Sara Vega, a 27-year old first-generation college graduate, struggled to get her foot in the door to a full time job after graduating from college in 2012. SER’s Bankwork$ training program helped Sara unlock her potential, and break through a professional wall into a long-term career.
Growing up in a modest, working-class household, Sara was compelled to set a good example for her 4 younger brothers.
“[During] my last semester in college, I challenged myself by continuing to work part time, taking six core classes, and held an internship all with in the same semester” said Sara. “I want to make my family proud.”
In December 2012, Sara became the first person in her family to graduate from college when she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communications & Rhetoric from Houston Baptist University.
After investing years of studying and thousands of dollars into a college degree, most students would expect to have plenty of job offers waiting for them once college is over. Unfortunately many find that it takes more than just a degree to start a career, like Sara.
“I wasn’t disappointed of where I was at the time after my [college] graduation,” said Sara. “But I knew that I wanted a change.”
Sara worked several part-time retail jobs to help out with the family’s financial needs, but never lost sight of her goals of becoming debt-free and launching a long-term career.
“I want to become financially independent to where I do not have to depend on my parents for income” said Sara. “I have my own [responsibilities] that need to be taken care of and with the help of a full time position, becoming debt free would be more realistic.”
In order to pursue her goal further, Sara sought help from SER. After hearing reviews from close friends, Sara believed SER could help set her apart during her job search. She wanted to find a program that would help her learn aspects of financial literacy and be able to give her on-the-job experience.
“[Part of the reason] Sara was selected for the BankWork$ program was because she had pursued banking jobs on her own… she had interviewed, but couldn’t get seem to land a job,” said Jose Velez, SER BankWork$ Instructor. “She seemed really approachable, smart, considerate, and hardworking. Like if she had the opportunity, she could really do something.”
“On paper, I had the knowledge employers were seeking, but I lacked the real world experience that is required for most jobs,” said Sara.
While in the BankWork$ program, the lessons and instructors helped mold her in to a better candidate by developing and enhancing her soft skills to become more personable to future clients.
“Previously, she didn’t understand how important the personality piece was in an interview,” said Jose. “She had great experience and the patience of a saint… One of the best students in class, in terms of knowledge. We just had to help her show ‘Sara’ a little bit.”
Since the completion of the program, Sara shared that the program has given her a great deal of confidence and courage to apply herself without hesitation. And it paid off.
On April 27th, Sara will start her new career with Wells Fargo as a Teller.
“As a teller, I will be able to actively listen to my customers, seek out their problems, and tailor their needs with the products and services my company has to offer,” said Sara.
But that’s just the start.
“At the retail bank level, I would love to be a personal banker or a branch manager,” said Sara. “After I establish myself with Wells Fargo and grow that career, I do want to go back to school and possibly move more into their corporate arena.”
Sara continues to raise the bar for herself (and her brothers), relentlessly working toward her goals, and offered some sage advice:
“Apply yourself,” said Sara. “Don’t allow other people’s opinions and limitations influence the choices of your life. No matter how long or how far your journey takes you, you can do it.”