BLS Executive to Speak at I/DD Event

by Brad - Apr 23, 2015


On May 6, Lori Coruccini, co-founder of Better Learning Systems and LearnKey’s sister company Know Your Talents, Inc., is scheduled to speak at Riding the Wild Haboob, an event for intellectual/developmental disability (I/DD) providers.

Lori’s presentation will cover employee engagement and driving company success through the passion and commitment of employees. Other presenters include John Dacey, a health law attorney, and Tom Schramski, PhD, President of Vertess Advisors.

For more information about the event, visit knowyourtalents.com.



Boots 2 Suits Program Matches Veterans with Mentors

by Melanie - Apr 15, 2015


Know Your Talents partners with ASU’s Pat Tillman Center to Support Boots 2 Suits Program

The Boots to Suits Program through the Pat Tillman Center at ASU is designed to assist veteran students by taking their military skills and education and training and connecting them with the right sources that can help them leverage opportunities for career placement.

The goal of the program is to match veteran students with Corporate Executive Leaders within the community that will mentor them towards reaching their goal of that dream job. Students are matched with mentors based on their natural behaviors as well as their intended career path. In February, the initial launching of the program, a mentor/mentee matching event took place. An estimated 30 students were paired with Executive Leaders from all types of industries, with both the mentor and the mentee receiving a copy of their individual ProScan reports. The ProScan was part of the initial introduction – what an awesome way for them to get to know and understand one another!!

If you are interested in becoming a Mentor, please call us today! 480-349-8900

This post originally appeared as part of the Know Your Talents Spring 2015 Newsletter.



Newest EOM is no stranger to this award!

by Jeff - Apr 06, 2015


Back in October 2013 our employee of the month was recognized for his excellent commitment to quality control and going above and beyond to help us improve our A+ course. Fast forward a year and a half later and we are recognizing him again for doing great work all the time and keeping our core values front and center while he does it.

It gives me great pleasure to congratulate Ben Lee on being selected as our April 2015 employee of the month. In addition to this award he was also promoted to a Senior IT position within LearnKey at the end of last year and is becoming an outstanding overall team member with the same positive “can do attitude”.

I know first hand what a great problem solver he is i.e. and getting him involved with other parts of the business is something that will be great for his career. That said, here is what his manager had to say during the nomination process:

“Before Ben joined the Tech Support team I knew of his ability to research and present information with aplomb.  He glides through such requests with Ease.  Since joining our team his Value has been truly measurable in the impact he has had in raising our collective knowledge and skills.  I can Trust him to dig in with a vengeance and deliver great results, such as with preparing us to move our Tech Support knowledge base to a new vehicle in the near future.  Ben is like a human vending machine that never fails.  You put in your money and he dispenses promptly, and it is always more satisfying than you expected.”

He is such a great person please take a moment to get to know Ben on the personal side through this fun Q&A:

  1. How many children do you have? One baby girl who will be here in June or July.
  2. Who is your best friend and why? My wife is my best friend. She is the person I spend my alone time with. We can discuss anything with each other, and we both love exploring new things together.
  3. Name your wife’s favorite restaurant. It changes from day to day—and with pregnancy status—but she is a big fan of independent diners that provide excellent customer service and high-quality food, like Milt’s Stage Stop, The Little Brick House, and The Pastry Pub.
  4. What is it that you like most about your job and why? I love synthesizing raw data into a format that accomplishes a task or helps other people.
  5. From whom at LearnKey have you learned the most? Whomever I am working closely with. I have learned a lot about time management and priorities from Bart. Val has helped me learn more about calm, effective communication. Sheena has taught me about the importance of procedure. Brian has been a great friend who has helped me understand my own talents and interests better. Kevin is teaching me about self-motivation and drive. Jeff and Lori have taught me a ton about kindness and generosity. I can’t say who has taught me the most, but I can say that I have learned something from everybody at LearnKey.
  6. Name a place you want to take your wife for vacation. I would love to take my wife to Germany for a month in autumn or winter.
  7. What is your ideal dream job in the next five (5) years? My ideal job would entail helping other people gain literacy in language and music.
  8. Name your favorite meal to cook. There are several meals that I enjoy cooking: 蛋饼(Chinese crepes), steamed Chinese food, Yorkshire pudding pancakes (British crepes), and Tomato soup with grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.
  9. If you won a million dollars, name a cause or not for profit you would donate a portion of that to? I would donate money to local small business start-ups that could help make quality education available to both adults and children.

Again, please join me in congratulating Ben on this recent accomplishment and if you know him it’s a pretty good bet in the future we will be saying “third time is a charm!”

Kind Regards,

Jeff Coruccini



My Certification Failure

by Brad - Mar 31, 2015


Recently, I did something I rarely do – I failed a test. You may think, “Big deal, it’s just one test, you’ll pass the next one,” and you would usually be right. Except this wasn’t just any test. It was a certification exam.

A couple of weeks ago, I began watching LearnKey’s Project 2013 training to prepare to take the Managing Projects with Microsoft Project 2013 certification exam. I watched the entire course, took notes, passed all of the pre- and post tests, and reviewed the training for the questions I had missed. I was a little nervous about taking the test, but I felt confident in using the software and figured the test would be pretty easy. I passed a couple of Adobe certification tests with no problems, and I thought the Project 2013 test would be similar.

The first thing I failed to take into account was the fact that I have been using Adobe software for nearly a decade. I probably know Photoshop and Dreamweaver better than any other software out there (with the possible exception of StarCraft or Age of Empires, but that’s a whole other ballgame).

Whenever someone asks me for advice on how to pass a certification exam, I always tell them one thing: Explore the software. Open up the menus, learn the features, figure things out on your own, and become proficient. No matter how good a training course is, there is no substitute for real-world experience. As I watched the training, I followed along in Project 2013 and learned enough to feel comfortable using it, but I didn’t spend very much time exploring the software on my own.

The second thing I failed to take into account was that the exam structure may not be the same as the Adobe exams I have taken in the past. Adobe exams place a heavy emphasis on lab-type questions where the students show they know the software by performing tasks in a simulated environment. I thought that even if I didn’t know everything about Project 2013, I could find my way around in the simulated environment.

As soon as I started the exam, I knew I was in trouble. The questions were all scenario-based and there was not a single simulation-based question in the entire exam. I had not prepared for these types of questions! The questions were also more difficult than I had anticipated. It’s not enough to be able to use the software; certification exams are geared toward expert users. I should have spend a lot more time exploring the software.

I just scheduled a retake of the Project 2013 certification exam. I plan to re-watch the training and take better notes. This time, I will follow my own advice, as well as the advice given in our Exam Prep with Tom Carpenter LearnCast course. This time, I will give the exam the respect it deserves by putting in the necessary study time and fully exploring Project 2013. This time, I plan to pass.



New Course Release: OS X Fundamentals

by Beau - Mar 11, 2015


We have released our OS X Fundamentals course today! This course is a part of our Computer Foundations course. The difference is that this course was made for those who use Mac computers. Many people use computers on a daily basis. So it is important to know the basics of operating a computer.

OS X Fundamentals Course

The OS X Fundamentals course is designed for a user new to the world of Mac computers. Specifically demonstrated on OS X Yosemite, LearnKey’s fundamentals course demonstrates the most common functions of the operating system to enable a new user to feel confident in their ability to use a Mac. The course covers systems preference basics, desktop, customization, out of the box setup, installing/uninstalling apps, and much more.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed. For information and to learn about additional LearnKey products visit our website.



Culture Coach? Newest EOM does that too!

by Jeff - Mar 02, 2015


Melanie Benitez

You always remember when you meet people who are smart and make things appear easy to do. Our newest Better Learning Systems/Know Your Talents employee of the month Melanie Benitez has won over our entire company with that style of work over the past year and a half.

That is why when we wanted to introduce a “Culture Coach” she was the perfect person in our company to launch something new like this, and has successfully started by working with our LearnKey Production teams first. Rolling out something new to employees is a big deal and having someone like her with a positive “can do” attitude is a great quality and strength, which Melanie leverages successfully with her peers.

One who doesn’t like to say no (High P!) and gets things done as quickly as “the snap of a finger” has even been compared to that of Barbara Eden from the TV sitcom “I dream of Jeannie!” Melanie just makes things happen. Supporting internal and external customers and consultants with great success is another part of her job, and couple that with the great reputation she has with long-standing trusted partners such as Maricopa Workforce Connections, WIA folks, and MAXIMUS that is a true testament to the type of professionalism she brings our company.

Please take a moment and get to know Melanie’s personal side with a fun Q&A:

1. How many siblings do you have? I have one older sister and one older brother and then a younger step brother and step sister.
2. What is your favorite movie? Have lots of favorites but I would have to say “Blast from the Past” is my top favorite.
3. What is your favorite band? No favorite really, listen to all kinds of music from Christian to Classic Rock. Like a lot of variety in what I listen to.
4. What is your favorite vacation spot? Napa Valley – could spend an entire summer there just learning about wine and visiting all the amazing eateries there.
5. What was your high school’s mascot? Bulldog
6. What is the weirdest combination of foods you have eaten? I don’t know about a combination of foods, but I did try chicken feet once in Chinatown in LA.
7. What is/was the name of your favorite pet? Well I have two, both my pups I have right now. Annie is a Beagle and Hudson is a Brussel Griffon – can’t imagine life without them!!
8. What was your first car? A 1970 Chevy Chevelle – wish I still had that car!!
9. If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? I would love to see Italy!
10. Would you rather sky dive, bungee jump, zip line, or parasail? Ummm, that would be none of the above. Did get into a hot air balloon one time and that was pretty amazing…this stuff… a bit too “risky” for me.
11. What is the funniest saying you have heard around here? Last week from a client during a PDP Certification workshop “If you have to eat a frog don’t stare at it too long” was a new one to me and quoted from Mark Twain.
12. If you could eat dinner with anyone from the past, present, or future, who would it be and why? I would probably say my grandfather, he was a very firm but kind German man, would be fun to have a behavioral conversation with him!

Please join me in congratulating Melanie on her display of all our core values Ease, Value, and Trust, while being a terrific team member and part of the Better Learning Systems family. We are both proud and very fortunate to have her on our team!



New Course Release: Project 2013

by Beau - Feb 26, 2015


LearnKey’s Project 2013 course will introduce learners to the new features of Project 2013. Join LearnKey expert Michael Solomon as you learn how to start a project, create a schedule, manage resources, and more. This course is perfect for beginners and experts alike.

Our hope is that through our courseware we may provide learners with the guidance, preparation, and skills they need to succeed. For more information and to learn about additional LearnKey products visit our website.



Veteran Testimonial – Tristan Roberts

by Jenna - Feb 20, 2015


When my friend Joe talks about his time in the Army, he’s told me that he misses “that feeling of brotherhood.” While I’ve never served in the military, I have an incredibly close relationship with my family and remember how alone and cut off I often felt from their care, direction, and loyalty during the year I lived abroad after college.

After I came home and started working as a Veteran Services Rep, I was struck by the loyalty and caring that I saw demonstrated so often at LearnKey. I loved (and still love) listening in on the other LKVS ladies and hearing them talking about their vets’ successes. I loved (and still love) that in our weekly meetings we all (and by “we all” I mean the advisors, the VSRs, the Know Your Talents team, Jeff Coruccini and our awesome tutor Tristan) celebrate together whenever a veteran earns a certification, gets a job interview, or finishes their program with us. Most of all I loved—and love—that when we announce our vets’ successes, we say all their names instead of giving the group a number.

Tristan in particular continues to impress me with his efforts on our veterans’ behalf. When I met Tristan and put a face to the voice on the speakerphone, my initial impression was that he was just as mellow and calm in person as he was on the phone. Now that I’m starting to direct the veterans I assist to him for tutoring help, I really respect the way Tristan reaches out so quickly, offers his help and is always working to create more study materials.

Watching Tristan’s testimonial about the Blue Ocean program and looking back on my earliest days at LearnKey was a powerful reminder for me that OUR end goal here will never be racking up certifications, program completions, or even job placements. We’re here to give people the chance to build on the values they lived through their service to our country and to be the loyal, caring support system that they deserve.

This is Jenna’s debut LearnKey blog post! She has been a Veteran Services Rep with us for four awesome months. Jenna loves theatre, smoothies, her husband, and being asked about her year teaching English in China!



8 LearnKey Career Paths That Will Increase Your Yearly Income

by Brad - Feb 18, 2015


According to the United States Census Bureau, the median household income in 2013 in the United States was $51,939. While this was a slight rise from the previous year, 2010 and 2011 both saw significant declines in the median household income. 2014 saw the median income rise to levels more consistent with those in 2010, but they are still significantly lower than in 2009.

Household income levels are related to the rise and fall in the economy, but there are steps that can be taken to see an increase in income during hard economic times. LearnKey has designed a series of training bundles to help job seekers prepare for careers that will continue to be in demand, even when the economy is poor. Here are eight of LearnKey’s career paths which have the highest potential to raise your salary above the median household income:

Accounting and Finance
Accounting and finance workers are responsible for financial documents, forecasts, reports, direct investment activities, financial analysis strategies, balance sheets, loans, payroll, auditing, bookkeeping and other financial transactions. Knowledge of computer programs is essential in today’s market. Individuals in the accounting and finance role need to keep up-to-date on the latest technology in order to increase the efficiency of their firms financial operations.

  • Median Pay: $61,000-$64,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications (CPA or CMA) or Bachelor’s Degree (recommended not required)
  • Careers available in many industries (hospitality, corporate, government, etc)

Business Management
Business managers perform a broad range of duties in virtually every sector of the economy. Generally management roles are split into two levels, first-line managers and mid-level managers. First-line managers directly supervise a staff that performs various support services. Mid-level managers develop departmental plans, set goals, deadlines, implement procedures to improve productivity and customer service, and define the responsibilities of supervisory-level managers.

  • Median Pay: $78,000-$81,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Bachelor’s Degree
  • Careers available in many industries (information technology, administrative, financial, purchasing, and human resources)
  • Should maintain and enhance skills in team building, leadership, and workplace law to maintain a competitive edge within company

Computer Security Specialist
A computer security specialist’s main responsibility is to ensure the security, integrity, and safety of an organization’s data. Individuals should have specific knowledge on wireless networking, cyber-space management and adapt their knowledge to stay ahead of cyber-attacks.

  • Median Pay: $75,000-$86,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Associate’s Degree
  • Careers available in many industries (government, retail, manufacturing, data processing, and other information industries)

Computer Systems Analyst
A computer systems analyst determines which type of computer system will best serve the needs of a business or organization, by helping them run more efficiently. This position requires the ability to focus on more than a single project. At times a computer systems analyst may be required to work on multiple projects at one time. Computer systems analysts will often work with the managers of different departments to determine what technology and computer systems are needed.

  • Median Pay: $71,000-$81,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Bachelor’s Degree
  • Careers available in many industries (computer systems, insurance, banks, and hospitals)

Database Administrator
A database administrator determines ways to organize and store data using database management system software. They identify user requirements, test and set up databases, and coordinate modifications to the systems. A database administrator understands the platform on which the database runs, ensures data integrity, backs up systems, and manages the performance of systems. A database administrator ensures that users have access to the data they need and keep data safe from unauthorized access.

  • Median Pay: $73,000-$77,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Bachelor’s Degree
  • Careers available in many industries (computer systems, insurance, banks, and hospitals)

IT Network or System Administrator
IT network or system administrators are tech savvy experts, responsible to ensure the day-to-day efficient use of networks and systems within a company or organization. This position requires an individual to be knowledgeable with cyber-security practices, to protect a business’s important information.

  • Median Pay: $69,000-$71,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Associate’s Degree
  • Careers available in many industries (government, retail, manufacturing, data processing, and other information industries)

Software Developer
Software developers are responsible for developing applications for computers and other devices that allow people to perform a specific task. They also design systems that are used to control networks or run various devices. Developers work closely with customers to ensure that their needs are understood and will work through any complaints. A developer is responsible for any upgrades and maintenance to a program.

  • Median Pay: $90,000-$93,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Bachelor’s Degree
  • Careers available in many industries

Web Developer
Web designers create, design, develop, and maintain websites using authoring and scripting languages, create content and digital media, and employ standards and technologies for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce websites. Along with the look of a website, a developer is also responsible for the technical aspects and content of a site.

  • Median Pay: $60,000-$63,000 per year
  • Minimum Education: Industry Certifications or Bachelor’s Degree

Income and education information courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition. Accessed March 2014.



6 Simple Tips to Advance Your Career

by Brad - Feb 12, 2015


Do you ever feel trapped in a dead-end job or feel like you’ve reached the height of your career? I’m sure most of us have felt that way at some point in our lives. Most of us want to advance in our careers, but we don’t always know where to start.

A couple of years ago, I worked on a course which required extensive research on how to succeed at work. While I’m sure there are many things we could add to the list, all of my research seemed to boil down to six simple steps that anyone can follow to advance in their career.

Be Consistent

While it can be fun and exciting to be spontaneous, it is rarely appreciated in most workplaces. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun at work, but inconsistency can quickly kill your career. Simple things like following a set schedule, arriving on time for your job, and maintaining a high quality of work can put you on the fast track for a promotion. There are few things more frustrating for a manager than not knowing when employees will show up or what the quality of their work will be like when they do.

Challenge Yourself

No matter how enjoyable your job is, performing the same tasks day after day can get repetitive and make you feel like you’re in a slump. Sometimes the fix for this can be as simple as developing a better way to complete a task. If that’s not an option, you may choose to volunteer for new assignments or use your downtime to work on new projects.
Another way to challenge yourself is to learn new skills. Many employees have access to training programs through their companies, and for those who don’t there are many online options, such as LearnKey’s self-paced training courses. The more knowledge and skills you can acquire, the more valuable you can make yourself to your company.

Show Loyalty

You may not always agree with everything, but supporting your manager’s decisions can go a long way toward advancing your career. Your manager may not always do things the way you would do them, but that doesn’t mean their method is wrong. Don’t undermine your manager’s authority by airing your grievances publicly. Carefully determine which battles are truly worth fighting and talk to your manager privately if you have a legitimate concern.

Admit Your Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes. John Wooden once said, “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.” When you make a mistake, you have two choices: try to blame your mistake on someone else, or admit your mistake and work to correct it. In all areas of life, those who freely admit to their mistakes and work to correct them gain more respect than those who are constantly trying to push their mistakes onto others.

Stand Up for Yourself

You are an important asset to the company, and sometimes you need to remind your manager of that. Find ways to subtly market yourself, like offering to help on a project for which you have a private talent. Make a list of contributions you have made within the company and use those when asking for a raise or promotion. And don’t be afraid to ask. If you feel you are unlikely to get what you want, start with something bigger and negotiate down. If your manager has concerns about your work or qualifications, ask for feedback on how you can improve.

Find a Mentor

Sometimes all you need to get ahead is someone to show you how it’s done. Find someone you look up to and observe their work habits and methods. You can even formalize the relationship by asking the person to mentor you. Many companies have structured mentoring programs where you can set guidelines and define your goals and expectations. In the absence of a formal mentoring program, mentoring can happen as a natural outgrowth of mutual respect.

I hope you find these six tips useful and good luck in your career advancement!



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