By Chytania Brown
As you know, the current labor shortage and looming silver tsunami are making it increasingly difficult for businesses to hire, and keep, skilled workers. In the past year, over 4,000 job listings were posted for bank tellers across Wisconsin, showing the immense need employers have to find, screen, and train professionals who are interested in a career in the financial industry. As the Workforce Development Board serving Milwaukee County, Employ Milwaukee has been working to fill this demand through BankWork$. BankWork$ is an innovative program designed to successfully prepare low-income and minority talent for the retail banking industry, building a more equitable, prepared, and sustainable financial workforce of tomorrow.
BankWork$ was created to open doors for populations who are underrepresented in the prosperous finance industry to help them find and succeed in well-paying jobs that lead to a lasting career. BankWork$ students are often those who would otherwise not be considered a qualified candidate for positions in financial services but are passionate about stepping into the field. Participants in BankWork$ must be 18 or older, have a high school diploma, have basic computer skills, and previous cash handling and customer service experience.
Since its genesis in 2019, BankWork$ has mentored and trained over 130 graduates in financial services, with over 80% obtaining gainful employment at our partner banking institutions and credit unions upon graduation. One such student is Yesenia Delgado, a 2022 BankWork$ graduate.
After graduating from high school in Milwaukee, Yesenia Delgado was going through a difficult time in her personal life. She had a desire to work in financial services but struggled to find opportunities. After discovering an ad for BankWork$ on Facebook, Delgado knew she was on the path to achieving her dream: “I always had this goal of wanting to work at a bank, but I thought it would require a college degree, but it turns out I was wrong. After I applied for BankWork$, I got a call, and the next thing I knew, I was there doing assessments and an interview,” recalls Delgado.
For Delgado, BankWork$ was nothing short of life changing. After completing the program, Delgado was hired by BMO as a retail relationship banker, where she loves helping customers and impacting her community. When asked what drew her to the banking industry, Delgado stated, “I’m passionate about helping the Hispanic community develop financial skills. I love that I get the opportunity to help customers and be involved with my community. It’s not just a job for me — it’s a passion.”
Stories like Delgado’s are common with BankWork$ graduates. Employ Milwaukee is always looking to expand our BankWork$ employer partners, who can contribute to the expansion and efficacy of BankWork$ through monetary investments or in-kind donations including facilitating mock interviews with students, providing presentations, or assisting with curriculum. This is an investment that returns to employer partners, who receive exclusive access to interviewing and hiring our graduating classes.
If you are interested in partnering with BankWork$ and making the financial industry a more equitable place, please reach out to Jovo Potkonjak, BankWork$ program manager, directly at 414-270-1703 or at email@example.com.