Ohen Stephanie Summers sought to transition from retail to banking, she heard of a clear path to her new career. This pathway was the BankWork$ program supported by Olympia Federal Savings (OlyFed).
“My mom worked at the Timberland Regional Library,” says Summers. “She came home waving the flyer and saying, ‘It’s free!
The BankWork$ program began in 2006 in Los Angeles and has now expanded to 80 banks, including OlyFed in the South Sound. OlyFed began supporting BankWork$ in 2021. The program teaches skills needed by tellers, customer service representatives and bankers. He provides interview and resume coaching, job placement assistance, and ongoing coaching support.
Summers is now a customer service representative at the West Olympia OlyFed branch, having graduated from BankWork$ in 2020. “I just wanted a career,” says Summers. “I just wanted to put my foot down. I want to go in and close the door behind me.”
BankWork$ instructor Shelley McHugh and career navigator Sara Sheldon split the chores while working at the Career Services office in Lakewood. With COVID-19, there is now a hybrid of in-person and online courses. They also held a course at the WorkSource office in Thurston County and might do it again.
Sheldon says the hands-on course not only teaches students the fundamentals of banking, but also helps them find other resources to help reduce barriers to getting and keeping a job. These resources include interview clothing, bus passes, access to a Chrome book, daycare assistance, and other support services.
McHugh says that as a sponsoring institution, OlyFed helped students get started. “OlyFed has done a very good job,” she says. “They do mock interviews, speak in class and share their stories.”
Students should be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, be fluent in English (bilingual and multilingual individuals are encouraged to apply), and have basic computer skills. “They can go as far as they want with a high school diploma,” McHugh says. “They can promote from within.”
After graduation, OlyFed and others sponsor banks and credit unions who conduct real interviews for their vacancies.
McHugh says the program may also open doors to banking jobs in other states. “Our program is recognized by the Washington Bankers Association,” she says. “It’s an important tool, for example, if you’re moving to Arkansas. A bank will recognize the endorsement.
Teaching modules in the eight-week program cover professionalism in the workplace, financial services fundamentals including banking regulations, working with clients, interview techniques and CVs. “We’re really trying to prepare people for the job,” McHugh says.
The program accelerates the success of its graduates, including increasing their earnings, employment rate, and lifetime earnings. Eighty percent of graduates are people of color and 53% of participants are bilingual or multilingual. “We’re trying to reach people who don’t see themselves working in a bank,” adds McHugh.
OlyFed human resources generalist Diedre Michie is a fan of BankWork$. She says it opens the eyes of potential workers to the world of banking. “We share with the student the background of OlyFed’s culture and hiring practices,” she says. “We help them understand the bank.” She says students come from a variety of backgrounds before entering BankWork$. “Their experiences really vary,” she says. “Some have had a few jobs, others have had careers and are looking for a change.”
Michie says that because OlyFed promotes heavily from within, someone looking to enter banking will be well served to go through BankWork$ as the first step on a career ladder that could lead to more. “Our CEO started out as a receptionist,” she says. “We brought in people as tellers and are now assistant managers, bank managers and members of our management team. It’s a career path.
Summers says she had been trying to get into banking for years. That’s why she says signing up for BankWork$ wasn’t just exciting, it also prepared her for her job as a customer representative at OlyFed. “I was really prepared with BankWork$,” she says. “I saw that it worked like a zipper. It was really a smooth transition and all of my training matched the skills and experience needed for my new career. »
If you want to sign up or support BankWork$, check out this website.
Olympia Federal Savings
Olympia city center
421 Capitol Road S
2420 Harrison Avenue N.W.