By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the region’s oldest and largest job training providers, Philadelphia Opportunities Industrial Center is lining up low-income folks for a new career path with a free bank training program.

Philadelphia OIC is teaming up with BankWork$.

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OIC President and CEO Kevin Johnson explains, “So people can pursue careers as tellers, as personal bankers, and have an upward trajectory, hopefully even to become a branch manager.”

Johnson says in the past, the North Broad Street institution has trained folks for administrative, clerical work, automotive tech, and the hospitality industry.

He says the non-profit BankWork$ will hold training programs to get them jobs that pay higher hourly rates.

Mayor Jim Kenney (L), BankWork$ Associate Director Ranko Fukuda (Center), and Philadlephia OIC President and CEO Kevin Johnson (R)

“Wells Fargo and Citizens are on board,” said Johnson.

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Mayor Kenney stopped by the event to commend OIC for “bringing opportunity to the city’s neighborhoods.” The mayor says OIC gives people access to workforce development skills to “drive down the poverty rate.”

BankWork$ Associate Director Ranko Fukuda says to become a banker, job candidates do not need a college degree.

“If you have a high school degree or GED, we can coach you on soft-skills and of course, teach you on the hard-skills of banking, to get you prepared,” said Fukuda.

She says they aim to start with classes of about 25 students, with four eight-week training programs a year, for lasting careers in the financial services industry.

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At the same event, OIC recognized the philanthropic giving by business and community leaders who hear its calling. The North Broad Street institution was founded in 1964 by the Reverend Leon Sullivan, the internationally-recognized advocate for civil and economic rights.