A record 77 students graduated from the 2015 Future Bankers’ Camp, now in its eighth year to provide hands-on experience for future students interested in financial services industry careers.
The camp mostly serves incoming seniors at Miami-Dade public schools from low-tomiddle- income families, hosted by Miami Dade College and the Center for Financial Training and sponsored by CareerSource South Florida, CNC-Nurturing Hispanic Communities and local institutions. This year, a record 24 institutions participated, up from 15 last year.
The camp gives students opportunities to enhance math, communication and financial literacy skills, while completing a bank internship and receiving industry certification. Ocean Bank with 26 interns provided the original program seed money.
Other 2015 participants: Banco de Credito e Inversiones (BCI); BankUnited; Banesco; BBVA Compass Bank; City National Bank; Coconut Grove Bank; Community Bank of Florida; Continental National Bank; Espirito Santo Bank; First Bank of Florida; Florida International Bankers Association (FIBA); JetStream Federal Credit Union; Mercantil Commercebank; Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLC (MBAF); Pacific National Bank; Popular Community Bank; Professional Bank; Regions; Santander; South Florida Banking Institute (SFBI); Sunstate Bank; TD Bank; and U.S. Century Bank.
“The students keep getting better and better,” said Ocean Bank Senior Vice President and CFT board member Cheryl Rees. “We are challenging each of our partners to match Ocean Bank and step up. This internship give students crucial ‘hands-on’ experience, builds teamwork and communication skills valuable in any career, promotes financial literacy, and changes lives.”
For the first time, this year’s class included 16 college students, some of them alumni of previous Bankers’ Camps, and added two Customer Service tracks, offering Dual Enrollment for the high schoolers and a threecredit class for MDC students, in addition to the program’s bedrock Teller Track.
CFT Executive Director Connie Laguna expects the program to continue its dramatic growth: “This year’s class has shined, and we plan to build on this year’s momentum. We are confident that institutions will ramp up their participation.”
Juan del Busto, who worked his way up from the mailroom to head the Miami office of the Federal Reserve, wants to take the idea further.
“We need to replicate this in the rest of the country because it works,” said del Busto, a member of the boards of both the CFT and Ocean Bank.
Tomara Graham of CareerSource South Florida told the class: “You have been given a great opportunity. Don’t take it for granted. Allow this opportunity to become a stepping- stone.”
The students are enrolled in Miami-Dade College and nine Miami-Dade Public Schools Academy of Finance programs at Barbara Goleman Senior High School, Coral Gables Senior High School, Coral Reef Senior High School, Hialeah Gardens Senior High School, Mater Academy East Charter Senior High School, Miami Edison Senior High School, Miami Jackson Senior High School, North Miami Beach Senior High School, and William H. Turner Technical Arts High School.
Brandy Hall, 18, graduated this year from the Academy of Finance magnet program at Mater Academy East Charter Senior High School just west of downtown Miami. She is now an incoming freshman at Miami Dade College in a dual enrollment program with Florida International University.
“I loved the bank. It was like a family,” said Ms. Hall, who interned at Continental National Bank. “It takes a lot of work to succeed in the bank, but it doesn’t scare me. It’s nothing I can’t learn.”
She left the program with three job offers, starting next spring semester. For her success, she credits the support of her parents – – her mother is a secretary, her father a handyman — and two organizations in high school: Future Business Leaders of America and DECA Inc., both of which prepare emerging leaders for college and careers. Ms. Hall is determined to make her mark.
“I want to be a C-level executive, maybe a COO, in a company like Tesla Motors,” Ms. Hall says. “I love that company.”
Kevin Arizandieta, a 2013 CFT alumnus who completed the 2015 customer service track at Sunstate Bank, said his experience has strengthened his commitment to enter the financial services industry. His camp experienced immersed not only in customer service, but in the more complex aspects of banking, such as wire transfers and compliance issues.
“This has provided me with great experience in customer service and taught me how a bank operates,” said Arizandieta, who is working toward a finance degree at Florida State University.
Upon successful completion of the camp, students are eligible to receive the American Bankers Association Bank Teller and Customer Service Representative Certificate. This national industry standard certificate meets the educational requirement for the certification exam offered by the Institute of Certified Bankers. Students who graduate can also work towards an A.S. degree in Financial Services.
The Miami-Dade Public Schools Academy of Finance program is a member of the National Academy Foundation, a national network of career academies to support the development of America’s youth toward personal and professional success in high school, higher education and throughout their careers. Fifteen Miami-Dade high schools have Academy of Finance career academies.
About The Center for Financial Training at MDC
The Center for Financial Training provides financial services education, training and technology to financial services professionals throughout the United States and around the world. CFT is a national organization and the largest industry-sponsored adult education program in the world. CFT training and education programs provide job specific skills and knowledge to the financial services industry. CFT is the educational arm of the American Bankers Association and courses are part of a national continuing education curriculum. Completion of prescribed programs can lead to industry-recognized AIB diplomas and certificates, assist in professional licensing requirements and meet college credit and degree requirements. For more information, visit www.sfcft.org.