Previously, we were only offering a summer program for college students interested in working in our branches. However, many other departments were interested in a summer internship program, but the Bank lacked the infrastructure to run a company-wide internship program. We also recognized our employee population was not as diverse as we wanted.
We started the Diversity Internship Program in 2017, focused on attracting and hiring minority students from three Virginia Historic Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU), Hampton University, Virginia State University and Virginia Union University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. All four universities have a focus on attracting minority students. This program also focused on exposing diverse students to the banking industry and Atlantic Union Bank. We provide 10 paid summer internships, which last approximately 10 weeks, each year. In subsequent years, we have opened the program to diverse students at numerous additional colleges and universities.
The student interns are given real-world assignments with specific business objectives. We also provide the interns at least one mentor to provide them guidance and advice while at the Bank. In addition, the students meet bi-weekly with an HR Internship program manager to develop and present a solution to a company-related issue impacting their generation to the Executive Leadership Team.
Each year, Atlantic Union Bank receives an actionable business solution that can be used to further the company’s offerings. The students have an opportunity to present to an Executive Leadership Team with the benefit of a professional to coach and mentor them and network with Leaders at Atlantic Union Bank and students from other universities. Due to COVID 19 and participating departments having moved to a remote working status, the internship program was postponed until 2021. To date, 24 diverse students have participated in the internship program.