Last week Better Learning Systems announced the recipients of our 2016 2nd quarter Key Contributor Awards. One of the key benefits of this announcement is I use it as an opportunity to remind our team members of how important a role our core values, Ease, Value, & Trust, have in this accomplishment.
You see this award truly rolls up to making sure those individuals exemplify our core values, and the one thing that stays constant is they can’t do it alone; it takes a team. Our past recipients, Kim Johnson, Wyett Ihler, and Jason Manibog are big team players and truly support any team member they can.
Speaking of support we also had a theme this past year and it has been SUPPORT. There is a ton of that going on within our companies – it truly is part of our culture. Our production teams, mobile workforce, sales/client services, Veteran Services team, technical support teams, and administrative support working together is what is helping drive our success.
One team that really jumped out year-to-date was our Know Your Talents team. The behavioral consulting arm of the company is not only living our core values and supporting one another, they have also increased revenues 200% vs. same period last year.
That is why it gives me great pleasure to announce the Better Learning Systems Key Contributor Award winners for the 2nd quarter are Melanie Benitez and Sarah Blik!
Sarah has had such a great year with her new sales and growth of existing customers. The largest to date for Sarah has been the Sundt/DPR joint ventures that she has sold. AND she continues to gain referrals across the country due to her success and relationships built with all the Executive Directors of the projects. Sarah has also launched us into the Title and Escrow industry, setting up a paid speaking engagement as general speaker to 200 plus executives. This is now an industry that we are beginning to circulate in which there are not many competitors. Customers always have and do love Sarah. For fun, if you know her ask her why people call her ‘Gnat’!
As for Melanie, she has almost 5 times the amount of workshops on her plate, which includes coordinating, printing, and follow up exercises after each and every workshop. She creates a ‘turn-key’ box of all ProScans, workbooks, badges, handouts, and framed certificates for each workshop and her contributions make everyone’s (all facilitators) jobs so much easier. Melanie has developed such tremendous relationships with all clients from a customer service standpoint. As we have had two large national accounts launch this year with ‘unlimited platinums,’ (Creative Testing Solutions, in all Blood Systems facilities, and HealthPlanOne) it requires a ton of coordination from the beginning of implementation and integration throughout the entire company, and Melanie has been in the forefront making this happen. Her Tutor Tuesdays now compete with Tristan’s at LearnKey in that she is gaining more and more attendance each week.
Both Sarah & Melanie make it Easy for our customers to work with them, as well as always bring Value to the equation, and we know there is no better way to build relationships unless there is a lot of Trust. That’s our core values at work.
Please join me in congratulating both of them for their great accomplishments this past year.
This past week, June 28th – June 30th, I had the great opportunity to attend the Certiport CERTIFIED conference in Orlando, Florida. It gave me the opportunity to learn more about how we can help Career Technology Education (CTE) Teachers teaching Microsoft MOS, Adobe, IC3, MTA, Autodesk and many more in-demand courses that map to Certiport’s industry certifications.
They had excellent breakout sessions where teachers shared best practice sessions on topics that included: Creating new certification opportunities in college and communities; Product deep dives for: Adobe, IC3, and Autodesk; Celebrating student success in the classroom; Preparing to implement MOS 2016 certification in the classroom; and, one of my favorites, Integrating Certification Learning Materials and Practice tests into your lesson plans.
The keynote speakers were also amazing. Rich Lehrer’s story about being a full time 8th grade science teacher and becoming the Coordinator of the Enable Educators Exchange through guiding a project that built a 3D printed prosthetic hand for a recipient, in this case his son, through a project one of his 8th grade classes accomplished was wonderful. Manual Scott, an original freedom writer, whose story is told in the Hollywood movie Freedom Writers, had an incredible and unique message, one that has inspired, educated and empowered almost a million people, helping them make the most of their lives.
The message is clear: teachers really have a profound effect on students, and when these students achieve industry certifications it builds tremendous confidence along with great skills that they can take forward in their college and career readiness efforts. We are so proud of our new partnership with GMetrix and Certiport, as it gives us the opportunity to better serve both teachers and students through learning, practice testing, and certifying resources.
It was also great to see our good friends and partners Thor Christianson & Quaid Atkinson from GMetrix along with Denise Spence (LearnKey’s Power Point 2013 Author). A teacher conference in Florida could not be complete without a picture of LearnKey’s Representative Scott Walker sharing our courseware that is now on the GMetrix Learning Platform and distributed through Certiport.
Up next, we will be attending the Certiport Global Partner Summit 2016 back in Orlando Florida!
Who says you can’t have fun producing certification courses! At LearnKey we take great pride ensuring our courses map to objectives, cover what is in the certification exam, and that our students gain the knowledge they need to succeed. Producing and publishing content is taken very seriously as our goal is to provide our students with the ultimate learning experience.
That said, our learning and development team was thrilled to start producing this week (June 13th 2016) the IC3 Spark training for middle school age children, which maps to the Certiport Exam. This course will provide them with a solid foundation in digital concepts that covers objectives spanning basic computing skills, key applications, and the use of the Internet. Our partner Certiport announced the release of this exam last year and we are excited to be producing this in video, along with workbooks, projects, and assessments so teachers have all the resources they need.
Best of all our production team can really leverage their creative skills so this younger student demographic finds the course easy to understand, engaging, and helps them improve their computer skills! This program will be offered exclusively through our Certiport & GMetrix partnership making it the best of the best when it comes to training, access to GMetrix practice tests, and certification. Be on the lookout for this program to be released in late July, just in time for the 2016 fall school year!
In today’s fast-paced world the ability of learning quickly, known as “Microlearning,” is becoming a skill within itself.
The definition of Microlearning (a.k.a. micro learning or micro-learning) is an emergent learning strategy known for quickly closing skill and knowledge gaps. It seems to be an ideal instructional approach for many situations because information changes quickly.
That is why LearnKey is making sure that our IT & Career Ready courseware enables you to do just that – learn quickly. At the same time one of our strengths is thoroughly covering the core objectives no matter what topic. It could be how to configure a BIOS through our CompTIA A+ 220-901 exam course, how to create a numbered or bulleted list in our Microsoft Word 2016 course, how to do slide transitions in our Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 course, or how to set-up a Microsoft account on a mobile device through one of our MTA mobility courses.
If your organization isn’t already leveraging microlearning techniques this article from TalentLMS covers seven (7) reasons why your organization should, and at LearnKey we fully agree that this is the future of learning.
Leadership sometimes requires people to get out of their comfort zones and when you ask them to do that, it’s really sometimes asking them to take a leap of faith. They have to trust you, they have to take on additional responsibilities, they have to look past the short-term benefits and make sacrifices for the good of the company and believe in the long-term value. Just over a year ago, I asked two people in our Better Learning Systems/LearnKey organization to take that leap of faith with me to believe in something that had never been done and to trust the people and process we were about to embrace, and I can honestly say that the successful partnership LearnKey has recently solidified with GMetrix and Certiport it has allot to do with key contributions from Kim Johnson and Wyett Ihler.
So it gives me great pleasure to announce that both Kim and Wyett are the recipients of our 2016 Key Contributor award voted by their peers! They have truly displayed our core values Ease, Value and Trust throughout this entire project that has required 100% of their efforts for the past twelve (12) months.
In addition to their day-to-day responsibilities, both of them have worked together in tandem to not only successfully roll out our new product, but do it in a way that is good for the company. The work required migrating our certification courseware through an entire reformatting process, quality control testing, sales re-training, and learning a new delivery system. They did it with passion and a “can-do attitude.” They had a lot of help from other LearnKey team members and that required getting those team members to buy into the same leap of faith, that this partnership is going to benefit students, teachers, and learners through providing the ultimate learning experience.
Congratulations to both of them for their commitment to our core values!
At LearnKey, the 2016 year is starting off great as we get to recognize one of our people who lives and breathes our core values of Ease, Value and Trust. It gives me great pleasure to announce that Jason Manibog is the first recipient of LearnKey’s Key Contributor award!
Jason joined LearnKey last June as our Senior IT Instructor and has not only improved the quality of our courses but won over all of our production team members with his “can do” attitude, willingness to help anyone out, and, most of all, working endlessly to improve the learning experience for our students and teachers. At LearnKey, we have been fortunate to keep our core employees; therefore, when someone comes on board they are always welcomed with open arms and set up for success. Jason was so impressed by that he went the extra mile to “seek first to understand, before trying to be understood.” This was most impressive when he traveled to meet each team and member (i.e. in Sales, QC, Writing, and the Design teams) in St. George and Cedar City, UT, to make sure he learned existing processes and then presented ways to improve them that reduced a lot of re-work and down time. Marian Eckley, our Video Production Manager, had this to say about Jason: “a tireless worker, he always gives 110%. The guy is a work horse and will never say no to anyone when they ask for help. Jason always outputs more work than asked for.”
Once again let me congratulate Jason on being our first recipient of this award. We promise to keep him really busy as we have a full plate of courses to be released this year that started with MTA Mobility and Device Fundamentals in January. Now we are focused on A+ 220-901 and 902 exam courses, with Adobe CC soon to follow.
Here’s to a great start for 2016!
One Better Learning Systems/LearnKey program we are very proud of is our Blue Ocean IT & Career Ready program for military veterans. It is a true “education to employment echo system” built around veterans helping veterans.
This means veteran students get tutored and supported by other veteran students who have graduated the program and are hired by LearnKey.
This month it gives me great pleasure to announce that Tristan Roberts has been nominated and selected by his leadership as our newest employee of the month for his efforts both as a team player and individual contributor!
As our first graduate of the Blue Ocean program he joined our team last August in a new role as a LearnKey technical support/tutor. During this time we have watched him embrace our core values: Ease, Value, and Trust, with the number one priority of helping our veteran students get certified and career ready. Most recently he has taken on the role of mentor for two new graduating students who are now part of his team and he has done it with passion and commitment, scheduling their work across our quality control, client services, veteran services, and technical support teams to ensure we make better courses and provide better support to our veteran students!
He has also been instrumental in rolling out other support services (i.e. Tutor Tuesdays, user forums, etc.) this past year, again all driven around driving a better learning experience for our students.
Tristan is an amazing father too, and by reading some fun facts through a short Q&A below you should not be surprised by who his influence is outside of work:
- How many siblings do you have? Two (2) Brothers, (Jovi, Jimmy) one (1) Sister (Malieka)
- What is your favorite movie? Always the last movie I saw with my daughter (Inside Out)
- What is your favorite band? New Chum’s (Seth’s Band)
- What is your favorite vacation spot? I’ll let you know when I take a vacation
- What was your high school’s mascot? Colt
- What is the weirdest combination of foods you have eaten? MREs (not enough room to explain)
- What is/was the name of your favorite pet? My daughter’s fish is named Blue (Betta)
- What was your first car? 87 Honda Accord (Hatchback)
- If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? Jamaica/Australia
- Would you rather sky dive, bungee jump, zip line, or parasail? Parasail
- What is the funniest saying you have heard working here? I heard someone came to the Halloween party dressed as a RUBBERtree. (Hilarious)
We are very proud to have Tristan as part of our team and truly value the contributions he makes every day. His passion for helping others is second to none!
It is summer time, school is out, and the entire BLS/LearnKey family is totally focused on a successful second half of the year. One of our big productions at LearnKey this summer is a feature course on Internet and Computer Core Certification (IC3) GS5 that is an anchor learning program throughout our vocational and K-12 customers.
Because teamwork is the only way for us to achieve success in such a production it gives me great pleasure to recognize someone who has truly displayed TEAMWORK the entire way: Ms. Brittni Traynor from our Cedar City office!
This is what her nominating peer had to say about her “can do” attitude when it comes to her contributions: “Brittni Traynor exemplifies BLS/LearnKey’s core values of Ease, Value, and Trust. LearnKey’s production team has been feverishly working as we prepare our upcoming IC3 GS5 training and Brittni’s role as the lead writer has given her ample opportunity to demonstrate her dedication to the project and her team.
You can trust Brittni—during a recent conversation with a co-worker who expressed concern about making sure we were going to meet our writing deadline, she simply responded to him by saying ‘Of course we will, we’ll find a way and make it happen.’ And she did.”
We wanted to share not only Brittni’s success but also some recent Q&A with her about life outside of work:
- Where were you born? I was born in Rexburg, Idaho. We didn’t live there very long, I claim Portland, Oregon as my home base, it is where I grew up and where my family still is.
- What is your favorite type of Friday night? If I am not working, I usually spend my Friday nights with my two of my close friends. We usually go to the movies, or dinner, or sometimes go see bands play. It is really nice to kick back with some good friends and just spend some time detoxing from the busy week.
- How did you find your way to BLS/LearnKey? I had a friend who had recently started as a Technical Writer; when there was an opening in the Quality Control department, I applied and got the job.
- What is it that you like most about your job and why? The people hands down. We have such an amazing and talented group of people here in the Cedar office. I wish I possessed half the talent of the Designers, Writers, and Quality Control teams. We had an office lunch the other day and we were all chatting about some random things, and at one point I thought about what a diverse and amazing group of people we have working in this company. Everyone is seriously so very talented. It’s awesome.
- Who at LearnKey taught you something, where after learning it you went “they are smart”? I really believe that I learn something from someone every day in this company. But, the person who I am constantly learning from is Wyett. From day one, he has pushed me to think differently and to look for the details other people may not notice.
- Give us a dream vacation spot you want to visit one day? I would really love to go to Nepal with my BFF Jill. She went there a few years ago to volunteer with the Butterfly Home Project. I love hearing all of her stories and would absolutely love the opportunity to go and volunteer there.
- What is your ideal dream job? Well, I am not totally sure what my ideal dream job would be. One of my biggest passions is helping other people find their potential and helping them to grow and become the best, most authentic version of themselves. Ideally, my dream job would allow me to incorporate that passion with whatever it is I am doing.
- The boss is coming for dinner and wants you to cook the meal. What will you cook? I absolutely love to cook. My dad is a chef, so I was constantly interested in it as a child. If it were only Jeff coming for dinner, I would probably make some sort of pizza, because I know it is one of his favorite things to eat when he is traveling without Lori. If it were Jeff and Lori though, I would probably make Pollo en Mole. Because it is one of my favorite things to make.
- If you could gift someone $100,000 who would it be and why? This is hard for me, because there are many charities that I adore. I would probably choose to donate some to the Trevor Project, which focuses on suicide prevention efforts among LGBTQ youth: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/, as well as to the Butterfly Home Project. The Butterfly Home is a center in Nepal dedicated to the children of imprisoned women. In Nepal, if a mother goes to prison, and no one can take her children, the child is also imprisoned and the conditions are terrible. I have been able to learn about it through my dearest friend Jill, who volunteered there a few years ago. It is such an amazing organization: http://ecdcnepal.org/newportal/about-us/
We really enjoy sharing these wonderful employees we have at Better Learning Systems and hope you will continue to check back and learn about other successes team members are having as we take our BLS Journey.
Jeff Coruccini, CEO
Two weeks ago Kim Johnson and I had the pleasure of attending the formal announcement of the UFT’s newest CTE initiative, “National Industry Certification for Educators,” (NICE) in New York City at the UFT Headquarters. It was great to attend the actual press conference where UFT President Michael Mulgrew along with Partnership for New York City President and CEO Kathryn Wylde, Mayor Bill de Blasio and AFT President Randi Weingarten.
We also attended a round table discussion to discuss how the model involves working closely with industry partners to provide educators with access to courses designed by industry partners so that they can earn industry credentials that meet established standards.
Four “boot camps” will launch this summer to certify 100 teachers in graphic arts, automotive technology, educational technology, and information technology. Those teachers will then share what they learned with their colleagues in an effort to create a cadre of industry-trained instructors.
LearnKey has been selected to work with the UFT teacher center in producing curricula and provide online resources that teachers can access and utilize through the program so they can be successful in the program. Sterling Roberson, Vice President of CTE for the UFT has been working on this program well over a year and it’s great to see him be acknowledged for his efforts. He also made an announcement regarding the NICE initiative back in February during the CTE annual awards presentations.
I want to recognize and congratulate Kim Johnson, our very own Director of Client Services, for her hard work in spear heading and producing the NICE initiatives first teaching project (Excel workbook) in collaboration with NICE advisory board members.
We will continue to share our involvement in the program and keep you posted on our progress!
2015 halfway point is almost here and I am pleased to announce that we have two Employee of the Month recipients for June. So join me in congratulating Sheena Chamberlain and Chip Ehlers as these two continue to dish up exceptional service and support to their co-workers.
Two common threads in reading their nominations: one, they are dedicated long tenured good standing employee’s, and two, they have a “can do” attitude when it comes to doing their jobs. Additionally, each of them are all about helping other people. In Sheena’s nomination she was noted for being our “database expert,” one who is always looking for ways to improve process and maintain an efficient operation. Chip’s nomination was about how great of a “team player” he is and can be counted on to always help anyone out in student support or packaging & distribution.
This month we will split the Q&A session so you get a little personal insight to them both:
Chip: Who is your best friend and why? My wife, We have known each other a long time. Even before we were married, we were the best of friends
Sheena: Name your husband’s favorite restaurant? Ninja – he could eat sushi every day of the week, for every meal!
Chip: What is your ideal dream job in the next five (5) years? If not at LearnKey, I would love to be a golf pro or professional basketball player.
Sheena: What is it that you like most about your job and why? I am an extrovert so it should come as no surprise…The people. I love the people I work with. There is so much respect for every employee and what they do for our company.
Chip: IF you won a million dollars, name a cause or not-for-profit you would donate a portion of that to? Cancer Research and World Hunger.
Sheena: Name your favorite meal to cook? I LOVE to cook! My favorite meals to cook are my own made up “copy cats” of some of my favorite restaurant meals. I cook everything from scratch, and challenge myself to have the end product taste even better than it does in a restaurant.
Chip: Name your favorite meal to cook? Anything barbecued!
Sheena: Who at LearnKey have you learned the most from? It’s impossible to name just one person, as I think there is something to be gained from each person here. Melanie has taught me so much about our behavior, and how to best communicate with each of my team members based on their behavior and “how they tick”. Kim continually teaches me that being a great leader means that you always have the good work your team does on your mind, and to make their accomplishments known.
Chip: What is it that you like most about your job and why? I love working with great people and adding to the success of LearnKey.
Again, let me thank you both on behalf of the entire Better Learning Systems Leadership Team for your contributions and team work. We truly are a better place to work because we have people like you on our team!
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