Bellevue University recently made the headlines in BankNews magazine and Training Magazine online for its partnership with SunTrust Bank, Inc. (NYSE:STI). The University developed and delivers a custom learning program called Professional Banking Operations and Leadership (PBOL) to bank employees seeking to enhance their knowledge and skills in the banking profession.
SunTrust Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Vice President Ken Carrig wrote about the keys to the program's success for the publications.
"First," he said, "we partnered with an organization that shared our values and vision for the program. Bellevue University is committed to providing superior online education to its students, and brought that passion and experience to the partnership. Through a close working relationship, we developed courses tailored to SunTrust and which uniquely prepared teammates to serve our clients better."
Second was to cultivate working relationships across bank branches and states by keeping classes together through the program in a cohort group, allowing members the opportunity to practice leadership skills and work collaboratively toward a common goal. Third was making the program available to all employees, whatever level or role they fill at the bank.
"For human resource leaders," Carrig said, "the right investment in employees is the ultimate win-win scenario. Not only do programs like PATHways build loyalty, but they also allow people to be more successful in their current job. For a service company like SunTrust, this directly impacts the bottom line."
Over the summer, the University and SunTrust celebrated the first 32 SunTrust employees who completed the program.
The program comprises 12 courses — 36 credit hours — customized to address the bank's key performance indicators to ensure that it aligns with the bank's mission and its employees' careers and takes about two years to complete. It is available to all SunTrust employees. SunTrust also offers tuition assistance that covers nearly 75 percent of the program's cost, reflecting the value the company places on its employees and on partner Bellevue University. More than 120 SunTrust employees are enrolled in the program. The credit hours earned may be applied toward a bachelor's degree at Bellevue University as well.
"This is a very innovative learning program in the banking world," commented Mike Echols, Executive Vice President of Bellevue University. "It gives motivated employees the education they want and need to be successful at SunTrust while also giving them the opportunity to earn a college degree. It's clear that SunTrust is an innovative learning leader and that they invest in talent development."
SunTrust, based in Atlanta, Georgia, and Bellevue University partnered to develop this unique program to provide SunTrust teammates with a customized curriculum of in-depth banking industry knowledge and broad exposure to SunTrust's business including SunTrust case studies, communication with SunTrust leaders, and assignments relating to SunTrust business. It was among the first programs of its kind in the banking industry.
As a leading provider of online education, Bellevue University and SunTrust's PBOL program is one of more than two dozen programs that the University has custom-developed with business partners, including other Fortune 500 companies like Verizon Wireless, The Home Depot, First Data and many others.