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Bank partners with school district to launch new career exploration

Clinton, IL, August 6, 2021 - First National Bank and Trust Company has partnered with Normal Community School District to launch a banking and finance career exploration program for high school students. Enrolled students receive high school credit as well as an industry-recognized credential from the American Bankers Association (ABA).

Financial Literacy Coordinator, Connie Unruh, stated, “We’re thrilled to introduce more students to the banking industry and to give them learning experiences with the opportunity to interact with a broad range of First National Bank and Trust Company employees. Areas include marketing, banking, information technology, human resources, financial education, investing and more.”

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This model for a course was piloted during the second semester of the 2020-21 school year and is the first program of its kind in the local area. Ella Badorek (pictured right) is a recent graduate from Normal Community High School and finished the spring semester as the first enrolled student. She completed work-based learning experience, created her own “bank,” received high school credit and the ABA certificate.

Due to Badorek’s career exploration, which included personal interviews and job shadowing of various roles in the banking program, she altered her future college major. Badorek will be an incoming freshman at the University of Illinois, now majoring in agriculture finance.

“The program was an excellent way to introduce students to the world of banking and the future of finance. The career exploration allows students to help discover their talents and passions,” said Unruh. “To see all the sides of banking and finance was eye opening for Ella, and because of it, she has tailored her studies to future career options. This new career exploration program will benefit future high school students and take their skills to the next level for life after high school.”

The career exploration program showcased employees from First National Bank and Trust Company, Black Prairie Ag and Case IH. The hands-on curriculum explored different personality types, workforce collaboration, banking products and services and cash flow processes.

When asked about the program Ella Badorek stated, “The program gave me the opportunity to see much more about the banking industry than in a classroom with the hands-on experience and one-on-one discussions with bank employees. I developed many skills and a greater concept of what to expect after college. Additionally, one of the greatest benefits I received was the knowledge that I truly enjoy doing what it is I have been studying for.”

The career exploration program will be available this fall semester 2021. For any students interested in the program or to learn more, please email Connie Unruh at connie.unruh@firstnbtc.com.

First National Bank and Trust Company dedicates nearly 50 percent of its annual giving to sustain financial literacy programming in the bank’s market area. Efforts in financial education originally started in DeWitt County in 2017.

About First National Bank and Trust Company: First National Bank & Trust Company is a community bank located in Clinton, Illinois. Dedicated to community prosperity, the bank was chartered in 1872 under the name DeWitt County National Bank. The name was changed First National Bank and Trust Company in 1974, and was acquired by TS Banking Group in 2017. With $200 million in assets, First National Bank is dedicated to community reinvestment and gives 10 percent of its net income back to the community. For more information visit firstnbtc.com.

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