Amarillo College, with support from industry stakeholders, now offers new opportunities for individuals interested in banking and finance.
On April 26, the AC Board of Regents approved a new Banking and Finance Certificate and, pending approval of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the academic certificate will be offered at the community college this upcoming fall semester.
“From a student’s perspective, a career in banking comes with an opportunity for growth within the industry given the diversity of jobs at the banking institutions. Financial institutions have different roles that vary from customer service, marketing, lending, investments, Information Technology, Data Analysis to name a few,” said Rashmi Pillai, Business Technology program coordinator for AC. “The connection with the bankers allows us to hone in on the classes and what we need to offer the students to be successful after completion of the certificate.”
Pillai said that the idea of the program came after assessing ways to broaden AC’s offerings in the field and seeing the communities need for entry level employees to fulfill the positions for area banks and credit unions. It was after recognizing this need that Pillai reached out to community banks and finance companies and created a partnership with four area banks to help advise and shape the new program.
The four banking partners that will be involved in the program are Amarillo National Bank, FirstBank Southwest, First United Bank and Happy State Bank. As a part of the partnership, students who complete the certificate will be granted an interview at a bank with job openings, two of the banking courses offered in the program will be taught by a banker, the program will host guest speakers from the community industry, and tours will be offered of the local banks.
“This program will be setting up entry level employees for a long-term career, which will benefit both the bank and the individual to show that they are serious about the field and generate more long term employees for the bank. Overall, it creates opportunities for more individuals growing and advancing,” said Christa Gutierrez, assistant vice president for people development at ANB.
The Banking and Finance Certificate comprises five courses, and all 16 credit hours they entail can be applied toward an A.A.S. degree in Business Technology. The courses, which AC’s banking partners helped identify, are Word Processing, Financial Literacy, Advanced Spreadsheets, Principles of Bank Operations and Selling Bank/Financial Products and Services.
“Because it is broadly based, we feel like this will be a good opportunity for students to learn basic skills in the industry to utilize wherever they choose,” said Lynne Kenney, instructor of computer information systems at AC.
In a news release, Bowden Jones, executive vice president and chief consumer officer for FirstBank Southwest, stated that he not only supports the new certificate program but will be teaching a couple of the courses.
“This certificate program falls in line with what Amarillo College has been doing to help provide a workforce for our community. This program will create additional interest in the banking industry, as well as a built-in workforce that will allow FirstBank Southwest and others to employ people from within this community and help put them on a path to success. That it is a win-win for everyone!” Jones said.
For more information about the Banking and Finance Certificate program at Amarillo College, please contact Rashmi Pillai, program coordinator, at 806-371-5219 or [email protected]