“I absolutely love my new career”: Graduate Jennette Wooley on How BankWork$ Opened Doors to Opportunity

 

To tell my story, I have to start with where I was 12 years ago. I was a person who was lost and just starting my recovery process from addiction. I was given a second chance at Goodwill. I took that opportunity, starting as a Sales Associate and worked hard to become a Store Manager of an Outlet Store. My story with the BankWork$ program starts when I made the decision to leave my 11-year career at Goodwill, not because I disliked my job, but because I loved my job. I knew I had to go to grow to become a better me. 

In January 2020, I was in a Goodwill manager’s meeting and  learned about the BankWork$ program. I felt this ping inside of me and wondered if this program was for me. A few weeks later, I interviewed a candidate for a Sales Associate position at Goodwill. The candidate brought her daughter to translate and through the conversation, I found out her daughter was a BankWork$ graduate. I was excited to learn more. She told me about the job fair at the end of the program and how BankWork$ continues support far beyond graduation from the program. That night, I researched about the program. I learned that a banking career would allow me to do what I love; working with people and, even better, a college degree wasn’t a requirement to launch a career in banking. BankWork$ is a program that helps people find careers,not just another job.  

Then, March 2020 became a time of uncertainty in the world. Through this uncertainty, I was afraid but most of all I was given courage to continue with my dream to change my life and my career.  

I started in the BankWork$ program in July 2020. Because of COVID-19, our class looked different than all the prior sessions; the class size was smaller, and we had to wear masks and socially distance. Those eight weeks of class work and homework prepared me for a career. I learned the fundamentals of banking such as regulations, managing a cash drawer in a banking environment, and bank products and services.  

When I would feel my most vulnerable and scared, the BankWork$ team would step in to support me, provide guidance and assure me that I had what it would take to find placement in the job I was meant to have. I remember the day I applied for a position with Academy Bank.  When I was given the opportunity to talk with the hiring manager, we had a 30 minute interview. y the end of the conversation, I had an offer with an organization I felt valued me and offered endless opportunities.  When I received my offer letter I was shocked, scared, and excited all at the same time. I called my instructor and remember leaving her a message of excitement and happiness. I was crying and remember thinking “They believe in me; I believe in me!”

I started my banking career in October 2020 as a part time teller. I absolutely love my new career; all the learning, getting to know people, the laughs and the feelings of pride. Every time I walk away from my computer at work, I hear my BankWork$ instructors in my head telling me to get a routine and demonstrating the motion of pulling on two cash drawers and locking the computer! I see this vision daily. It’s true that BankWork$ won’t abandon you. They have been here every step of the way.

Since starting with Academy Bank, I have already moved from part time to a full time Universal Banker position with a raise in pay.  I mentioned earlier that I had researched the BankWork$ program before applying.  What I didn’t find through my research was that this program would change me as a person. That I’d have more love in my heart and have a better perspective on what life is about. ThatI would have to dig deep into my heart and believe in myself and become vulnerable to the process that has formed me today.  Because of BankWork$, I’m truly a better person.