School System’s Longtime Work-Based Learning Partner Gets State Recognition

Melanie Duncan, work-based learning and youth apprenticeship coordinator (far left) and Virginia Gibbs, innovative partnership development coordinator (far right) with Delta Community Credit Union leaders (left to right) Gary Fisher, human resources; Melanie Myer, Fayetteville branch manager; Tanika Green, assistant vice president; and Vickie Cash, human resources coordinator, after the presentation of the partnership award at the Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education conference.

After being nominated by Fayette County Public Schools, Delta Community Credit Union (DCCU) was selected for the 2018 Work-Based Learning Business Partner Award presented by the Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education.

The award recognizes one outstanding business partner in each of the six work-based learning regions in Georgia; DCCU won the award for the West Central region.

The credit union has been a work-based learning partner with the school system stemming back to 2006, during which time a combined total of 27 students from all five high schools have been hired and trained as teller apprentices. Apprentices perform the functions of a teller including initiating interaction with credit union members, resolving problems and answering questions.

Before students can apply for the teller apprentice program at DCCU, they must first be accepted into the school system’s work-based learning and youth apprenticeship program by submitting an application through their schools. Students must meet specific academic, behavior and school attendance criteria, have career goals, and teacher recommendations to be admitted to the school system’s work-based learning program.

Work-based learning program coordinator (formerly Virginia Gibbs, now Melanie Duncan) selects students whose resumes indicate they will be strong candidates for the DCCU teller apprenticeship program, and passes their names and information to the credit union’s management for further review. Typical candidates have completed a pathway in business, banking, finance or similar areas, and also exhibit excellent communication and employability skills along with a strong desire to work.

DCCU management interviews the students, and prior to final selection, invites them and their parents to meet with branch managers and team members for a more extensive explanation of the teller apprenticeship program and to answer any questions and concerns.

Gibbs, who is now the school system’s coordinator of innovative partnership development and who wrote the award nomination for DCCU, says the partnership has been beneficial for all involved. Students have received valuable on-the-job experience, and in some cases, full-time employment, and the credit union has developed a skilled pool of workers to potentially fill job vacancies.

“To date, there are two students who have landed full-time positions and have made DCCU their career. One is a loan officer in consumer lending and the other is a court order specialist in their risk management department. One other student graduate who recently left to start a family, started in 2007 with DCCU and rose to be a corporate trainer. She actually ended up training apprentices as part of her job,” says Gibbs.

Another impact of the program, notes Gibbs, is the positive effect it has on the Fayette community.

“Credit union members love it when they have a chance to interact with a teller apprentice who is also a local high school student, most likely working in their first job with all of the same expectations as any other teller. Members take pride that their credit union supports our young people and our schools in such a meaningful way,” she says.

The award was presented to DCCU at the annual Georgia Association of Career and Technical Education conference that was held in July.