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PAE & Banks, Credit Unions Assist New Mainers

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PAE & Banks, Credit Unions Assist New Mainers
Posted on 03/26/2021
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Portland Adult Education (PAE) is partnering with eight local banks and credit unions to expand opportunities for new Mainers by launching a second training program for foreign trained professionals aspiring to enter the financial services industry as bank tellers. The program also is made possible by continued financial support from the City of Portland.

In 2020, PAE launched an innovative, 12-week New Mainer Teller Training Program for 14 students in partnership with six banks and credit unions. One year later, eight of the graduates are working as bank tellers in the Greater Portland area.

One of the 2020 graduates, Vienna Dunn, is originally from China, where she worked as an accounting assistant.  Prior to the teller program she was a waitress in the Portland area. She’s now employed as a full time teller at Bath Saving Bank.

This January, the program launched its second cohort and has expanded to include eight financial institutions that have supported the program design, co-taught components of the course (22 guest speakers!), and donated to the program, which now has 7 students and is completely online due to the pandemic.

The participating financial institutions are Bank of America, Bangor Savings Bank, Infinity Credit Union, CPort Credit Union, Gorham Savings Bank, Norway Savings Bank, Camden National, and Bath Savings. Together, the financial institutions contributed $25,000 to help cover program costs.

Additionally, the program has been made possible through the support of the City of Portland with an initial and continued investment of TIF Funding. Other key partners include Prosperity Maine, Goodwill Workforce Solutions, the Center for Financial Training and Education Alliance, and the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce.

According to David Pease, Senior VP and Director of Talent, Diversity and Inclusion at Bangor Savings Bank, “The New Mainer Teller Training program is the best model for collaborative, impactful education/business partnerships – building the Maine workforce with skilled, diverse talent. A truly meaningful experience for all involved. We started with financial institutions, but the model can and should be replicated by other industries.”

PAE Assistant Director Elizabeth Love said, “We are humbled by the support and commitment of our employer partners, as well as the determination and perseverance of our students. Portland Adult Education is proud to be the education provider and serve as a connection between talented New Mainers and financial institutions seeking qualified, diverse employees.” 

“The New Mainer Teller Training Program is a great example of success breeding success. It provides foreign-trained students with financial services backgrounds the opportunity to re-enter their field in this country and these financial partners gain a diverse pool of trained tellers with a wealth of prior experience as potential employees," said Xavier Botana, superintendent of the Portland Public Schools, of which PAE is a part. “We are grateful to the City of Portland for its continued support and to all these community partners for collaborating with PAE as it offers this valuable training program for a second year.”

About Portland Adult Education: PAE, a part of the Portland Public Schools, typically serves approximately 4,000 adults each year, in academic and ELL classes, as well as workforce training programs and enrichment classes. About 50 percent of  PAE students are immigrants learning English and gaining knowledge and skills to pursue their career goals and  integrate more fully into the community.

For more information, contact Elizabeth Love, Assistant Director, Portland Adult Education, at lovee@portlandschools.org or 207-874-8155.