As the largest bank headquartered in Wisconsin and with a 160-year history, Associated Bank has built its legacy by supporting the individuals, families and businesses right here in the Midwest. We believe our success begins and ends with people. The establishment and nurturing of a culture where colleagues feel valued, respected and open to sharing ideas and perspectives is at the core of Associated Bank.
We recognize our colleagues as critical resources to fulfill our company’s vision, values and aspirations, and are committed to investing in the growth and development of our people to support a diverse, inclusive and equitable culture. We view building and advancing an inclusive culture as a business imperative, critical to our success. Our results show in the words of our colleagues who have described our culture as diverse, inclusive and transparent in our past three annual workplace surveys.
Over the past 10 years, we have focused on building a more inclusive and equitable environment both within and outside of our company. Our efforts focus on enhancing our workforce, strengthening our markets, and fostering a culture of belonging for our colleagues, customers and the communities we serve.
We started our D&I (now DEI) journey with the establishment of a Diversity and Inclusion Council and several Colleague Resource Groups (CRGs), otherwise known as Employee Resource Groups. We now have six CRGs, including Forward Abilities (focused on disability awareness and inclusion), Cultural Awareness, Young Professionals, Pride & Equality, Women’s, and a Veterans CRG. Our CRGs are a core strength of our DE&I culture. To create greater organizational awareness of the power of diversity, each group takes specific actions to address the unique needs of the populations within our company and markets.
The Forward Abilities CRG was launched in late 2016 and has a mission to celebrate the unique abilities in everyone through disability awareness, education and programs that support the needs of our colleagues and communities.
One of our goals is to provide regular communication and training for leaders and all colleagues to increase awareness around the opportunities and benefits of hiring individuals with disabilities. An example of the results of these efforts is the recent hiring of an individual on the autism spectrum to work at our Green Bay Service Center. The individual is a student completing a certification program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, and was matched with Associated Bank through their school internship coordinator. The coordinator worked with our Talent Acquisition team and Forward Abilities CRG to determine employment options within the bank. We continually look to expand upon similar opportunities and to increase the scope of what is possible through partnership.
As an organization, we are proud to work with Disability:IN Wisconsin, and to network with other Wisconsin based companies who have similar goals toward ensuring a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce. Disability:IN Wisconsin provides great opportunities to share and learn best practices from other companies, and to stay up to date with trends and strategies to support our colleagues with disabilities. Together, we are making a positive difference in our communities.