early career program
In recent years, employees and companies have been adapting to new social conditions, technological advances, and changing workforce demographics; estimates suggest that approximately 10,000 people reach retirement age each day in the United States.
One way the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is keeping up is by bringing in professional talent early. The San Francisco Federal Reserve hired eight Merced students from the University of California (UC); seven now work in Information Technology Services (ITS) and one in the Financial Institutions Credit and Supervision (FISC) team.
Jeanette Lewis, SF Fed Early Career Diversity Program Manager, says attracting recent college grads is one solution to address changes in workforce demographics, skill sets and experience.
“As more workers retire in the next five to 10 years, the early professionals we are investing in now will be a little further along, ready to take on the challenges of their predecessors,” says Lewis.
Focusing on recent graduates also serves SF Fed’s goal of achieving maximum employment and, more specifically, aligns with SF Fed’s efforts to have the workforce reflect the diversity of the communities it serves.
In 2021, nearly 90% of students admitted to UC Merced came from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, the US Department of Education designated UC Merced as a Hispanic-Serving Institution in 2010, certifying an enrollment of at least 25% Hispanic students.
The new employees, who have been in their roles for two months now, shared their first impressions of both the Bank’s partnership with UC Merced and their new career paths at the San Francisco Federal Reserve.
A promising campus
First, graduates appreciated that SF Fed saw the value that UC Merced offers the workforce.
“UC Merced is a school that is now getting the recognition it deserves, and I’m grateful that the Fed has seen that potential in us,” says Joshua Jones, an associate analyst training to become a consumer compliance examiner. in Supervision and Credit.
“I think UC Merced has trained students to be hard workers and go out of their way to find and capitalize on opportunities,” says Katrina Atkinson, product analyst for the API team. “We are hungry for success.”
An enriching environment
Once they started their jobs, the new employees were impressed by the welcome they received from their colleagues and supervisors.
Initially, Katheryn Torres was concerned that, as a business economics and management student, she did not know enough about technology for her role as a product analyst at National Data Hub. But she quickly learned that her skills were valuable in ITS. Her supervisors meet with her weekly to help her get through the learning curve.
“Everyone has been very supportive by providing me with resources and tools to learn the best ways to support our team,” says Torres.
For Atkinson, a weekly lunch illustrated the collaborative nature of his new team.
“My team leader and I sit next to each other—everyone is the same at lunch. We know people on a personal level,” says Atkinson.
As they adjust to life as employees of the San Francisco Federal Reserve, new graduates become involved in the Bank’s culture, join employee resource groups (ERGs) and volunteer with their teams.
Jones joined Mosaic, the SF Fed’s African American employee resource group, participating in activities like the recent ERG employee fair.
“One of the biggest surprises is how many opportunities there are to interact with others,” says Jones. “Events like the ERG fair and the employee town hall, with panels on how the different business lines of our bank interact, were fantastic.”
Through the SF Fed volunteer program, Torres worked for a few hours alongside other team members at an urban farm in San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood. Composting brought back happy memories of growing up on a farm in Mexico, where he helped his father with her crops of corn, mangoes and other produce. Although Torres moved to Los Angeles at age 13, he believes his work ethic was forged on that farm.
“I learned that if I want something in life, I have to work hard and have discipline,” explains Torres.
Goals: Stretch the run and give back
Recent graduates are busy learning how to make the most of their first jobs at the San Francisco Federal Reserve. But each of them also has an eye on the future. Most hope to move up to more responsible roles within their current teams. Fortunately, they are finding that SF Fed provides support to guide employees in expanding and developing their skills.
Laura Cabrera, a financial analyst in the ITS department, set herself a short-term goal of completing a “gig,” a professional development assignment available to employees outside of their current role. Through an internal job market, SF Fed employees can temporarily pick projects on other teams to flex new muscles and learn more about the different groups at the bank.
Many of the new UC Merced employees received business and management degrees. They knew the Fed’s mission to promote a healthy, sustainable, and inclusive economy and its dual mandate to achieve stable prices and maximum employment. But for Libanose (Libby) Teffera, a computer science and engineering student, learning about the role of the Federal Reserve in the economy was mostly new and very inspiring.
“You don’t see many organizations that are completely for the people. So by working for the Federal Reserve, I appreciate the opportunity to help the community and the economy,” says Teffera.
Another experience shared by many of these new hires is their status as first-generation college students. Many also come from communities that have seen barriers to economic access and opportunity. A common desire among cohort members is to return and help their own families and communities, both as individuals and through their roles at the San Francisco Federal Reserve.
They would also like to help other UC Merced students.
“Most of us are first-generation college students, and many of us come from low-income homes,” Cabrera says. “I want to give back to the communities I’ve come from by helping other college and high school students excel in business. I serve in an advisory role with my UC Merced Delta Sigma Pi business fraternity.”
Often the best way to help new and future colleagues is to share experiences and advice. One piece of advice Atkinson has for students:
“Take advantage of every opportunity. You have to learn and grow, whether it’s joining clubs or volunteering. If you don’t see the opportunity you’re looking for, create your own.”
To learn more about job openings, workplace culture, and employee benefits at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, visit our careers page..