JVS Congratulates Latest BankWork$™ Graduates

Photo of (L-R) BankWork$™ founder and benefactor Les Biller, graduate Carina Portillo and program Manager Lisa Meadows

April 23, 2013 – A new group of skilled and job-ready bank tellers met a roomful of recruiters as JVS recognized the latest graduates of its award-winning BankWork$™ training program.

The 40 graduates of the intensive eight-week training program included a diverse range of Angelenos , including immigrants from Honduras, Catalonia, Belize and the Philippines. Several of the graduates are bilingual and many of them have sales and/or cash handling experience with companies ranging from Home Depot to TJ Maxx to Domino’s Pizza and Baskin Robbins. JVS expects to place 150 Los Angeles BankWork$™ graduates in jobs in 2013 and another 60 in Seattle where the program also operates.

“This is an outstanding class of graduates and I know you will be falling over yourselves to hire them,” Les Biller, the program’s founder and benefactor, told representatives from BankWork$™ partnering financial institutions. To the graduates, he added, “You are all extraordinarily well prepared. I’m confident you’re going to be super successful.” 

Established in 2006, BankWork$™ trains individuals, ages 18 years old and older, for positions as bank tellers as a first step on the career ladder in the financial services industry. In addition to training, the program includes job placement assistance and ongoing coaching for career advancement. Representatives from several of the program’s 11 partnering banks and credit unions attend the graduations and interview the newly minted job seekers immediately afterwards, often hiring several of them that same day.

One of the program’s newest partners, First Entertainment Credit Union (FECU), has hired six BankWork$™ graduates since being introduced to the program one year ago. During her remarks, Linda Manship, Vice President of Branches for FECU, expressed a wish that all FECU new hires could go through BankWork$™ training.

“The guidance and education you receive is just outstanding and sets such a foundation for you to be excellent, valuable employees to the partners who are here to meet with you today,” Manship said.

Carina Portillo, an entrepreneur who holds an MBA from her home country of Catalonia, said she enrolled in BankWork$™ as a way of reintroducing herself to the financial services industry.

“The program gives you lots of confidence,” said Portillo who has also enrolled in JVS’ WoMentoring™ program. “I gained the knowledge of sales but also of working in a corporate environment.”

“For me, the biggest challenge was interviewing,” added fellow graduate Melanie Jefferson, who currently works for LegalShield™. “I didn’t realize all the facets of the interview process and how crucial they were to an employer taking you seriously.”

  After receiving their certificates of completion, the 40 graduates interviewed with recruiters from BankWork$™ partnering financial institutions including Bank of America, Citibank, City National Bank, Continental Currency, Pacific Western Bank, US Bank, Union Bank, Wells Fargo, First Entertainment Credit Union, Cathay Bank and One West Bank. Other funders include the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation and the State of California Education Training Panel (ETP).

 JVS is currently recruiting for trainees for its next BankWork$™ training session at The Expo Center near downtown LA. The program is free, but applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, speak and write English, have basic computer skills and have no adult felony convictions.

To request an application or for more information, contact Lisa Meadows at (310) 273-6633, ext. 241 or visit www.jvsla.org/bankworks.