Banks is a Detroit-native and thought leader in economic and community development, capital entrepreneurship, social impact investing, and business growth. She graduated from Wayne State University where she received her BS in Business Administration and her Master’s Degree in Urban & Regional Planning, Economic Development.
Most recently, Banks served as Executive Director for Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program at Wayne State University, which invests in small businesses, providing resources needed to succeed. Walker brings more than 20 years of experience helping small businesses across Michigan increase their revenues and creating new job opportunities that exceeded the national average. She’s helped spur economic development in underserved communities, helping create 5,000 new jobs and generating $5.5B in capital investment.
The Shifting Labor Market in Detroit
The Detroit labor pool is now in transition from manufacturing to technology. According to the Detroit Regional Chamber, the city is an IT hotbed where the technology sector thrives. Tech job growth has outpaced the nation and there is a growing need for junior, entry-level talent.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that roughly 40 percent of Detroit residents live below the poverty line, while the unemployment rate is three times higher than the rest of the country.
“The NPower program is designed to meet both the needs of community while also addressing the challenges many businesses face. We are an end-to-end solution—connecting young adults who lack access to the skills required in the digital economy to the fast-growing companies in the region who are in need of diverse entry-level tech workers,” says Kim Mitchell, VP of Program Development at NPower.
Mitchell says Detroit was chosen for this latest expansion after evaluating the needs of the young adult residents as well as listening to the business community.
“I love my City and I’m excited about this new opportunity to engage young adults in Detroit as well as communities throughout Southeastern Michigan,” said Banks. “We are already working with businesses and community leaders, and we've secured a convenient program location in New Center. I’ve devoted a major portion of my professional career to helping small businesses grow and thrive. It is in this spirit that I am committed to preparing the next generation of leaders to develop the tech skills needed to build wealth while contributing to the growth of our region's economy.”
“The Detroit area is full of young adults who deserve an opportunity to develop the skills needed for this digital economy,” said Mitchell. “NPower’s expansion into Detroit will bring equal opportunities to these communities that need it most. And these students won’t pay a dime to obtain the skills needed to launch careers in technology.”
NPower is funded by corporations and foundations, like Fund II Foundation, which is credited with supporting this latest expansion market.
NPower students are unemployed or underemployed, working part-time jobs in restaurants and retail before enrolling in their tech training program. Eighty percent of NPower graduates are employed full-time or enrolled in higher education within one year of completing the six-month tech program. NPower operates in six other states including New York, New Jersey, California, Texas, Maryland, Missouri as well as Toronto, Canada.
More on NPower
NPower is a national nonprofit that offers free tech training and is focused on enhancing the economic situations of veterans and young adults from underserved communities by placing them in quality tech jobs. Students who graduate from their six-month program earn industry-recognized certifications and the same knowledge as an IT professional with one to two years of experience. NPower also places students in paid internships with corporate and nonprofit organizations through which most graduates get a full-time job. The nonprofit is boosting economic growth not only at the individual level but also at the national level. It is improving the American labor economy and leading the shift towards tech labor. To learn more about NPower, visit www.npower.org.
Media Contact: Mark Macias