ESL Federal Credit Union

ESL Federal Credit Union

Partnering with a community college to increase employee diversity and provide students with meaningful work experience


ESL Federal Credit Union recognizes that its employee base must reflect the demographics of the surrounding community to better serve its members. However, like many companies, ESL faces challenges hiring and retaining employees from diverse backgrounds at all levels of the organization. As a nationally recognized “Great Place to Work”, ESL wants to change this.


To create a pipeline of diverse candidates, ESL joined the Talent Rewire Innovation Lab and launched a new “earn and learn” program in partnership with Monroe Community College (MCC). The program focuses on MCC students from underrepresented backgrounds in the financial services industry. Each student receives a $2,000 annual scholarship (for a maximum of two years) and is hired as a teller at ESL with a flexible schedule to accommodate their school schedule.

ESL intentionally designed their pilot to create a network of support for the students. The company provides participating students coaching, mentorship, and professional development training, while MCC provides the services of a resource navigator to help students find the resources they need for a successful experience. Another interesting design element is the opportunity for students to explore various roles at ESL after one year to match their career interests, which may include roles in marketing and human resources.

The Outcome

The first cohort of five students began in January 2018. After seven months, all but one student was retained in the program, resulting in 80% retention. This was the goal ESL was striving for as it is higher than the first-year retention rate for tellers. While the program demands more flexibility from branch managers, ultimately they are committed to working with the students to help them realize their professional goals. And they do see benefits. The program has provided extra coverage in the branches on Fridays and Saturdays — days which align well with students’ class schedules.

ESL has started recruiting for their next cohort of students in partnership with MCC.

This project brought to you in part by

Monroe Community College (MCC)