Student gains banking experience
Community bank works with local high schools
By Holly Neumann
Premier Community Bank in Manawa offers area high school students the opportunity to learn about banking,.
“Premier Community offers a customer service representative (CSR) to a high school student, when it has a need,” Branch Manager Rhonda Wilz said. “They learn about banking, what it all entails, make some money and further their job experience. This can help that student with future jobs and college applications.”
Wilz said that the bank looks for a student who is age 16 or older and in good standing at school.
“I truly believe that it bridges a gap that we may have with the younger generation,” Wilz said. “I feel that the schools know that we want to be involved with the students and want to help with their education.”
She indicated that the bank reaches out to three area school districts – Manawa, Iola-Scandinavia and Weyauwega-Fremont – to fill the position.
Justin Krause was hired.
“I first heard about this job opportunity last winter,” Krause said. “The counseling office sent out an email describing the job and what it would include. I thought that it seemed interesting and would also help me gain work experience. The main draw was that they are influential in all the communities that they serve and that appealed to me.”
Wilz said that Krause was shy at first, but now is coming out of his shell and has really grown in the position.
“He is a very hard working young man who works two jobs – the bank and Iola-Scandinavia Community Fitness and Aquatic Center – and also works with his family business,” she said. “He is learning the ins and outs of banking and he understands the importance of accuracy and confidentially.”
Krause feels he is learning a lot as well.
“I feel it is very important that teens gain experience working in a professional field because it can really prepare them for the rest of their lives,” he said. “Not only am I learning how to act in a very professional workplace, I am also learning the skills of talking and working with co-workers and costumers, some different computer skills and also being accurate and precise in your work.”
Premier Community Bank feels that offering this position to a student is one way to give back to the communities they serve.
“When Premier Community Bank bought our Baylake branch in Manawa, Sue Mares from human resources mentioned that several of their current branches have hired student help,” said Wilz. “I was intrigued and I thought that this was a great way to get more involved with the younger community and to help our branch with the part-time help we needed.”
She believes it is a great way to stay connected to the community and the younger generation.
“When we hire a student, it is with the full understanding that they will work Saturday mornings, allowing the bank to give the other CSRs a weekend off from the rotation,” she said. “The students see things that we may not. It gives a fresh prospective of what is important to their generation.”
She also feels that it gives other employees the opportunity to mentor the student.
“They are able to tell of life experiences that have gotten them where they are today,” she said. “It keeps us connected and our customers enjoy talking to someone who is still in school.”
Her hope is that students will work well with their partners, will not be afraid to go out of their comfort level and will feel more confident in what they do.
“We need them as much as they need us,” Wilz said.
Krause, who is currently a junior at Iola-Scandinavia High School, plans to pursue at bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering, following his graduation in May 2017.