Bankwork$™ Places 1,000 Graduates in Financial Services Jobs

December 16, 2015 | Ranko Fukuda | 818-649-7616



The free training program partners with Bank of America, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and others to provide a pathway to financial services industry careers for low-income young adults 

LOS ANGELES, December 16, 2015 – BankWork$™, an eight-week free training program that places low-income young adults and those with barriers to employment in jobs in the financial services industry, announced today that it has placed its 1,000th graduate. 

“Clearly the program works. These jobs are stepping stones to a rewarding career in the financial services industry,” said Colleen Anderson, Executive Director at BankWork$™. “Les Biller, retired Chief Operating Officer of Wells Fargo & Co., created BankWork$™ in 2006 because he believed that every successful person has been helped by someone who opened a door for him or her at some point in their career. We’ve now opened 1,000 doors for these young adults and we have thousands more to go.” 

BankWork$™ graduates have developed a reputation for loyalty in an industry plagued by high turnover. Eighty-seven percent of BankWork$™ graduates remain employed six months after hire and 72 percent are still there on their one year anniversary. 

“By virtue of successfully completing a rigorous eight week program, BankWork$™ graduates have proven to themselves and future employers that they have what it takes to succeed in a lasting career in banking.” said John Sotoodeh, Executive Vice President and Regional Bank Executive of Wells Fargo's Southwest region. “We have hired well-trained and highly qualified BankWork$™ graduates in every one of the markets where the program currently operates and many of them continue to see their careers progress due in part to the opportunities and experience this program offers.” 

For BankWork$™ graduates, the program provides a pathway to career opportunities in the financial services industry by equipping them with the hard and soft skills needed to become qualified candidates for in-demand jobs such as bank tellers, customer service representatives and personal bankers. 

“We give our graduates more than the fundamentals of banking by focusing on sales and customer service skills and preparing them to succeed in a corporate culture, but what is most thrilling for me are the calls I get from former students telling me how we have utterly transformed their lives,” said Lisa Meadows of JVS Los Angeles, who developed the BankWork$ curriculum. 

“After struggling to seek out my professional dreams for four years, I decided to try the BankWork$™ program. One week after graduation, I was offered two positions and began working at Bank of America,” said Dominique Satterwhite, Bank of America personal banker and BankWork$™ graduate from Los Angeles in 2013. “I started out as a teller and was quickly promoted to personal banker. I couldn’t have asked for better preparation for my new career.” 

“I always wanted to have a career, not just a job,” said Liudmyla Evans of U.S. Bank in Seattle. “BankWork$ helped me learn things about banking and gain some experience. I knew that it would definitely help me to get a ‘foot in the door.’ Mercedes (the instructor) taught us how to build trust, how to be a team player, how to look and what to do to meet your goals and become successful. After being a peak-time teller for less than a year, I applied for the universal banker position and was given the chance, because I was working hard and had been recognized for providing excellent customer service." 

Bank of America, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation have each pledged $1 million to support a national rollout that will bring the BankWork$™ program to more than 15 markets over five years. The national expansion goal is to place 1,200 to 1,500 graduates annually in financial services industry positions by 2019. 

About BankWork$™ 
BankWork$™ was started in 2006 in Los Angeles by The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation in partnership with regional workforce development leader JVS Los Angeles. The program currently has operations in Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Phoenix and Portland, OR. As part of a five-year, $4-million national expansion in partnership with Bank of America, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, the program will expand to Houston, Denver and Chicago in 2016 and to more than 15 markets by 2019. For more information, see # # #

What People are Saying:

  • I had the honor of being hired by a bank sponsor of this life-changing program. Before I hit my six-month mark, I was awarded ‘Teller of the Month,’ and before my first anniversary, I was promoted to Lead Teller. I've regularly been among the top three in my district for sales and I see endless opportunities for my career. But most important, my children and I are finally safe, free and happy.Ruby Bates, Seattle BankWork$ graduate from 2012

  • We developed BankWork$ to open a door for young people from low income and minority communities to help them find and succeed in well-paying jobs that can lead to a lasting career. Every successful person has been helped by someone who opened a door for him or her at some point in their career. We wanted to do that for people who would not otherwise have found their way into banking. And at the same time we are providing our partner banks with well-trained and highly qualified candidates who happen to be from underserved communities.Les Biller, Founder, BankWork$ and Former COO, Wells Fargo
    Founding Trustee, The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation

  • Bank of America looks for a variety of ways to build a pipeline of diverse talent. BankWork$ has developed an innovative way to introduce a career in banking to people from inner city communities and we are proud to be a part of extending the program across the country. Michael Sherman, Head of Global Staffing at Bank of America

  • The impact that BankWork$ has had on the Southern California community is enormous. This program does more that just provide a service, it provides people with a future.Lisa Meadows, JVS SoCal Director of BankWork$

  • The banking industry is always in search of the best talent. BankWork$ graduates are unique because they arrive on the job ready to go from day one, and they are committed to this industry. The program is able to provide candidates from a diverse set of backgrounds, and that's important to the banks.William Fanter, Senior Vice President, U.S. Bank and BankWork$ Advisory Board Member

  • The common phrase that when a window closes, a door opens, best describes my experience in the BankWork$ program. BankWork$ is a door to opportunity and success. I gained valuable industry knowledge and skills, while building a professional network with some of the best banks in the nation.Azza Ahmed, Senior Service Officer at Bank of the West and BankWork$ Denver graduate

  • We are proud to partner with Goodwill Industries of Denver and the BankWork$ program here in the Denver metro area. BankWork$ is a proven way to provide access to long-term and rewarding careers in banking, and we are thrilled to be a part of its success in helping individuals build strong futures for themselves and their families.Stephanie Tedy, Bank of the West Community Affairs Regional Officer

  • As long-time supporters of BankWork$ we are so thankful for the work they do to strengthen local communities. By providing life-changing, career opportunities for hard-working people, BankWork$ helps to provide us qualified candidates that help us serve the financial needs of our diverse communities. Tracy Curtis, North Oregon Region President, Wells Fargo and BankWork$ Advisory Board Member

  • We have been so impressed by BankWork$ in Philadelphia with the Philadelphia OIC that we're already looking for ways to bring the program to other parts of Pennsylvania. The BankWork$ program provides cutting-edge resources to support our members in recruiting a diverse and bank-ready pool of entry-level candidates.Duncan Campbell, Pennsylvania Banker's Association President and CEO