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Bellevue University Partnership Paves Way to Increase Business, Personal Success Through Career-Relevant Learning Program

Posted on: September 26, 2014

SunTrust Bank recently honored 32 employees who completed a customized learning program, created in partnership with Bellevue University, to enhance SunTrust employees banking knowledge, leadership ability and career opportunities.

The Professional Banking and Operations Leadership (PBOL) learning program curriculum is customized to SunTrust's business and is designed to provide the knowledge and skills employees need to contribute to corporate goals.

Bellevue University, a national leader in providing career-relevant post-secondary learning opportunities for working adults, remains at the forefront of developments in the delivery of customized and contextualized education. Through its Strategic Initiatives division, the university works with corporations and businesses to create custom learning programs that align with the organization's mission and key performance indicators (KPIs) and that develop employee talent, knowledge and leadership ability.

For example, PBOL is offered exclusively to SunTrust employees across the U.S. The program yields in-depth banking knowledge, develops communication skills and focuses on the importance of the client experience. Combining banking operational elements with the core tenets of leadership helps employees learn how to navigate the complexities of today's business environment as well as prepare for future opportunities within the SunTrust organization.

"The program is one of the education initiative investments we're making that demonstrates our commitment to helping our teammates succeed and grow professionally," said Ken Carrig, chief human resources officer at SunTrust Bank. "Providing our teammates with the tools and training to enhance their industry and financial services knowledge, as well as foster career development, helps us better serve our clients."

SunTrust honored the first class to complete the program with celebrations in Richmond, Virginia; Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; and Orlando, Florida. These students earned 36 college credits (12 courses) that they may elect to apply toward the university's bachelor's degree in professional banking and operations leadership. SunTrust leadership voiced their appreciation of the value of PBOL for its employees.

"I'm struck by how the practical application of this knowledge can be used every day," said Jack Wixted, executive vice president for SunTrust. "This plants the seed for a continuous learning organization. The lift you get from developing your talent is pretty significant. If you think about how you win in banking or in any business, it's through talent."

Employees who completed the program value the opportunity and the knowledge they gained.

"I learned so much. It has changed the way I make decisions for what I do - for the shareholders. Now I understand why SunTrust management makes the decisions they do," said Crystal Sheppard, of Atlanta, Georgia, who completed the program.

"This has been a 'bucket list' item for a long time," said Dana Barry of Smyrna, Georgia, another employee who completed the program. "I already had my associate's degree, so when this program came along it was the best opportunity for three reasons: To invest in myself and cross that off the list, to be a role model for my son, and to give back to SunTrust."

"SunTrust Bank is a prime example of a company leading the way in talent management," said Michael E. Echols, Ph.D., senior vice president of Bellevue University's Strategic Initiatives division, the group that developed the custom learning program in tandem with subject matter experts and SunTrust Bank. "It is clear that from the top down, the bank's leadership understands the power of relevant education and an investment in your people. In our view, it's the best investment the bank - and individuals who want to grow in their careers - can make."

PATHways is open to all SunTrust employees and SunTrust tuition assistance covers approximately 75 percent of the program costs.

Bellevue University partners with many Fortune 500® companies locally and across the nation to provide learning solutions to business challenges. Chief among these challenges is filling the leadership pipeline with engaged, knowledgeable employees who can understand and contribute to corporate goals. That's why the university combines faculty expertise with subject matter expertise to develop curricula customized or contextualized to the business and its KPIs. The university has already developed contextualized programs in call center operations, retail management and banking, among others.

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