Opening Doors to Meaningful Careers

“Without meaningful work, we sense significant inner loss and emptiness. People who are cut off from work because of physical or other reasons quickly discover how much they need work to thrive emotionally, physically and spiritually.”
– Tim Keller, Every Good Endeavor

Helping young people thrive through meaningful employment is the mission of CareerWork$, a west coast based workforce development program now operating 13 sites in 10 states. Using a vibrant partnership model, CareerWork$ seeks to bring generational change to low income communities by offering three career training initiatives: BankWork$®, CareerWork$ Medical®, and CareerWork$® Ready, at no cost to participants.

BankWork$ prepares qualifying participants for entry-level positions in financial services while CareerWork$ Medical focuses on nonclinical positions in the healthcare sector. “Developing the programs with an industry focus enables our team to enhance the curriculum and develop vital employer partners,” explains Program Director Ranko Fukuda.

CareerWork$ Ready is a virtual job readiness program created during the initial COVID lockdown that covers proven principles in workplace professionalism.

Integrating EASy Simulations® into Job Readiness Initiatives

The desire to optimize every touchpoint in the eight-week BankWork$ program inspired the team to consider job simulations (typically used in an organization’s hiring process). Ms. Fukuda explains, “In training, we thoroughly explore the positions most likely to be available for future employment and growth, emphasizing the skills needed to succeed. When we became aware of Employment Technologies’ EASy Simulation for Universal Bankers, we realized the students could actually experience a day on the job. Also, the simulation requires the students to interact with virtual customers, which further helps them understand what’s actually involved with customer service.”

BankWork$ instructors confirmed the simulation’s relevancy. “Our course instructors primarily come from the banking industry so we asked them to take the assessment and offer feedback. They were very complimentary and could definitely relate to the variety of scenarios in the simulation,” said Ms. Fukuda.

Based on the positive impact of the Universal Banker simulation, program leaders were eager to explore additional innovations. To help sharpen a participant’s writing skills, Employment Technologies’ SkilTrak simulation is now being used in the other programs. “With today’s emphasis on text messaging, a surprising number of young people are rusty when it comes to writing a business email,” said Ms. Fukuda.

A benefit to both simulations is the performance report generated for each participant. The skills-based scores are benchmarked against top performers in the respective industry. “These reports help make a path to success very clear. We position the simulations so that the results help motivate and focus the students during the remaining course time,” said Ms. Fukuda.

“I truly believe that one of the responsibilities of  a workforce training provider is to use all available means to help adult students determine if they are on the right path. The simulations support that effort.”

Empowering Students for Career Success

Upon graduation from BankWork$ and CareerWork$ Medical, graduates are guaranteed a first-round interview with employer partners. To date, more than 3,800 BankWork$ graduates have secured positions with career potential across the country. CareerWork$ Medical, launched in 2019, is now working with 19 healthcare organizations, supporting 150-plus placements. Of those placements, 79% remain on track for advancement after the first year.

Coordinating the use of simulations is Ruby Sloan, a CareerWork$ Program Manager who first learned about the course as a participant. “I was that person looking for more than my next job. I wanted a career, and BankWork$ made that possible.”

As a member of the CareerWork$ leadership team, Ms. Sloan has recently relocated with her family to the east coast and is supporting program expansion across the region.

“To have an opportunity to give back to this program is a great privilege. I have total confidence in what this program offers.”

To learn more about CareerWork$’s mission and impact, click hereFor information about Employment Technologies’ workforce development tools, including job simulations, virtual interview practice, and microlearning experiences, click here or call 888.332.0648.


* These independently validated outcomes are the result of analysis conducted by Kinetic West in April 2020 using BankWork$ participant data from YWCA Seattle from 2014 and 2015.  Wage growth and employment rate data is from Washington State’s Employment Services Department’s unemployment insurance database.