The Greater Phoenix region has been recently dubbed Wall Street of the West. With rapid expansion, financial services companies are hiring for hundreds of open positions, specifically seeking individuals for entry-level financial advisors, analysts, and investment professionals. As the number jobs increases, employers need alternative paths to develop the talent needed to meet the demands of their clients.

In response to this need, the Greater Phoenix Chamber Foundation’s Financial Services Collaborative launched the Financial Industry Training (FIT) program. FIT is a month-long program to prepare individuals to enter a career in Financial Services. FIT participants receive training for the initial exam towards licensing, the Securities Industry Essentials (SIE), as well as connections to top industry employers.

Every other month the Foundation, along with FIT partners Arizona@Work and Maricopa Corporate College, host an information open house for individuals interested in a financial services career.

FIT participants receive training, weekly study sessions, career guidance and support, and opportunities to network with FIT’s industry employers—Charles Schwab, Merrill Edge, Vanguard, and Wells Fargo.

To date, 11 FIT graduates have passed the SIE exam. FIT graduates have the opportunity to become personal bankers, client relationship associates, retirement plan service representatives, financial services professionals, and many other key roles in the industry.

Learn more about the FIT experience from Zac Hanes, who completed the FIT program in February and is now successfully employed in the financial services industry.


Questions: How has the FIT program helped your career?

Answer: After going through the FIT program, I had a huge advantage with potential employers that other candidates may not have had. Not only did the program give me a jumpstart toward my career, but it allowed me to transition from a completely different career field and learn about all the potential careers in the financial industry.

I was able to meet face-to-face with different employers, find which company was the best fit for me, and gain valuable advice on how I needed to brand myself to be a successful candidate.

I was hired into a group of 14 people, and I was the only new hire that had my SIE, which put me a few months ahead for promotion opportunities. Not only was I ahead of the game, but I already knew all the terms and products that we had to learn in our new hire orientation.

Question: Why did you participate in the FIT program?

Answer: Working as a paramedic, I wanted to transition into a job that would allow me to grow based on my hard work, and give me incentives to learn more and work harder. The FIT program helped by introducing me to employers in the financial services industry where the opportunity to grow is endless, and there is always something new and exciting to learn.

Question: How was your experience getting to know employers through the FIT program?

Answer: By attending the open house and meeting all of the participating employers, I got to meet wonderful people from each organization. Every one of the representatives explained exactly what I could expect as a new employee and gave specific coaching toward becoming a top candidate.

Question: Why should others participate in the FIT program?

Answer: The FIT program gives you opportunities you could not find anywhere else. I was able to make a complete career change in under two months.

Question: What goals do you have for your new career in the financial services industry?

Answer: I want to advance to a position where I am dealing with affluent clients and utilizing complex strategies to maximize their money.

Posted by Danny Imes