Kingsville-based Kleberg Bank is featured in the latest issue of The Islander magazine for its robust internship program. The Islander, published by Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi (TAMU–CC), touts the community bank for helping cultivate “a vibrant South Texas workforce by connecting students and employers through internships and, ultimately, permanent employment. TAMU-CC’s Career and Professional Development Center and Kleberg Bank…have teamed up throughout the years to help Islander students bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world experience. The benefits are two-fold: employers gain access to a qualified talent pool and students attain quality entry-level experiences to jumpstart their careers.
“This opens up a world of opportunities in their own backyard, and allows us to retain the best talent,” Gabe Guerra, Kleberg Bank president and CEO, told The Islander. “We must connect with the university to build our future workforce. As a community, we have to do our best to retain and grow our own local talent.”
The publication profiles Gabrielle Guerra (no relation to Gabe Guerra), who graduated from TAMU–CC with a BBA degree in marketing in 2021. She began her journey at Kleberg Bank as an intern. A year and a half later, Gabrielle transitioned into a full-time role as a digital marketing specialist.
“I am grateful to Kleberg Bank for making internships available to students like me,” Gabrielle told The Islander. “I came to work for Kleberg Bank as a college student and have now emerged as a professional working in my chosen area of study. The time I’ve spent at the bank has allowed me to grow in so many different aspects of my professional life.”
Gabrielle says the internship prepared her for her current role by pairing her with an industry mentor. “Emily Barrera, Kleberg Bank’s marketing and communications director, helped me gain integral skills,” Gabrielle tells the magazine. “I wasn’t initially familiar with the Adobe Creative Suite, and through the training and support Emily provided, I am now adept in its use. Having access to a mentor with years of experience is invaluable and has contributed positively to my growth.”
The magazine goes on to profile other students who have interned at Kleberg Bank and benefitted greatly from the experience. Student Ryan Cardin is quoted as saying, “Most of what I know now is because of my internship, but school helped me have the foundational blocks to be able to add this information. They go hand in hand.”
According to The Islander, “Gabe Guerra…attributes the successful partnership between the Island University and Kleberg Bank to the commitment from the leadership teams at both institutions. He challenges other local businesses to engage with the university’s brightest minds.”
“It is truly rewarding watching these young people be inspired to do their best and be their best, and how we help build their professional confidence,” Guerra said. “Whether the interns stay with Kleberg Bank or move on to other jobs, I know we’ve made a difference in their lives. At the end of the day, it’s gratifying to see these young people say, ‘I love where I work and I’m just so happy I was given an opportunity.’”