One of the great features of our periodic JVS BankWork$™
graduations is the atmosphere of hope that hangs over the proceedings.
And why not? After eight weeks of not-so-easy training, learning the ins and outs of being a bank teller and of customer service in general, the carefully selected graduates put on their best professional suits, are handed a well-earned certificate of completion, pose for multiple pictures and are introduced by a BankWork$™ instructor via a few very flattering remarks highlighting what a great asset they will be to whatever bank decides to hire them.
Then after the praise, photos and congratulatory hugs are over, those same graduates move into another room where they meet with representatives of up to 10 banks, many of whom have actual jobs they are looking to fill.
Graduation ceremonies can get any more hopeful than that, no?
At our most recent event, we even had two past BankWork$™ graduates who have found employment with Citibank and U.S. Bank and who came back to tell the latest class how great they looked on this, their big day, and how they would all meet with great successes as well.
“You guys are in very good hands,” Khai Edwards told them. “I learned so much in this program. The most important factor is attention to detail: pulling your hair back, coming in dressed appropriately and smiling the entire time. Those things really are important, and they’re overlooked a lot by other people. If you do it, you do stand out.”
It obviously worked for Edwards. He started as a teller, is now pursuing his notary certification and will get additional education through Citibank’s tuition reimbursement program.
Jasmine Guzman struck an equally optimistic chord. “I would like to ask you ‘have you ever wondered what success feels like?’” she asked the graduates. “You’re almost there.”
Guzman graduated BankWork$™ in January of 2012. She had previously worked at Little Caesars pizza and had been eying a career in banking with the goal of moving into marketing and advertising.
Reaching this goal is a step-by-step process. In the year that she has been at US Bank, Guzman has moved from being a peak hours teller to a teller position with more hours. She is always on the lookout for ways that she can take the initiative and make her supervisors’ lives easier, and they are taking notice.
“If I have any words of wisdom for all of you I would say dress professionally, take pride in your work and always take initiative,” she told the new graduates. “Ask a lot of questions and take notes and the bankers and your supervisors will definitely like that about you.”
Guzman’s path to BankWork$™ was not an easy one. Raised by her biological mother until age 7, she was eventually placed in foster care and spent the rest of her childhood in and out of more than 20 foster and group homes. When Guzman was 24 and living in a transitional housing facility, a mentor brought BankWork$™ and JVS to her attention. Guzman, who was unemployed and had been thinking about a career in banking, thought the timing was right to pursue this dream.
Her class was small: eight total graduates and Guzman distinguished herself.
“I have almostno words to explain how grateful I am for this type of program,” she says. I have friends who are $15,000 in debt from their schooling and they’re in fields you really can’t grow. This is a field where you can. You can actually make a career out of this trade.”