ATLANTA (8/5/15)--Last month, Gary Fisher, senior recruiter at the Atlanta-based Delta Community CU, was joking about a student from Delta’s apprentice program one day becoming president/CEO.
But Fisher quickly stopped himself because, really, is it all that far-fetched, considering where the program has already taken many of its participants?
For nearly a decade, Delta Community has taken students from Atlanta metro high schools, plugged them into part-time teller roles at the credit union, and watched them blossom into either full-time employees, college students, or both.
After launching the program in 2006--with two students--the Delta Community High School Apprentice Program has continued to expand, growing to 18 participants this year. Each student works as a teller at branches near their high schools under the guidance of branch management.
“Because of our great trainers and the great people we have at Delta Community, we turn someone with no work experience into someone who is a very qualified teller in 30 days,” Fisher told News Now.
In addition to picking up valuable professional experience and skills, the work bolsters the apprentices’ resumes for both college and professionally, and provides the students with competitive salaries.
The students also receive quality financial education during orientation, as the corporate trainers teach the students--as they gear up for their teller positions--about credit unions and the services they provide.
“I learned about the financial services industry, and also about customer service and teamwork,” Shelby Montpas, now a full-time electronic funds specialist at the credit union, said recently. “My apprenticeship in 2011 brought focus to my career goals and has made me a better student as I work toward my college degree.”
While the program creates numerous opportunities for the students, it also benefits Delta Community.
Last year, 13 of the 16 participants returned as full-time employees of the credit union, meaning Delta Community was able to bring on 13 employees who were already trained for the job, even as some pursued their college education.
Further, of the 72 students who have gone through the program since 2006, 47 continue to work for the credit union, including 12 in full-time positions and 35 in part-time positions.
“(It’s) a win-win,” Fisher said. “The students get a paycheck and valuable job skills. The credit union gains these wonderful young members, plus helpful support for its front-line employees. Most importantly, our members receive better service because we have extra help--especially on busy afternoons and Saturdays.”
Though all apprentices start in part-time teller roles, many of the students have been promoted to a number of different departments, such as corporate training, member services, retirement investment services and e-commerce.
“We’re almost to the point now where folks who started as apprentices years ago are ready to move up to leadership roles,” Fisher said.
Hence, why one day an apprentice may become CEO. No joke.
“We’re seeding the company with talent,” Fisher said. “And I just see this thing continuing to grow. More and more students, (who also) become members for life, will be the future of the company.”