Employer Partner Spotlight: Harborstone Credit Union: “We want our branches to reflect our communities.”

Our national and local employer partners have always been instrumental in the development of the BankWork$ program and actively support its expansion. They fund and participate in BankWork$ trainings and ensure that participants receive current, relevant, and industry-leading information.

Every day and coast-to-coast, we work with financial services partners to expand our reach.

Harborstone Credit Union is one of them. Based in Tacoma, Washington, Harborstone is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization with 14 branches across the Puget Sound region.

Since 2012, Harborstone has been a strong BankWork$ employer and partner working with our local training partners, Career Path Services, Inc. and YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish. For Harborstone, being a partner has meant not just supporting the program’s operations, but “being an active participant with individual cohorts,” says Connor Lewis, Harborstone’s VP Talent Management and Development. Harborstone brings in leaders and high performers from across the organization to do mock interviews with BankWork$ students. Immediately following the interview, they provide each student feedback on ways to improve and strengths to highlight in future interviews. And they have a Human Resources representative at every graduation.

Since 2018, Harborstone has hired 10 BankWork$ graduates in King and Pierce Counties.

Harborstone recruits aggressively from the BankWork$ program for two key reasons, says Lewis: The organization’s need for knowledgeable team members, and its focus on advancing equity.

BankWork$ students have “a skill set and knowledge set that is immediately applicable to what we do.” Hiring recent BankWork$ graduates allows Harborstone to “recruit talent with baseline knowledge that we can build upon. We pride ourselves on having the most knowledgeable team members.”

At the same time, its shared value of equity also drives its support of BankWork$.

BankWork$ graduates are a “diverse group of people that enriches the experience within our credit union and helps us connect with the communities we serve. We want our branches to reflect our communities,” says Lewis. “We want to make sure that through our lens of financial empowerment, we can level the playing field.”

Through its partnership with BankWork$, Harborstone can “work with and build relationships with people we may not otherwise get to work with.”

Lewis encourages all financial services partners to find ways to actively partner with the cohorts.

“Look where you can add value, and where you can help and serve,” like sharing best practices and real-life application of what students learn in their eight-week program.

And once you do hire a BankWork$ student, find ways to stay in touch with them and check in regularly to develop an ongoing coaching process to support their journey in their new career.

“Their skills and experiences make us stronger, and we want them to succeed.”