MINNEAPOLIS, May 1, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty,
with leaders of the Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) and U.S.
Bancorp, announced an initiative today that will create a banking and finance
degree program for recent immigrants and economically challenged people in the
Twin Cities metro area.
The Financial Careers Institute received $600,000 in grant funds from the
Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP), a program within the Minnesota
Department of Trade and Economic Development (DTED). U.S. Bancorp matched the
grant with $600,000 in on-site training and educational resources. During the
next two years, the college will work closely with a multi-ethnic taskforce and
selected U.S. Bancorp leaders to develop a series of training programs and a new
"Creating economic opportunities means more than jobs alone, it means workers
having the skills they need to turn opportunities into economic security," said
Governor Pawlenty. "This private-public partnership will help many new
immigrants and other Minnesotans get the education they need to find good jobs
in the banking and finance industry."
The program has three key objectives. The first objective is to develop a
training program for multilingual banking and finance employees to serve as
liaisons within their own communities, working with individual immigrants and
other targeted audiences to provide an understanding of banking and personal
investment strategies and related services. The second objective is to create a
new, two-year associate degree program at MCTC that reflects the skills needed
to be successful in multi-ethnic banking and finance settings. Finally, the
program will create a clear educational ladder that allows individuals to move
from short-term training for entry level positions into the new degree program
offered by the college, which may then transfer into a bachelor's or master's
degree program at Metropolitan State University.
Recognizing some of the challenge students who pursue this degree may face, such
as finding good child care, efficient transportation, financial support and
encouragement, the Project for Pride in Living and Goodwill/Easter Seals will
work closely with learners to provide a community support system and long-term
job retention services.
The college project executive liaison, Dr. Jo Peterson, dean of continuing
education and training at MCTC, believes the project will influence more than
350 individuals in two years. "By 2005, we plan to have two major initiatives
completed. First, we will develop a series of training courses for incumbent
workers within U.S. Bancorp (including U.S. Bank) and Piper Jaffray. After the
initial training has been completed, our two-year college intends to offer a new
"This new degree will be tailored toward individual immigrants and persons of
color who want to create a long-term career in banking and finance. We are
especially looking for individuals who live and work in the urban core," said
The college and the financial institution began working together shortly after
U.S. Bank announced a national campaign to provide a wider range of services to
immigrant communities. The company-wide Hispanic Initiative and its regional
focus on other emerging markets fueled the company's desire to work with a local
college to provide training to its workforce.
Kurt Treu, senior vice president for retail banking at U.S. Bank in the Twin
Cities metropolitan area, said, "Our goal is to provide recent immigrants and
economically challenged residents with a wide range of services, and that means
getting to know their families, their short- and long-term goals, and their
language." Treu suggests that this program will also encourage employees to
consider banking and finance careers as long-term options. "We want
multi-lingual workers throughout our system, which will help create diversity
from the bank teller to the senior leadership level. That's what makes U.S.
Bancorp really work -- diversity of people, energy, and thinking."
The initial phases of the grant project include getting various front line
workers' input on course topics and areas of interest. "Our initial
conversations suggest that all workers, especially immigrants, want to give back
to their communities. Bank tellers want to have conversations with their
neighbors about mortgage solutions, basic banking and long-term savings
planning," said Peterson, who added that she finds the notion of the worker as
community liaison to be a fascinating model.
Minneapolis Community and Technical College provides a comprehensive offering of
transfer and occupational programs as well as continuing education
opportunities. The college is committed to meeting the educational needs of
students by serving a diverse, multicultural community and preparing students to
live and work in a democratic society within a changing global community. The
college has a total enrollment of 10,500.
Minnesota Job Skills Partnership offers technical, financial and job training
assistance to thousands of businesses, communities, educational institutions and
workers. The Job Skills Partnership Board brings businesses with specific
education needs together with educational institutions to design training
programs to meet those needs.
About U.S. Bancorp
U.S. Bancorp, with assets in excess of $182 billion, is the 8th largest
financial services holding company in the United States. The company operates
2,200 banking offices and 4,582 ATMs, and provides a comprehensive line of
banking, brokerage, insurance, investment, mortgage, trust and payment services
products to consumers, businesses and institutions. U.S. Bancorp is home of the
Five Star Service Guarantee which assures customers of certain key banking
benefits and services or customers will be paid for their inconvenience. U.S.
Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank. Visit U.S. Bancorp on the web at
SOURCE: U.S. Bancorp
CONTACT: U.S. Bancorp
Teri Charest, 612/303-0732
Jill Gebhardt, 612/659-6221
Carol Walsh, 651/296-4236
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SOURCE: U.S. Bancorp