One of WBA's primary goals for this year is to continue developing the young leaders of our industry. By equipping them with the tools and training they need to be successful, we help set up the entire banking industry for success. To that end, WBA has devoted time and resources to several ongoing programs.
One of the most well-known is BOLT (Building Our Leaders of Tomorrow), and it has been a great program for this effort. Those future leaders will be the difference-makers as our banks and our industry evolve. We must remain open to new ideas and different ways of doing business as we develop the next generation of bankers.
Another program that helps to develop the talent pool of bankers is the BankWork$ program in Milwaukee. WBA invested in the inaugural class and we're now seeing the benefits. The Milwaukee program is the fastest growing of the 11 cities in which BankWork$ hosts courses, expanding from eight graduates in the first cohort to 22 participating students in the second, which ran July 2 - Aug. 28. In addition, the Wisconsin Performance Advisory Committee's Credential Workgroup has issued a formal determination that the BankWork$ certificate meets the standards of a WIOA credential. The credential is considered an Occupational Skills Certificate, which now allows those collecting unemployment to use this training as a waiver for job search. This credential validates BankWork$ in Wisconsin as an effective workforce development program.
Finally, the association has developed a new education program to empower our industry's current and future leaders to take charge of their careers despite the challenges they face. Designed specifically for bankers with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and roles within their institution, the WBA Diversity in Banking Conference: Empowering Your Career will be held Oct. 10 in Madison. It's also part of a larger effort to increase visibility and networking opportunities for Wisconsin's diverse community of bankers. Watch this column and WBA's other publications for more information.
Our industry is tested every day as the pace of change—both within and outside of financial services—continues to accelerate. I'm confident the association's efforts to develop tomorrow's leaders, combined with the ongoing efforts I know many of WBA's member banks are already engaged in, will help us rise to meet those challenges.
Meloy is CEO of First Business Bank, Madison and WBA Chair.