First National Bank Branch manager Amanda McMahon and teller Jesus “Manny” Jurado chat outside the Inman Parkway branch on Monday. Jurado got a job at the bank right after high school thanks to an apprenticeship program.

BELOIT — There’s more than one way to start life after high school graduation.

That’s what First National Bank and Trust teller Jesus “Manny” Jurado, the son of Jorge and Julia Jurado, said he has learned. He is working full time as a teller following a paid part-time apprenticeship with plans to become an accountant.

Jurado said he was recommended for the position through Hendricks CareerTek and the Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship program. Jurado had not only been studious prior to his banking job, but was juggling two fast food jobs. He thought the apprenticeship would help him discover if banking was right for him before pursuing college classes.

He began part-time in August as he finished up his classes in distance learning and graduated in January. Following graduation he obtained full-time work.

“I knew banking was my first step for my career. I liked learning the process,” Jurado said. “I like the environment, people and culture.”

First National Bank Branch manager Amanda McMahon said as a more experienced teller, Jurado is able to move around to the different branches to help.

“I think Manny has definitely proven himself in his position. He embodies First National’s culture—treating our customers like family and doing whatever it takes to provide the best level of service. He’s in tune with our customers and what he can do to help them out and meet their financial goals. A lot of his skills came with his background with CareerTek and support through the high school,” McMahon said.

Jurado said he plans to attend college part-time while working. For him he wanted to get into a solid job and get career exposure before pursuing post-secondary education.

“It gave me exposure to see if I liked it or not. It was an eye opener,” he said. “You don’t have to wait four years to begin working on something, and this builds your character.”

McMahon said the experience has been great for the bank as well.

“It gives us the opportunity to work with younger workers who see things differently. He’s newer to everything and a younger set of eyes,” she said.

Students at Beloit Memorial High School and Beloit Learning Academy often take advantage of Youth Apprenticeship opportunities to further their real-life work experience and prepare themselves to enter the workforce upon graduation.

Kadin Albright, Jacob Bernal, Zach Bradley and Adam Mercado will begin their Youth Apprenticeship in architecture and construction with Community Action, Inc.

Sebastian Kirkpatrick is at Rock County Honda and Gavan Labott is at Finley Buick GMC. Both are taking advantage of an apprenticeship in transportation, distributions & logistics.

Merrill Reed, III is in his second year as an apprentice in manufacturing at Frito-Lay PepsiCo. Reed was one of three students selected for the first-ever national apprenticeship program offered through Frito-Lay Pepsico.

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