U.S. Bank and BankWork$ help to jumpstart careers in banking industry

August 16, 2022
Man, woman and two dogs in front of mountains
Emmett Folan with his wife after they eloped in Colorado. Below: Makayla Kayhill-Walton's graduation photo from the BankWork$ program.

The bank has hired more than 100 graduates from the nonprofit job-training program, many of whom have risen through the ranks.

Emmett Folan’s career in banking was not one he’d seriously considered before participating in BankWork$, even though he has several family members who work in financial services.

In 2019, his then-girlfriend, now wife, suggested that they move from Pittsburgh to Denver for the summer, as she’d secured a position as a summer camp counselor. Folan also secured a position as a camp counselor but knew that wasn’t the career he was looking for long-term. On the car ride to Denver, he began scanning online job boards and came across a listing for the BankWork$ program.

“I didn’t really consider banking until we were moving to Denver, but I knew I needed a good job that had a lot of room for growth and change,” Folan said. “I wanted something that would provide a good life. I wanted to be a financially steady person who got to work toward my own goals and help other people at the same time.”

While going through the program, Folan researched potential employers and decided to that U.S. Bank made the best fit for his values.

“I knew what the bank stood for,” he said. “From being one of the most ethical banks, to the large LGBTQ representation, it just made sense.”

In September of 2019, he joined U.S. Bank as a Client Relationship Consultant 2 and has quickly risen in the ranks to his current position of branch manager at the Parker Safeway branch, which he accepted in February 2022. Folan has also become involved with the U.S. Bank Spectrum Business Resource group, which supports members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies, and was instrumental in the creation of the local Denver chapter.


In the Denver market, BankWork$ is changing lives like Folan’s by breaking down the barriers that can exist for those without financial services experience looking to enter the industry.

BankWork$, managed by Goodwill of Colorado, is a national job readiness program offered at no cost. Launched in Denver in 2016, the program has graduated 388 participants and placed 331 in entry-level banking positions.

Over eight weeks, participants attend three classes per week, both virtual and in-person. They learn banking basics, participate in mock interviews, receive assistance with job placement and are assigned mentors. To be accepted, participants need only have a high school diploma or GED along with access to a computer, tablet, or smartphone. They must also be able to complete all assignments, pass a background check and have a sincere desire to begin a career in banking.

Denver BankWork$ program managers Kelly Hargrove and Patrick Becker are both former U.S. Bank employees.

“U.S Bank has been fantastic and has been one of our biggest contributors. Right from the moment we launched the program, U.S. Bank has been a part,” Becker said.

U.S. Bank has provided $90,000 in grant support to Goodwill of Colorado for BankWork$ since its Denver launch in 2016. Several employees are involved with the program, including District Manager Eric Mastroianni, who sits on the advisory board and volunteers with the program. He’s helped to develop the curriculum to focus more on training individuals to be holistic bankers, instead of just tellers.

“I’ve had the pleasure of watching the program grow and the quality of applicants increase from the beginning,” Mastroianni said. “We’ve hired about 100 graduates to date and virtually all have been really successful here.”

Makayla Kayhill-Walton, Stonegate Branch Client Relationship Consultant 3

Kayhill-Walton always had an interest in entering the banking industry.

A woman holding a certificate.

“I’ve been working since I was 14, and I always wanted to work at a bank. I admired the tellers and the way they dressed,” Kayhill-Walton said. “I wanted to surround myself with wealth so that I could eventually attract it to myself.”

The single mother of three is originally from Topeka, Kansas, but moved to Colorado as a child and remained there until 2015, when she returned to Topeka to be closer to family. In 2019, she returned to Aurora, began working for credit card company, then Covid happened.

“I ended up getting laid off, but I was able to make it through the summer by drawing unemployment. After that ran out, it was time to go back to work. When I saw the listing, I thought I was applying for a job at a bank, but it ended up being for the BankWork$ program,” Kayhill-Walton said.

Once she learned more about the program, she became convinced that it was made for her. “Although I have experience, no one else would let me get my feet in the door.”

BankWork$ offered the perfect opportunity.

Kayhill-Walton graduated from the BankWork$ program in November 2020 and joined U.S. Bank immediately after. She interviewed with several other banks, but an interview with U.S. Bank sealed the deal. Within weeks, she began as a Client Relationship Consultant.

“I’m now making more money than I’ve ever made,” Kayhill-Walton said. Since joining the bank, she’s been promoted twice, and she’s eager to pay her good fortune forward.

“I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer with BankWork$ twice to share my experience. I look forward to returning,” Kayhill-Walton said. “My ultimate goal is to be in training and development to help other bankers grow and get where they want to be.”

BankWork$ launched a new cohort earlier this month and begins them on a rolling basis based on enrollment. For more information, visit

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