COOP Careers and Barclays Partner to Launch Financial Services Training Program

The nonprofit’s newest program track will equip the next generation of finance professionals with the skills and networks they need to secure full-time employment and overcome underemployment

NEW YORK, Aug. 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- COOP Careers, a nonprofit that enables first-generation and low-income college graduates to overcome underemployment through digital skills and peer connections, today announced the launch of its Financial Services track with an initial pilot in partnership with Barclays LifeSkills.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that business and finance employment will grow faster than all U.S. occupations. Certain roles within finance, like financial examiner, are projected to grow by more than double the national average. The new program will help ensure that COOP students aiming for careers in these areas are properly skilled, connected and ready to compete.

“To maximize our growth and impact, we tailored this new program to better align with burgeoning opportunities in the labor market,” said Sarah Wessel, Managing Director of Partnerships at COOP Careers. “On top of our success meeting demands for careers in digital marketing, data analytics and business development, we see a significant opportunity to diversify our training and create pathways to lucrative careers. We are grateful to Barclays, and all of our corporate partners, for their collaboration and support.”

Since 2013, the Barclays LifeSkills program has helped millions of young professionals prepare for the world of work. It has enabled people to build the skills, knowledge and confidence they need to succeed at work and stay in control of their money. Barclays LifeSkills partners with employability experts, such as COOP, to design programs that make a positive and enduring difference — with a focus on those who would otherwise get left behind.

“Barclays is proud to support COOP and the launch of the Financial Services track, and we are committed to helping equip graduates with the skills and networks to successfully secure employment,” said Deborah Goldfarb, Global Head of Citizenship, Barclays. “We look forward to leveraging the expertise of our colleagues in support of the COOPers and to help COOP continue to make an impact in building a strong network of diverse talent in the sector.”

The Next-Generation of Finance Professionals

The inaugural program will consist of two groups of 18 students each who will complete a robust 200-hour Financial Services curriculum with support and insight from distinguished industry leaders. Eighty-three percent of the pilot program participants in the Financial Services track are first-generation college graduates, and 97% are from traditionally underrepresented groups.

The program lays a strong foundation for work in the financial industry through a specialized data and finance curriculum.

Equally important, the program offers resources to help students build a professional network and refine critical job candidate skills like resume writing, interviewing and developing a LinkedIn profile.

Creating Compelling Results

In addition to its curriculum design support and feedback for this new program, Barclays recently hosted a banking sector presentation, and participated on a career panel, for the incoming Financial Services students as well as COOP alumni. The longstanding partnership with Barclays LifeSkills has enabled more than 10 COOP alumni to secure full-time positions with Barclays.

COOP has produced compelling outcomes for thousands of individuals across the US. Recent graduates entering the program earn $15,000/year on average, even after earning a bachelor’s degree. Within 12 months of program completion, four-in-five COOP alumni are fully employed, earning an average of $50,000 or more per year – over three times their pre-program income. These careers are “sticky” – with around 80% of alumni remaining fully employed two to five years post-COOP – and upwardly mobile: as alumni earn a median of $75,000 at the five-year mark.

Over the next year, COOP will build and iterate on the Financial Services track with the potential to expand to other COOP markets – San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, Chicago and Miami. The nonprofit will also continue to scale partnerships with large financial institutions throughout NYC and the tri-state area.

About COOP Careers
COOP Careers (pronounced “ko-op”) closes the social capital gap by recruiting and investing deeply in low-income and first-generation college grads from CUNY, Cal State, and other urban public colleges. It connects recent graduates with employers looking for motivated, prepared, diverse candidates. More importantly, COOP Careers connects underrepresented college grads to each other across generations of program alumni. The nonprofit has served almost 5,000 alumni nationwide and strives to serve 10,000 by 2025. Its flagship program trains graduates in digital marketing, business development, data analytics and now financial services. COOP Careers has been recognized by Google, Salesforce, LinkedIn, the Gates Foundation, and the Christensen Institute as a best-in-class program in its field. Founder Kalani Leifer was selected as one of 20 Obama Foundation Fellows, among 20,000 candidates. Learn more at

About Barclays

Barclays is a British universal bank. We are diversified by business, by different types of customer and client, and geography. Our businesses include consumer banking and payments operations around the world, as well as a top-tier, full service, global corporate and investment bank, all of which are supported by our service company which provides technology, operations and functional services across the Group. For further information about Barclays, please visit our website

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