Keesler Federal Credit Union: Adding Value to Mississippi’s Workforce

Keesler Federal Credit Union and MAP Celebrate the Graduating Apprenticeship Class of 2020

The Registered Apprenticeship (RA) program at Keesler Federal Credit Union (Keesler) creates career advancement opportunities for its employees using a unique approach to learning that is the first-of-its-kind for the financial sector in Mississippi. The program, which launched in 2018 in partnership with the Mississippi Apprenticeship Program (MAP) and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC), provides current employees with hands-on-training and online courses that prepare them to take on more responsibility at Keesler. 

Leslie Harvey has worked for Keesler for more than ten years. She began her career as a teller and received several promotions during her tenure. Most recently, Harvey took on a new role as branch manager, which she connects to her completing the apprenticeship program. 

“I was an assistant manager when I started,” Harvey says. “The program taught me a lot about professionalism. I learned how to revamp my resume and participate in job interviews, which in turn helped me interview other people better as well as serve as a mentor for other team members who wanted to learn the same skills.”

The credit union offers bonuses and raises to employees who complete the program. According to Harvey, the program demonstrates how Keesler gives back to its employees and helps them develop. All nine of the participants who graduated from the program received promotions. “It really is proof that doing the hard work and going through that program did make a difference in my career.”

Harvey said the most rewarding part of the program is achieving one of her longtime goals. “Complete the full two years, to get a raise and become a branch manager, which is something I’ve always worked toward in the ten years I’ve been here, and to see it pay off is probably the best part. It was also great to see a group of us from different departments learn from each other.” 

Apprentices are not the only ones to benefit from a RA program. Companies can experience some perks too. Many apprentices become more loyal to an organization after participating in a program, which leads to lower turnover rates and ultimately positively impacts the organization’s bottom-line.“I’m a lifer,” says Harvey. “They are going to have to make me retire after 20 years, and then I’ll probably apply for a receptionist gig.”

Harvey now encourages other team members to participate in the program. “Two-years feels like a long time, but once you get done with each class, and you can see actual, real results, it is so worth it. It’s made me a better leader.”

To learn more about how you can launch an RA program, visit our employer’s page