Magazine article American Banker

Fund Expiration Threatens NYC Training Program

Magazine article American Banker

Fund Expiration Threatens NYC Training Program

Article excerpt

A federally funded program that covers training costs for low-level employees at New York community banks is scheduled to end in June, and bankers are hoping it finds new sources of funds.

Thanks to a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, about 350 less-skilled employees from 21 small New York metropolitan area banks have been trained -- at no cost to them -- in customer service, basic computer programs, and business writing since September 1999. The two-year grant has supported the work of the New York Banking Training Partnership, which is run by the New York City Technical College.

The college, part of the City University of New York, was one of 13 recipients of Labor Department grants in 1999. That year the department gave 12 states $11.2 million to train several industries employees with low-level jobs or obsolete job skills.

Dorothy Solomon, a manager of the New York Banking Training Partnership, said she will contact community bankers to pool their resources to keep the program going. The partnership is also applying to the state and local governments for financing.

We re still exploring whether there might be state funds that would be able to assist the small banks, because small banks stabilize communities -- they lend to the residents, they employ residents, Ms. Solomon said.

So we re hoping that people see this as very necessary.

Charles Koehler, president and chief executive of $72 million-asset Community Capital Bank, Brooklyn, said the project has been valuable to his bank.

We can t afford and don t have the time to set up a training program, Mr. Koehler said. Eight of his bank s 30 employees have taken customer service and introductory banking classes through the college. We don t have the staffing for that, and to have the college have classes where we can send a couple employees at a time is very helpful. …

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