sense of conviction, and instructors help program participants grow professionally through personalized career coaching. 

As a former Career Navigator, Dion has personally observed the CareerWork$ Ready class at Seattle YWCA many times and has witnessed its impact on participants. He says, “I’ve seen many people get jobs from the program. It’s a beautiful thing that people want to stay in touch with me, and talk about the program and what it’s meant to them.”  

Dion tells anyone considering CareerWork$ Ready as the next step in their professional life that “you will be excited to come the next day—you are always learning something new and fresh.” Dion has also witnessed the multi-generational effects the program has on families working from home. “I love that our program means kids are seeing their parents act professionally, dressing differently, and preparing homework assignments, like their 30-second commercials introducing themselves.  We know it’s building up confidence for the whole family.” 

If you’re interested in signing up for CareerWork$ Ready, you can sign up through our website or call 833-296-7554 and we’ll connect you to a training partner closest to your location.   

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As She Grows Her Career at Bank of America, Graduate Jennifer Berg Sees BankWork$ As “Giving People Hope and Opportunity”

Jennifer Berg

When Jennifer Berg first learned about the BankWork$ program with our partners in the Los Angeles area, JVS SoCal, it was at the right time in her personal and career journey. After several years working in retail, Jennifer, a Bay Area native, was looking for a new chapter.

At that time, Jennifer had never thought about a career in financial services. But after reading about our program, she was curious, and after attending an open house information session with JVS SoCal in early 2019, she enrolled in an upcoming class.

During our free, eight-week comprehensive career readiness program, Jennifer commuted 60 miles each day to attend class. But for her, it was worth it.

Jennifer praises Julian Hampton, Associate Director of JVS SoCal and BankWork$ Instructor, for the “phenomenal job” he did conveying the industry-specific portions of the eight-week curriculum. “I really liked the reading material and assignments. The curriculum gave me a real sense of what it would be like to have a career in banking.”

But for her, the “biggest gift” from Julian and the program were the communications and workplace skills the program emphasizes, which can help people grow in any career.

This program “gave us the gift of knowing how to do an interview and to do it properly. Julian coached us, and he helped us be confident. He challenged us to think outside the box and to be better than we were when we started. That is just key for life, no matter what industry you wind up in.”

“Eight weeks later,” Jennifer continues, “there we are, sitting in front of people who wanted to hire us.”

Like graduates of any CareerWork$ career readiness programs, Jennifer attended a hiring fair with our employer partners in her area with roles to fill immediately following her graduation ceremony. She received several offers, and within a month after graduating from BankWork$ she accepted a role with Bank of America as a Client Services Representative. In 2021, Jennifer was promoted to Relationship Banker.

As she continues to thrive and advance in her career in banking, Jennifer says she values the opportunity to help people improve their financial lives.

“BankWork$ is unique in that it gives people hope to turn their lives around and gives them an opportunity. It enriches people’s lives. I never would have considered this career path. But BankWork$ gave me a chance, and then the bank gave me a chance.”

Want to learn more about the BankWork$ with our partners JVS SoCal? Click here.

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CareerWork$® Welcomes Austin Aga As Its Communication and Development Specialist to Bring New Ideas and Communication Tactics to Rapidly Growing Markets.

Today, CareerWork$ announced that Austin Aga has joined the team as its first-ever Communications and Development Specialist to help support its mission to provide free career training programs across the country. Austin plans to bring new ideas and communication tactics to the rapidly growing CareerWork$ markets.

“I want to help bring the inspiring success stories of CareerWork$ graduates to life.”

Austin will be providing key support and insights by communicating directly with training partners, participants, and other team members. He will be generating content to reach the various audiences in markets where CareerWork$ operates, as well as monitoring media coverage to ensure all content stays in line with the correct strategy for their respective markets.

An Oklahoma native, Austin previously worked at the non-profit organization, Infant Crisis Services as a graphic designer. He went on to focus on communication and ran social media content for several companies throughout Oklahoma. He also attended the University of Oklahoma earning a BA in Advertising. 

As a naturally curious person, Austin is always learning about new technologies and industry landscape changes to be proactive for future opportunities. He has a deep understanding of social media content creation and distribution and will ensure all CareerWork$ social media is consistent and engaging. 

In March 2022, CareerWork$ updated its website to increase ease of understanding of its main programs, BankWork$®, CareerWork$ Medical®, and CareerWork$Ready®. Austin will also update the website and ensure its consistency with social media content.

With a heart for non-profit work. Austin hopes to showcase CareerWork$ as a place of acceptance and encouragement. “This role gives me the opportunity to help set talented people up for successful careers, and I get to work with a great team who all have a shared passion for seeing others thrive, and that’s really exciting.”

Outside of work, Austin enjoys watching movies and playing drums. He is looking forward to exploring Seattle and finding the best hiking spots in Washington. He plans on continuing to travel by visiting the various cities CareerWork$ operates to understand the local cultures.

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