Justin’s Story

Nov 14, 2019 | Success Stories

How BankWork$ training has transformed Justin Lewis outside of the workplace.

Originally from Mobile, Alabama, Justin L. moved to Houston after his wife received a job offer. Ultimately, they decided to dive into a new state because they had high hopes that the Houston job market would help secure their family’s financial future.

“When we came here, my wife was working, and my job was supposed to transfer me, but they started just giving me the runaround.” Depending on his previous employer for job security in the Lone Star state quickly led to hardships when they could not deliver what they initially promised him. “The first two months we were here, we ended up living in a hotel, we have five kids,” Justin explains.

In need of an opportunity for himself and his family, Lewis “went on Indeed and saw the BankWork$ program,” he initially thought that it looked like a “scam” because “it was too good to be true.” Our BankWork$ program trains individuals to build meaningful careers in banking. But, still skeptical, he decided to take a leap of faith.

“When I first came to the class, I didn’t know how to dress. I didn’t know how to talk in a business setting. So every time I got in front of people, I would get nervous and sweat profusely- like right now,” he says, gesturing to our interview setup, “I would’ve been pouring sweat because you’re somebody new.”

Aware of the challenges ahead, Lewis admits that he had difficulty adjusting to the program. “At first, it was a struggle, but Jose kept working with me.” Jose V., SER’s BankWork$ instructor, “was like a father figure” to Justin. “I feel like that,” he says. He explains his reasoning by saying, “He showed me a lot, not just in banking but in life. He taught me how to dress. He taught me how to talk, he taught me how to turn negative situations into positive situations, and even word things differently into making them positive.”

Reflecting through his time with SER and the BankWork$ program, he says that, “It was a blessing.” The skills he learned through the program were quickly used to improve his daily life when he had to go back to Mobile for a court hearing. Justin says that he will never forget how seamlessly the training he received transferred into this professional setting; “A lot of the stuff he taught me helped me go into that courtroom and win that case for my children. How to dress, how to talk, how to go in there and present yourself.”

We must mention that Justin’s transition from training to employment was not simple. He told us that he became skeptical of the program after he “couldn’t get a job,” despite “applying and applying” to work at different banks. Finally, after three weeks of submitting job applications, Lewis landed an interview with Woodforest National Bank.

He immediately called Jose to tell him the good news. The day before the interview, Jose gave him a pep-talk saying, “You know what they want. I’ve shown you what they want. No, go in there and be what they want.” Justin said the interview went perfectly and later added, “anything I’ve needed from Jose, he’s never let me down.”

Lewis sums up his life post-BankWork$ quickly by saying, “It’s been wonderful ever since.”

When speaking with Justin, his fulfillment with his new career is clear. “I love my manager and my branch. I wake up every morning and don’t dread going to work.” Although, it’s not just his actual job that has brought him happiness. He tells SER that, “ever since I started working there, everything’s been good. I can take care of my family. My wife started at HCC [Houston Community College], she’s enrolled in nursing class.”

He’s proud to be able to take care of his family and allow his wife to focus on her new classes so that she can “get the same feeling I got” in graduating and beginning a new career. In addition, not having to worry about making ends meet or worrying about his children’s expenses is a welcomed relief. “From going to living in a hotel for two months and looking for a place to stay and now we have somewhere to live. Everybody’s happy. Everything’s going good.”