Tech Ready: KeyBank is building the workforce of the future

Unique program retrains teammates for essential tech roles

KeyBank teammates can be retrained for essential tech engineering roles in 14 weeks with the Tech Ready program. (Photo courtesy of KeyBank.)

By Laura DeMarco

KeyBank saw a need for tech talent and took an innovative approach to address it — from the inside.

Launched in January of 2021, KeyBank’s Tech Ready program takes qualified teammates out of their current roles to participate in a 14-week bootcamp in partnership with instructors from Tech Elevator, a Cleveland-based career prep program that offers intensive technology classes. Tech Ready is designed for team members who have consistently demonstrated strong performance in a non-coding role and are looking to transition their skills to a career in technology.

In less than four months, employees are retrained to fill essential engineering roles in Key Technology, Operations & Services (KTOS). Graduates can then take their new skills and permanently transfer into engineering positions. In addition to on-the-job and analytical skills, the bootcamp includes job interview and management preparation. A sixth program cohort is now in session.

The program benefits KeyBank by ensuring they have the talent needed to move forward with digitizing the enterprise and serving clients. It it has also significantly supported KeyBank’s commitment to creating a more diverse workforce by increasing the representation of women and persons of color in technology.

“I believe as leaders, one of the most important things we can do in our jobs is create the workforce of the future. I am so grateful to Tech Elevator for providing this life-changing experience for our teammates,” said KeyBank Chief Information Officer Amy Brady.

One of those teammates is Solution Engineer Angela Townsend-Brooks, who learned about Tech Elevator in 2020.

“The reskilling program aligned perfectly with my interests in the tech field and as a result, I applied for and completed the program in Spring 2022,” she said. “Prior to the bootcamp, I specialized in the detection and investigation of financial crimes. I am currently an Engineer in the Service Digitization department specializing in Robotic Process Automation development.”

Townsend-Brooks highly recommends the program.

“The career development has been awesome to experience. I would recommend the TE program to anyone who is interested in developing their coding skills. I learned the essentials while being able to utilize real-life practice applications through the capstones. The experience was great and anyone who believes in themselves can definitely succeed with the TE program.”

Nia-Marii Bratton was thinking about leaving KeyBank for new opportunity when she learned about Tech Ready in 2021. She started at KeyBank as a call center specialist, but thanks to Tech Ready, today she is an Information Security Analyst.

“I was in school for business and computer science. I didn’t think there was a way for me to transition to the tech department without having that college degree. But in October 2021 I read about Tech Ready. I thought ‘this is exactly what I want to do. I had thought I would have to leave KeyBank and go somewhere else and then re-apply to Key. But this program allowed me to stay.”

Bratton said the 14-week programs is intense, but “it truly prepares you for the tech universe. It gives you the resources you need and the information you need — critical thinking, problem solving, how to manage a team and more.”

The best part? It kept her at KeyBank, moving forward.

“This is a great way for KeyBank to invest in its employees. I would have left for opportunity, but instead got to stay with the company I had been with for four years. This really gives you an example of how forward thinking they are: KeyBank invests in us, and then we can go out and use those skills.”

Resources

KeyBank | Banking, Credit Cards, Mortgages, and Loans

Careers | KeyBank

Coding Bootcamp Cleveland, OH | Tech Elevator

Greater Cleveland Partnership’s All In vision for a Great Region on a Great Lake has five key priorities: Dynamic Business, Abundant Talent, Inclusive Opportunity, Appealing Community and Business Confidence. All of our work ties back to these values. This story relates to Inclusive Opportunity and Abundant Talent.