SER-Jobs for Progress—Improving Lives...One Job at a Time.

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Jessica Manning

I'm 22 years old, and I was born and raised in Texas. I grew up in a little town called Magnolia.
 
I have four sisters. It was pretty tough, with my parents not really making it financially. They just had so many kids that it was really hard to support all of us. College wasn't really a choice for us, unless we wanted to work and go to school and make it on our own. 
 
I was kind of a mischievous teenager. Got into the wrong crowd, made some bad decisions. I got pregnant at the age of 17 and I had my son when I just turned 18. I tried to go to school, but it just wasn't working, having a baby and having to go to school. So I got into the restaurant industry.
 
Being in the restaurant industry is really tough. Late hours, and I wasn't able to be around my kid as much. It's kind of a gamble, you know. As a server, you come in one day and come out with $200. Or you can come out making only $20 and it's just enough to cover your gas. It's a gamble every day. 
 
I was going back and forth between trying to get any type of two-year degree and working in the restaurant every night, and getting home late, and not being around my baby. It was really tough.
 
My aunt, she is really successful. She started off as a teller at a bank, and moved up as a banker, and became a manager. I saw that she had a really good career going for her at the bank, and she told me that I could do it, too. I applied at several banks, but nobody would accept me because I didn't have any experience. It was just really hard to get my foot in the door. 
 
[My aunt] worked at Capital One, and she told me about this BankWork$ program. So we looked it up together, and I called José [Velez, SER BankWork$ Instructor and Coordinator]. He told me a little bit about the SER program, just different things that they offer. 
 
I showed up [for the BankWork$ program] and I wasn't wearing my best attire. I didn't have any [professional] clothes; i just kind of did what I could. But I showed up every day, and got a job at Capital One as a teller. It's definitely changed my life because [without it] I could still be in the restaurant industry, still trying to make it and go to school. But with this program I'm able to network with the right people and get started in a company, so I don't have to be on benefits. So I don't have to be on welfare. I can go to work and eventually go back to school. 
 
My goal is to get on a schedule with Capital One, and be able to balance work and be able to be a parent. I'm a single mother and the father is not involved at all, so it's just me. I want to be able to grow with the company. Learn everything I can about the banking industry, and move up as a banker. That's something that I want to do within a year. I don't know if I want to go into management, but I know that they have really good scholarship programs to go back to school. I'm looking into getting my business degree. 
 
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Click here if you'd like to learn more about the BankWork$ program. Enrollment is currently underway for the next BankWork$ class, which starts on February 2017.