Largest Class of Bankwork$™ Students Will Graduate on Wednesday Ready For Careers in Financial Industry

By Nonprofit Marketing ArizonaAugust 28, 2017

The largest class of students enrolled in BankWork$™, a program to help men and women improve their career opportunities by preparing for jobs in the financial industry, will graduate on Wednesday, Aug. 30. The ceremony will take place from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the Wells Fargo Connections building, 100 W. Washington in Phoenix.  A hiring event will follow graduation ceremonies.

The students -- representing more than a dozen communities in the Valley and Casa Grande -- completed the 8-week, 160-hour program following classes in Central Phoenix and in Mesa.

BankWork$™, a program of Arizona Women’s Education & Employment (AWEE), is funded by financial institutions throughout the Valley and founders, The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation. After Wednesday’s ceremony, 118 men and women will have graduated from the program, students “who made a decision to find a career path that moves them out of lower-paying jobs with little or no upward potential,” said AWEE BankWork$ Supervisor Laura Fisher.

Applications for the next series of classes, which begin Sept. 18, are now being accepted by calling(602) 601-7218 or at  Application deadline is Sept. 8.  Graduation is scheduled on Nov. 9. The program is free to participants and classes meet Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Of 92 previous graduates, 63 have been hired at either post-graduation job fairs or subsequent interviews.

Graduates from the Central Phoenix classes, and their hometowns, are: Vasana Ramachandran, Phoenix; Tracy Thomas, Phoenix; Briana Cauffman, Glendale; Kavon Tillman, Phoenix; Nora Munoz, Tolleson; Anel Herrera, Phoenix; Edgar Portillo, Phoenix; Kathryn Miles, Phoenix; Alex Tomlin, Waddell; Leslie Ybarra, Phoenix; Nanette Wilkerson, Phoenix; Terin Cronkright, Peoria; Tana Gray, Phoenix; Sharlisa Harris, Tolleson; Melissa Vasquez, Phoenix; Chandra Wahjudi, Phoenix; Heather Tauson, Sun City; William Shown, Buckeye; Selamawit Araia, Phoenix; and Therese Anderson, Phoenix.

Graduates from the Mesa classes, and their hometowns, are: Farhana Ahmed, Gilbert; Katelyn Andrich, Chandler; Hope Carson, Phoenix; Irma Jimenez, Casa Grande; Nikita Khadgi, Scottsdale; Julie Moreta, Mesa; Lanefertiti Perkins, Phoenix; and Diana Mata, Chandler.

AWEE launched the program in 2015 in partnership with BankWork$™ and local financial institution partners to deepen its long-time work with adults from low-income and minority communities and those with barriers to employment.

The eight-week class provides training in the skills needed for jobs as tellers, customer service representatives and personal bankers. 

BankWork$™ also offers resume building, job interview practice, job placement assistance and ongoing coaching and mentoring to help with career advancement. Participants must be 18 years or older, have a high school diploma or GED, be fluent in written and spoken English, have basic computer skills and no adult felony convictions.

BankWork$™ launched in 2006 in Los Angeles and, by 2019 will be operating in 15 or more cities nationwide. Its $4-million national expansion is funded by Bank of America, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, which have each pledged $1 million over five years to support the rollout, and by The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, which founded the program and has also pledged $1 million.

Since its launch, more than 800 BankWork$™ graduates have been hired by banks and other financial institutions. 

BankWork$™ achieves a graduation rate of approximately 75% and is placing approximately 70% of graduates with partner banks each year.

For more information about BankWork$™, visit  For more information about AWEE, visit Follow AWEE BankWork$™ online at