Lewiston, Maine is the heart of Androscoggin Bank. It also happens to be home to many of Maine’s immigrant, refugee, and asylum-seeking families. For many of these families the journeys they have taken to realize a safe home and space in our community is heart-wrenching. Beyond that, once here they find themselves adapting to a new language, new cultural challenges, attempting to find secure and stable employment, and navigating a new reality – all while missing their original home. Our new neighbors face hardships that few of us could ever fathom. Most of us will never comprehend or experience that level of hardship and bravery in our entire lives.

And, our newest community members and friends arrive teeming with optimism, energy and aspirations. They are here to build a legacy for their families and their new communities, in a place where the promise exists that we can be anything we set our minds and our hearts to. In the past few years alone, we have listened to hundreds of stories about new Mainers quickly making a difference, from starting new businesses to being elected to public service positions. Time and time again we are amazed at this willingness to take leaps and learn, all in the face of adversity.

The program’s goal is to prepare students who have a primary language other than English, for well-paying and advancement-rich careers in banking in the Lewiston/Auburn region. We have been working in collaboration with LAE since March of 2022, aiding in the development and launch of the program. 

About The Program

The Today’s Teller Academy is designed for students who meet specific language, reading, and math competencies, and who have a background in banking, finance, or customer service in their home countries. With a goal of preparing these students to be candidates for employment, the 14-week course includes the ABA Today’s Teller materials and curriculum (CFTEA course, support, and co-creation of Adult Ed program in 2018) – as well as lessons on customer service, digital literacy, and job search strategies.

“Through the use of the curriculum, students learned a great overview of the American banking system that will help them in both their personal and professional lives,” said Today’s Teller Instructor, Fatma Saad. “The collaboration with AB was invaluable because it gave the students real-world experience and [they] could ask bank personnel specific questions about banking procedures and working in a bank”.

Our most recent graduating class featured six students from South Africa, Angola and Kenya. In addition to English, the students spoke a variety of languages, including: Xhosa, Lingala, Somali, Swahili and Portuguese, and had a variety of professional experience.

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