When war broke out in Ukraine in February 2022, Yevhan S. knew it wouldn’t end quickly, as many had initially predicted. He and his wife and two teenage daughters were living in the capital city of Kyiv and thought they would be relatively safe there, particularly when compared to those living in the eastern region of the country. It didn’t take them long, however, to realize that life would never be the same for them.
Yevhan is considered one of the lucky ones as his parents had legally immigrated to the United States in 2000, and had settled in Milwaukee, WI. He was able to secure work authorization for he and his wife, and late spring, 2022, Yevhan and his family settled in Milwaukee with his parents. Yevhan and his wife immediately began to search for work.
Yevhan had a career in banking when he lived in Ukraine. He was a Branch Network Manager with a bank there, supporting a number of branches. But, he didn’t have experience in the U.S. banking system, so when he saw the BankWork$ training on Employ Milwaukee’s website, he quickly signed up for a pre-screening interview and was accepted in the program that began on April 11th. He successfully completed the BankWork$ training (certified pre-apprenticeship) on June 1, 2023.
“I was so impressed with the diversity of the students in my class,” Yevhan said. “The Instructor (Adrienne Wright) brought banking experience to her teaching role, and the other staff, Jovo (Potkonjak) and Oscar (Delgado) helped me find other resources to help me succeed. But, it was really the other students in the classroom that inspired me the most to graduate. They really helped me with my conversational English skills”, Yevhan commented. “I am really looking forward to rebuilding my life here and using my banking skills”.
“Yevhan was so eager to translate his previous banking skills to the U.S. financial job market,” said Jovo Potkonjak, BankWork$ Manager. “There’s no doubt he will be successful here. We are so pleased that we could help this immigrant and his family through the Skillful Transitions (WAI) grant that funded his training.”
Yevhan's hard work paid off at the end of August, when he was hired as an Associate Banker at BMO Harris Bank.