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Adrian Byrd

Adrian Byrd, 18, was a recent high school graduate with nowhere to go afterwards.  Adrian attended Bellaire High School Fall 2012 until his senior year of high school. Due to family circumstances at the time, Adrian had to move to North Houston with his uncle and attend Klein Forest High School for his senior year.


In order to pay for his senior expenses, Adrian had to pick up a part time position at his neighborhood Kroger, where he worked after school and on the weekends. Adrian, like many recent graduates, wanted to pursue college, but didn’t know what he wanted his career to be -- he knew he wanted much more for himself than just a temporary job.


After summer 2016, Adrian moved in with his mother in Pasadena, TX and accepted a position at Whataburger that paid more than what he was earning at Kroger. Within months of employment, Adrian was promoted to a supervisory role with mixed emotions.


“I didn’t like the very low ceiling of opportunity,” said Adrian. “I was there for 6 months and [they] wanted me to be one of [their] future managers… I made supervisor after my 2nd month. I was thinking to myself ‘what’s next’? After I make manager, that’s pretty much it. It gets old very quickly.”

“I really didn’t enjoy it that much,” said Adrian. “When I started banking with Wells Fargo and I asked the teller one day ‘what is it like working here’? The [Teller] was like ‘I really like it and everything’ and she told me she was in school. She was telling me about how they pay a large percent of your tuition and she was telling me quick benefits of working with Wells Fargo. I tried to apply for Wells Fargo, but I didn’t pass the exam.”

After telling his mother about the conversation he had with the teller at Wells Fargo, she encouraged him to seek out banking classes through local community colleges.

“I was trying to get into the HCC program, but I saw the one for SER,” said Adrian. “It said it was free. I thought it was a joke, so I called and left a voicemail and waited for a call back.”

The next day, Adrian received a call from Jose Velez, SER BankWork$ Instructor and Workforce Development Lead, requesting an interview for the upcoming training class.

“At first, when he said he was going to do call backs, I thought I wasn’t going to get accepted into the program,” said Adrian. “I saw a few people who interviewed and everyone was dressed nice--I had on a basic shirt and some pants from Walmart.”

Although doubtful of his interviewing style, Adrian, was accepted into the January 2017 BankWork$ training class.

“I was shocked because I didn’t believe in myself that I could have made it,” said Adrian. “I think the class was very structured…Jose went into a lot of detail with a lot of stuff. I think everyone got along. I was the youngest…I was the goofiest.”

As much as Adrian wanted to dedicate all of his time to the BankWork$ program, he continued to work at Whataburger. During his time in the program, Adrian’s daily commute became a financial burden—every day, Adrian used Uber to get to training, costing him an average of $30/day, roundtrip. But Adrian was dedicated.

“During the class, when I would speak, I would laugh,” said Adrian. “I get nervous in front of people. For some strange reason [Jose] kind of dug that out of me. When I got up there that day, I spoke clearly…I wasn’t moving or fidgeting and I wasn’t nervous. The whole day I couldn’t stop smiling. I really liked it.”

As Adrian progressed through the 8-week BankWork$ course, he noticed that he was not the same person he was when he entered the program – he matured.

“I was a lot more unfiltered before,” said Adrian. “I didn’t know how to transition my speech to talk to other people, I wasn’t outspoken. I learned how to hold back when it’s not your time to speak. There are certain times when I should be laughing, and there are times when I should not. I learned how to gauge the crowd. I learned to be more confident.”

Immediately after graduating from the program, Adrian used the tools gained in BankWork$ to interview with the several employer partners present at the post-graduation hiring event.

In May, Adrian accepted his first-ever professional position as a part-time Teller with J.P. Morgan Chase Bank.


“I struggled with being shy and stuff,” said Adrian. “What [Jose] taught me was ‘if you want the job, you got to go out there and talk with the people’. I was proud of myself. I got to see how far I’ve grown-- you get to see the doors open up for you when you do things.”

“I like it a lot. It gives me a peace of mind knowing that my actions can influence others [and] because I’m in AC pretty much all day…it’s not like at Kroger’s pushing baskets in the heat,” said Adrian.

Once Adrian settles into his new role at Chase, he plans on enrolling at San Jacinto College to pursue general education courses. Afterwards, he would like to pursue a career in Psychology at the University of Houston.

Adrian is starting to save and planning for the future. In his spare time, Adrian would love to continue his passion for music production.

“I really want to invest my money into stocks, get a bigger savings account, and get a Dodge Charger or Challenger,” said Adrian. “I want a big house when I get older too…I really want to donate to SER to create opportunities.”

“You can never dream too big. Anything I really want, I will go through hell to get.”

“Take all the information you can while it’s free,” Adrian advised. “Also, don’t be afraid to network --shake hands. Go in with your guns blazing.”