Karen Duffy: Worcester Tech student goes back to the future to find career

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Jason England did not expect to earn his college degree in business administration, only to return to Worcester Technical High School to start his career. He returned not as a teacher or coach, but as a credit union branch manager.

England, 24, is the new manager of Worcester Credit Union’s (WCU) full-service branch at Worcester Tech. During his junior year of high school, WCU chose England to be a student teller intern. He worked during and after school to complete the WCU Student Teller Training Program and work in the credit union’s student branch.

The program teaches much more than how to cash a check or make a deposit. Students are counseled on working in a professional business environment. They learn about banking compliance and regulatory requirements, and they develop an understanding of important financial literacy issues.

Natasha Beaulieu, assistant vice president of branch administration at WCU, recalled England’s friendly personality and his natural ability to connect with members. “It was also his willingness to learn and grow with the credit union that made him stand out,” she said.

After graduating from Worcester Tech in 2010, England continued to work at the credit union while attending Nichols College full time. Despite attending college full time, his responsibilities and work hours increased. England’s promotion to head teller came even before he completed his bachelor’s degree at Nichols.

“At first, I was just curious about banking. Once I started the WCU internship program and met the great people at WCU, I realized that banking is a job I enjoy,” England said. “What kept me going are the opportunities to develop new skills and to be promoted into more challenging positions with WCU.”

England, married now with two children, still walks the halls he meandered as a high schooler — but with a longer, more purposeful stride. “I am so excited to begin my new role as branch manager at the high school,” he said. “My goal now is to hopefully provide an example, maybe even an inspiration, to some students of what can be achieved through the opportunities provided here.”

Worcester Technical High School Principal Kyle J. Brenner is proud of England’s success.

“Jason’s promotion to branch manager is the embodiment of what the partnership between our school and the credit union was designed to foster. We are so excited to have such a talented alumnus back working and teaching our next generation of banking professionals,” he said.

Since WCU opened the credit union branch in 2006, we have trained more than 125 students and hired about 25 percent of them for part- and full-time positions.

After 10 years at Worcester Tech, we feel deeply committed to working in the schools and the community to provide student training and adult financial literacy programs. Worcester Credit Union has deep roots in Worcester’s public school system. We were founded as the Worcester Teacher’s Credit Union in 1934.

We have been proud to work with the high school administration over the years to enhance and improve our teller training program. It has been a learning experience for all of us. The real reward has been watching our student tellers move on and succeed in college, in their careers, and in life.

In 2014, we collaborated with Worcester Tech and Quinsigamond Community College to qualify its teller-training program for college credit. The program follows a comprehensive curriculum developed between the three organizations, ensuring trainees receive banking theory and concepts in the classroom, credit union branch training for banking laws, regulations and policies, as well as on-the-job experience as tellers processing transactions for credit union members. Students now receive three credits from QCC for completing the program.

Karen Duffy is president and CEO of Worcester Credit Union.

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