JVS BankWork$™ wins LABJ Nonprofit Award, Graduates Latest Class

Photo - JVS BankWork$™ Program Manager Lisa Meadows and Sean Foley, Regional Chairman & Executive Vice President, Commercial Banking for US Bank

July 2, 2013 -- On the same day that JVS BankWork$™ training program puts its 37th class of qualified tellers through graduation and sent them to waiting recruiters from partnering banks, program administrators learned that BankWork$™ had won the Project Collaboration Award at the 2013 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.”

Now in its sixth year, BankWork$™ prepares job seekers for entry level positions in banking as a first step on the career ladder in the financial services industry. Thanks to the generosity of more than 10 partners from the banking and nonprofit world, this intensive eight-week course has produced more than 650 graduates and seen a placement rate of 80% and a retention rate after six months of 80%. 

Many of the trainees have overcome multiple barriers to employment including living in extreme poverty, limited education and work experience. Several have come from the foster care system or are single parents struggling to make it on their own. Others are newly arrived immigrants and have overcome language and cultural barriers.

“Despite these challenges, after eight weeks, our trainees have the skills to launch themselves on an exciting new career path, and we couldn’t be more proud of each and every one of them,” said BankWork$™ Program Manager Lisa Meadows. “This would not be possible without the help of our partners. We greatly appreciate recognition from the Los Angeles Business Journal of a program and a partnership that works so successfully.”

Partners include Bank of America, Citibank, City National Bank, First Entertainment Credit Union, Continental Currency Services, Pacific Western Bank, Union Bank, US Bank, Cathay Bank, and Wells Fargo. Additional funding partners include United Way, the State of California Employment Training Panel and the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation.

 The latest class of 27 BankWork$™ trainees graduated in front of friends and family at EXPO Center. They included a single mother trying to provide a better life for her two young children, a refugee from Kazakhstan and Steven Williams, a young man so determined to become a teller that he has been trying for three years to get into the program. After moving to San Diego and acquiring the cash handling skills through work with the Navy Lodge, he returned to Los Angeles, joined the program and was among the class’s top students, according to Meadows. Williams emerged from graduation with three job offers, she added.

Also in attendance at the graduation was program co-founder and former Wells Fargo COO Les Biller and alumni speaker Alicia Robinson who returned to address the graduates after a year working successfully at Wells Fargo. Robinson graduated from BankWork$™ in the summer of 2012.

“There are three milestone events in my life that have most impacted and shaped me,” Robinsion said. “One was getting married, the second was having my baby and the third is graduating from JVS’ BankWork$™ training program!