The innovation and technology teams at U.S. Bank are partnering with a community and technical college down the street from its corporate headquarters in Minneapolis to help address the workforce talent gap in technology fields.
In a new partnership with Minneapolis College, U.S. Bank has contributed $50,000 in 15 named scholarships for students in the School of Information Technology, sponsored welcome week on campus and hosted a hackathon competition. Throughout the school year, its leaders will also participate in networking events and job fairs, as well as provide guest lectures on cybersecurity, programming, engineering, cloud infrastructure and more.
“We are aiming to support the educational journeys of Minneapolis College students by exposing them to practical, real-world technological innovation,” said Stephanie Hammes-Betti, senior vice president of innovation design at U.S. Bank. “At the same time, we see it as an opportunity to build a pipeline of talent for our future workforce.”
At the recent hackathon competition, students spent two days brainstorming, developing and pitching apps that aimed to solve a real-world business problem: how to help college students manage their money.
Eight teams of students used Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) from the U.S. Bank Developer Portal to build their apps, complete with working prototypes, before pitching them to a panel of judges from U.S. Bank, Minneapolis College and Microsoft.
Ideas ranged from a virtual financial advisor to a digital take on the piggy bank. The first-place winners, Team Oink (pictured below), created an app that helps users reach financial goals by keeping track of bills and easily communicating – in seconds – whether they can afford to make an impulsive purchase. The team consisted of three web designers from the School of Design & Arts and two coders from the School of Information Technology, an example of the interdisciplinary nature of the workforce today.
U.S. Bank Senior Vice President and Portfolio Executive Rick Barbari (pictured below) said, “As a hackathon judge, I was blown away by the thoughtfulness, technical prowess and teamwork of the students as they focused their creative energy on our marketplace commitment to a digitally-enabled customer experience. Partnering directly with students reinforced the importance of our scholarship investment in the future of these emerging technology leaders.”
Minneapolis College President Dr. Sharon Pierce said that the partnership with U.S. Bank is part of an ongoing effort to equip students with the skills to enter high-demand fields.
“Every day you see stories about the labor shortage in Minnesota and across the country, which leaves a record amount of positions vacant and threatens the prosperity of our economy,” said Pierce. “Minneapolis College is proud to be a part of the workforce solution to this issue for U.S. Bank.”
Written by Taryn Van Ausdell of U.S. Bank.