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KeyBank Summer Bridge students broaden career horizons, practice business skills with Key employees

By Amy Thomas in Community Posted July 31, 2018

A group of about 60 students in the University of Colorado Summer Bridge program visited Key Equipment Finance’s offices this month to learn about career options in banking and finance.

The students were part of the CU Leeds School of Business KeyBank Summer Bridge Program for EXCEL Scholars, a three-week program designed to prepare students for success at Leeds and the greater CU community. The students, from underrepresented, first-generation and low-income backgrounds, are chosen for the program because they have demonstrated resiliency, talent and promise through essays, letters of recommendation, leadership and work experience.

20180717_135625“I think it’s great for our employees to see the caliber of the students at CU, especially from the Office of Diversity,” said Robin Van Lant, senior program manager, Key Equipment Finance. “There is really a lot of young, ethnically diverse talent.”

Key Equipment Finance, headquartered in Superior just eight miles from the CU campus, hosted the students the afternoon of July 17, exposing them to a business environment so they could learn about the wide variety of positions in the financial industry, hear from Key employees about their jobs, and practice business etiquette, networking skills, and elevator pitches.

"We gave them some very tangible advice that, if you don’t have parents who have been to college or in business, you may not know some of these expectations,” Van Lant said.

At the same time, the students met with employees at Key and heard about new possibilities for their futures, including careers in equipment finance, such as sales, credit and analysis, and employment opportunities in other sectors, such as investment banking, commercial real estate and enterprise commercial payments. The students also learned about career paths related to support functions, including human resources, technology and marketing.

KeyBank’s Colorado market, Key Equipment Finance, and the KeyBank Foundation, which are all affiliates of KeyCorp, together have provided a $300,000 commitment over three years through 2018, to support the KeyBank Excel Summer Bridge and other leadership, diversity and internship programs benefitting high school and college students in Colorado.

The support represents 15 years of commitments to Colorado students and also includes the KeyBank Business Leadership Program coordinated with Leeds, which brings together 35-40 high school juniors and seniors who are first-generation, low-income, underrepresented students of color, and/or women from across the state to the CU campus for a one-week, on-campus business intensive experience.

“We’re trying to help these students figure out how to navigate their career options,” Van Lant says. “We really want to see them succeed.”

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