JVS BankWork$™ Celebrates 50th Graduating Class and Broadens Partnership with Banc of California

January 8, 2015 -- JVS BankWork$™, the award-winning program that prepares individuals for first-step careers in the financial industry, reached a milestone, graduating its 50th class in the program’s nearly eight-year history. At a graduation ceremony held at the L.A. EXPO Center, BankWork$ also welcomed a new partner, Banc of California, and recognized their generous financial commitment to the program.

The 25 students who received their course completion certificates were among the nearly 900 students that have graduated the program. Within these cohorts, more than 700 have been placed in positions at banks and financial institutions throughout Southern California.

“I look at your faces, and I know you’re going to be the next vice presidents and the next regional managers and the next supervisors,” JVS Chief Operating Officer Claudia Finkel told the graduating class. “We have given you all the tools you need to succeed and now it’s up to you to use that information to the best of your ability.”

Under the leadership of Associate Director Lisa Meadows, BankWork$ prepares job seekers for positions as bank tellers as a first step on the career ladder in the financial services industry.  This intensive eight-week program offers job training, job placement assistance and ongoing coaching for career advancement. Immediately following the graduation, the trainees move to a job fair with recruiters from the partnering banks, many of whom have open positions to fill. BankWork$ graduates are often hired on the day of their graduation or shortly thereafter. 

Many of the trainees have overcome multiple barriers to employment including living in extreme poverty as well as limited education and work experience. Several past graduates have come from the foster care system or are single parents struggling to earn an independent living. Others are newly arrived immigrants and have overcome significant language and cultural barriers.  Some trainees commuted more than 100 miles round-trip from as far away as Antelope Valley, San Bernardino and Rancho Cucamonga for the eight-week course.

The commute was entirely worth making, said Sharon Hesse of Long Beach who enrolled in BankWork$ seeking to enter the world of finance after spending more than 10 years as a piano teacher.

“BankWork$ is an amazing program,” said Hesse. “It was very condensed and it felt longer than eight weeks in a good way. I have taken classes at Cal State University, Long Beach and at several community colleges. Lisa Meadows was one of the best instructors I have ever had.”

The partnership with Banc of California expands the bank’s strategic relationship with JVS.  In April, Banc of California Chief Executive Officer Steven A. Sugarman was the keynote speaker at JVS 16thAnnual Strictly Business L.A. Awards Luncheon and Networking event.  In the summer of 2014, Banc of California hired its first BankWork$ graduate – Patrice Mayes - and became a strategic partner and sponsor to the program.

“BanksWork$ helps those with barriers to employment secure the tools they need for a meaningful career within our industry,” said Sugarman. “Both Banc of California and JVS seek to bring positive change to the communities we serve. We are very proud to be a program sponsor.”

Krysta Roberto, Banc of California’s Assistant Vice President and Director of Talent Acquisition, spoke at the BankWork$ 50th graduating class ceremony.

“You can tell when candidates are hungry, prepared, and take to heart all the training and education that they receive,” said Roberto, adding, “As Banc of California continues to expand and become California’s bank we will continue to reach out to BankWork$ graduates as they are the type of motivated and smart employee we want on our team.”

In addition to Banc of California, BankWork$ partners include Bank of America, City National Bank, the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks/EXPO Center, Continental Currency, the Marcled Foundation, the Michael and Irene Ross Endowment Fund, Pacific Western Bank, the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, the State of California Employment Training Panel, the Pfaffinger Foundation, the State of California Employment Development Department, Union Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. 

In 2013, JVS BankWork$ won the Project Collaboration Award at the Los Angeles Business Journal (LABJ) Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards. The Project Collaboration Award recognizes, “a project that encompasses involvement of multiple stakeholders in the community, engagement of the community being served, and innovation in approaching a community problem or issue.”

January 8, 2015