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From the 2021 Fifth Third Bancorp ESG Report: Supporting Individuals With Disabilities

From the 2021 Fifth Third Bancorp ESG Report: Supporting Individuals With Disabilities

Published 10-14-22

Submitted by Fifth Third Bancorp

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Five Project SEARCH employees who celebrated 15 years of employment with Fifth Third. Pictured, from left to right in the back row are, Collin Biddle, investor specialist I, Evan Deneberg, file document specialist I, Nathan Michelson, bankcard adjuster I, Esther Ann, general office clerk II. Sarah Keyes, receptionist, is in front.

We are proud of our 16-year leadership of Project SEARCH, a school-to-work transition program for high school students with disabilities. The goal of Project SEARCH is to provide students with competitive employment at the end of the one-year program. We were one of the founders of this public-private partnership, which was developed by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and now operates in more than 625 sites worldwide.

Fifth Third has operated Project SEARCH programs for 16 years in Cincinnati and 14 years in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Through the end of 2021, we have trained more than 382 individuals; of those, 33 are now Bank employees.

Fifth Third recently facilitated a new effort through its partnership with EverFi and offered our Finance Academy curriculum to over 500 Project SEARCH programs across the world.

Project SEARCH’s annual golf outing exceeded expectations and garnered record attendance. The event raised $50,000 through sponsor donations and support from Fifth Third. To date, this event has contributed over $1.6 million to help support the program.

Based on needs identified by our Individuals with Disabilities BRG, Fifth Third offered a special financial education course for teammates who live with or have family members with a disability. The 2021 session focused on helping these families manage everyday expenses, use Fifth Third benefits, make the most of government resources and establish a plan for long term needs.

Fifth Third was the first bank to design a checking account for the Achieving a Better Life Experience program, known as ABLE. ABLE accounts are state-sponsored saving and investment accounts that allow individuals with disabilities and their families to save and invest private assets for disability-related expenses without losing access to federal-means tested benefits, such as Supplemental Social Security Income, Medicaid, HUD, SNAP and other benefts.* Our ABLE accounts are a result of our work with the National ABLE Alliance, a consortium dedicated to providing those living with disabilities and their families with low cost investment products. We saw an 87% increase in program participation from 2020 to 2021, and we expanded the checking product to our Michigan region.

To continue our journey to be the leading employer for people with disabilities, Fifth Third in 2021 embarked on developing a neurodiversity hiring program that will launch in 2022. We entered into an agreement with Integrate Autism Employment Advisors for support of this program, which will enable us to hire neurodivergent candidates that will bring unique skills and perspectives to the Bank.

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