TWIN FALLS — High schoolers peered into a vault Wednesday at Farmers Bank in downtown Twin Falls.
“That’s where the important stuff is kept,” assistant branch manager Cliff Jones told a group of about 15 teenagers.
The vault’s ornate six-ton door was built in 1920 for a bank in California and was used until about 1970, when a bank in Nampa bought it. It has been at Farmers Bank’s Shoshone Street East branch since it opened in the late 1980s.
Farmers Bank was one of several local businesses — including Seastrom Manufacturing, Maxie’s Pizza & Pasta and Target — that opened their doors to students Wednesday as part of a Disability Mentoring Day.
In total, 74 students from 11 schools participated.
Disability Mentoring Day began at the White House in 1999 for a few dozen students. The goal was to promote career development for students who have disabilities through career exploration and mentoring.
Now, local events are held across the country.
Here in Twin Falls, the yearly event is organized by the Magic Valley Transition Team and funded through a grant by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.
The transition team is a volunteer group that helps Magic Valley youth transition to post-high school life.
Students kicked off the day Wednesday by meeting at the Twin Falls Center for the Arts, where they heard presentations, then toured the businesses. They heard from lunchtime speaker Marcos Aguilar, who was born in Ecuador to parents who are deaf.
He and his family moved to the United States so he could pursue his education. Now, he has worked at the Idaho School for the Deaf and the Blind in Gooding for two years.
He asked students what types of personality traits someone would need to work at a bank.
Students’ answers included being trustworthy, smart, honest and friendly.
“People can go to any bank they want,” Jones told students. “We want people to do business with us.”
Employees interact with customers, greet them with a smile and treat them nicely, Jones said.
He said he likes visiting with customers and helping people fulfill their dreams like opening a business, or buying a home or a car.
He explained career options at the bank like being a teller, secretary, loan officer, branch manager and jobs in information technology.
A high school diploma is required to be a teller, while loan officers and those in management positions need a four-year college degree or a lot of experience in business.
And having computer skills is a must. “As we walk around the bank, every desk has a computer on it,” Jones said. “That’s how we keep track of everything.”
When he’s looking to hire an employee, he looks for someone who’s outgoing and personable first, he said, adding he can teach them the skills they’ll need on the job.
“I can’t teach them personality,” he said.
Bank teller Colleen Auth has worked for about 20 years at Farmers Bank. “It’s fun to meet the different people,” she told students.
Loan officer Dennis Peters told students he analyzes loan applications, and his job is how to make the bank’s money grow by collecting interest. He said he analyzes which loans are good risks.
As the tour wrapped up, Jones handed out a souvenir to each student: A gold coin — a reminder of their time at the bank and one of their future career options.