JVS BankWork$™ Graduates Latest Class -- Partner U.S. Bank Makes Check Presentation

July 16, 2014 – A group of 35 trainees took their first steps into an exciting new career in the financial industry as the latest class of JVS BankWork$™ graduated the agency’s innovative eight-week training program at EXPO Center.

The 45th and 46th BankWork$ graduating classes bring the total number of graduates to more than 800 and more than 650 placements in the program’s seven year history, prompting JVS COO Claudia Finkel to remark upon the importance of being part of the program’s legacy for graduates and program supporters alike.

“All of you who are here today make this possible,” said Finkel. “The collaboration and the connectivity make this possible.”

Darrell Brown, U.S. Bank’s Senior Vice President Consumer Banking, presented JVS with a check for $25,000 reaffirming a partnership between the two organizations that began nearly 20 years ago. To date, U.S. Bank has hired 42 BankWork$ students and donated nearly $175,000 to support the work of JVS.

“BankWork$ students tend to have a culture of individual thinking. They’re strategic and they embrace innovation, creativity and a willingness to move beyond where they are with a degree of passion that’s unique,” said Brown. “JVS plants a seed that awakens that sleeping giant within these graduates in ways that pull my heart strings. The end result is their value in servicing customers.”

BankWork$ alumni Janelle Kennedy also addressed the newly graduated class. During her year working at U.S. Bank, Kennedy has become a top teller and recipient of multiple customer satisfaction accolades.

Before taking BankWork$, Kennedy – the single parent of a 4-year-old son – said she tried pursuing a career in banking without success.

“BankWork$ has really helped me grow as a person. Everything they have taught me has helped me in my career,” Kennedy said. ”I thank BankWork$ and U.S. Bank for helping me provide a better life for me and my son.”

BankWork$™ prepares job seekers for positions as bank tellers as a first step on the career ladder in the financial services industry. This intensive eight-week program offers job training, job placement assistance and ongoing coaching for career advancement. Immediately following the graduation, the trainees move to a job fair with recruiters from the partnering banks, many of whom have actual jobs to fill. BankWork$ 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 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.

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 Award. The Project Collaboration Award recognizes “a collaborative project that encompasses involvement of multiple stakeholders in the community, engagement of the community being served and the innovation in approaching a community problem or issue.”

Evan Henerson, Media Relations Manager

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