Happy Veterans Day!

by Brad - Nov 11, 2016


Today is Veterans Day, a day set aside in the United States to honor those members of our society who have served or continue to serve in the armed forces. Veterans Day has a long history of observance, dating back to 1938 when the United States Congress approved the 11th of November to become a legal holiday, Armistice Day, to celebrate the anniversary of the end of World War I. In 1947, the holiday was expanded to honor all veterans, not just those who died in World War I, and in 1954 Congress officially changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day.

Here at LearnKey, we are proud to support our veterans, both those who have served and those who are currently serving. Both our Blue Ocean and Certify for Life programs are tailored specifically to helping veterans with career placement and lifetime learning. Our Student Resource Center and Career Services Center are a wealth of resources and information for veterans seeking to advance their careers, and our Veterans Services Team, many of whom are themselves veterans, are always eager to provide guidance to our services.

We wish to offer a heartfelt thank you to all those who have served our country in the armed forces, especially those who are now employed by LearnKey: Michael Watson, Jessica Staples, Kelly Woods, Tristan Roberts, Beth Ciaramello, and Grace Rollins. Have a good Veterans Day and thank you for your service!

US Flag in Utah

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Happy Veterans Day!

by Beau - Nov 11, 2015


Today is Veterans Day and I want to start off by saying THANK YOU to all of the brave men and women who have served or are currently serving our country. At LearnKey we are proud to have both Veterans and active duty military on our team. On this day I want to recognize and thank them for their service. THANK YOU to Michael Watson, Kelly Woods, Aaron Colborn, Jessica Staples, Tristan Roberts, David Lindenmuth, Ed Ohrablo, and Beth Ciaramello. We are grateful for your service and proud to have you all on the LearnKey team. I asked Michael, Kelly, Aaron, Jessica, Tristan, David, Ed, and Beth to share a little bit about their experiences. I hope everyone enjoys reading about their experiences as much as I did.

Michael WatsonHas worked at LearnKey for for 16 years. But Scott Walker was here a year before me. =)

  1. What branch of the military did you serve in? U.S. Navy
  2. How many years did you serve? 4 years
  3. What were you trained in? Communication Technician Radioman & Yeoman
  4. Reflections on your service: I was stationed on the island of Ohau, Hawaii. Based in Pearl Harbor and worked for CINCPAC (a joint command in the mountains overlooking the island) for three years. Not the typical sailor’s tour of duty, but I had it made for my entire four years including one at sea on an attack carrier. I would never trade those four years.

 

 

 

Kelly WoodsHas worked at LearnKey for 3 years

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  1. What branch of the military did you serve in? Currently serving in the Army Reserve
  2. How many years did you serve? I have currently been serving for 3 1/2 years
  3. What were you trained in? My MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) is a 68J/Medical logistics Specialist
  4. Reflections of your service: It has been very rewarding to go into the service at an older age. I was 39 when I went through basic training and I learned how old I was then! =) However, through perseverance and dedication I was able to grow tremendously. I find that I love the freedoms that we have in this country and I am proud to be one of the soldiers who defend those freedoms!

 

Aaron ColbornHas worked at LearnKey for 2 years

Aaron

  1. What branch of the military did you serve in? Air Force
  2. How many years did you serve? 6 years in England, Italy, Spain, and Kuwait.
  3. What were you trained in? I was trained to work on the LANTIRN system (Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infra Red for Night). Basically, radar navigation and laser bomb targeting for F-15’s and F-16’s.
  4. I personally had a very good experience, it taught me how to be responsible for myself and others as well as giving me the tools to work as part of a team, something that has been very helpful in the rest of my life. It also put me through school. I used the GI Bill to follow my dream of going to film school. Now I have a BA in Film Studies and didn’t have to pay a penny. I have zero school debt.

 

Jessica Staples – Has worked at LearnKey for 2 years

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  1. What branch of the military did you serve in? U.S. Navy
  2. How many years did you serve? 4 years
  3. What were you trained in? I was a Cryptological Technician. Basically, I analyzed various radar characteristics (what frequencies they ran on, what vessels or aircraft used them, which ones were navigational, which ones were used for weapons systems). I did a lot of investigating, picture taking, logging. It was a cushy, but necessary job on the ship.
  4. Reflections of your service: I really enjoyed traveling. As awful as it was being stuck on a ship for weeks at a time, or on deployment for months at a time, the port visits to foreign countries made it all worth it. I’ve been to Japan, Hong Kong, Palau, Dubai, other areas of the Middle East, Alaska, Guam, and a few others I can’t think of. Experiencing other cultures really made me respect diversity and food. I would give almost anything to experience it all again. Well, the traveling…not the deck swabbing. =)

 

Tristan RobertsHas worked at LearnKey for 1 year

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  1. What branch of the military did you serve in? U.S. Navy
  2. How long did you serve? 4 years
  3. What were you trained in? I was a Hospital Corpsman (GreenSide) Trained in med/field medicine
  4. Reflections of your service: Best decision I made was joining the military

 

 

 

David LindenmuthHas worked at LearnKey for 4 months
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  1. What branch of the military did you serve in? U.S. Navy
  2. How long did you serve? 20 years
  3. What were you trained in? Mess Management Specialist (Food Service and Bachelor Quarters). One of, if not the most important job in the military.
  4. Reflections of your service: One of the smartest decisions I have made in my life. I served on the East coast and of my 20 years that I served, 12 1/2 years of it was spent on board ships. I enjoyed my time in the military getting to see a lot of countries that I would not have seen if not for the military. I pretty much have seen all of Europe, Northern Africa, Virgin Islands, and several South American countries during various deployments.

 

Ed Ohrablo – Has worked at LearnKey for 4 months

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  1. What branch of the military did you serve in? U.S. Navy
  2. How long did you serve? 9 years
  3. What were you trained in? I was trained as a radiology technologist and med/field med medicine.
  4. Reflections of your service: I am honored to have had the chance to serve. Being able to travel and see different cultures’ societies, made me realize how amazing our country really remains. Our founding ideas are still worth defending and fighting for.

 

 

Beth CiaramelloHas worked at LearnKey for 5 months

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  1. What branch of the military did you serve in? Army
  2. How long did you serve? 1 year
  3. What were you trained in? Military Police
  4. Reflections of your service: Such an amazing experience. I got to create lifelong friendships as well as perform tasks I never thought I would be able to do. Very rewarding experience.

 

 

Kent TilleyHas worked at LearnKey for 6 months

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  1. What branch of the military did you serve in? Army
  2. How many years did you serve? 7.5
  3. What were you trained in? Petroleum Supply, Transportation, Infantry, Demolitions, Helicopter Operations
  4. Reflections of your service: It was an honor to work for the Army. I learned about continuing to work no matter the working conditions and getting it done.

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LearnKey Veteran Services Student Resources

by Tristan - Nov 05, 2015


This is a public service announcement to all students that are serious about being successful in the LearnKey Veteran Services program. There are a multitude of steps that are required if one expects to be successful, not only from a program, but a test-by-test perspective as well.  Unless you have an extensive background in the IT field, each one of these exams will be uniquely challenging, particularly if this information is fairly new to you. It would be a very bold assumption that 20 hours of OnlineExpert and CertMaster alone will be enough to have you as prepared as you can possibly be. Ironically it’s the exact opposite. You will have to be as resourceful as you possibly can if you expect to be adequately prepared.

Our team has put together a really great Student Resource Center to provide you with the resources to help you succeed. We have two weekly study group sessions every Tuesday from 11am – 12pm MST and every Thursday from 3:30pm – 4:30pm MST. There are also monthly newsletters, certification guides, workbooks, and practice labs.  For most people (including me) it’s going to take a combination of making use of the above-listed resources mixed with a bit of determination and tenacity to make it through, but it’s up you to seek out and find your individual blueprint for preparing. Myself, along with David and Ed, have been in the same boat that you are in now, and we can help guide you through, but the effort has to be there if you expect to succeed.

Your number one source of information should be the forum/Student Resource page. That is where all of the resources that we provide are located. Outside of CertMaster and OnlineExpert.com, if there are any resources that I have used, heard good things about, or found to help me prepare for an exam, that is where it can be found.

Recent additions to the forum include:

  • A link to the practical labs on our Student Resource Page (Net+)
  • Subnetting/CIDR Video (Net+)
  • CompTIA Blacklisted training link (CompTIA)
  • Accommodation of disabilities application link (CompTIA)
  • Student recaps of recently taken exams

This is not an easy program to complete. I stumbled along my path and I expect others to do the same, but I’m also proof that there is a finish line, and that it is accessible if you are willing to maintain the focus and put in the work. There is a countless amount of helpful information sitting not only in the forum, but on the Internet as well, readily available 24/7. You only have to apply yourself and seek it out. I strongly warn against making the mistake of taking this program lightly, because there is a good chance that you will become overwhelmed pretty quickly if you do.


Newest EOM Epitomizes “Vets helping Vets”

by Jeff - Jul 30, 2015


TristanEOM_small

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:

  1. How many siblings do you have? Two (2) Brothers, (Jovi, Jimmy) one (1) Sister (Malieka)
  2. What is your favorite movie? Always the last movie I saw with my daughter (Inside Out)
  3. What is your favorite band? New Chum’s (Seth’s Band)
  4. What is your favorite vacation spot? I’ll let you know when I take a vacation
  5. What was your high school’s mascot? Colt
  6. What is the weirdest combination of foods you have eaten? MREs (not enough room to explain)
  7. What is/was the name of your favorite pet? My daughter’s fish is named Blue (Betta)
  8. What was your first car? 87 Honda Accord (Hatchback)
  9. If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? Jamaica/Australia
  10. Would you rather sky dive, bungee jump, zip line, or parasail? Parasail
  11. 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!


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Welcome to the LearnKey Team: Beth Ciaramello

by Beau - Jul 06, 2015


Beth Ciaramello

Please join me in welcoming Beth Ciaramello to LearnKey, supporting our Veteran Services team as our Job Ready Manager. Beth will be leading a new initiative finding employment for the students who complete our Blue Ocean program. Beth is a former military veteran who joins the team with five years of experience as a Career Adviser and possesses the tools and skills necessary to successfully place students in careers related to their field of study.

We are thrilled to have her join our team and take a minute to learn more about Beth and her new role.

  1. What is your professional background prior to being employed at LearnKey? I was with Everest College for six years. I started as the receptionist and quickly moved to Career Services. I was a Career Counselor for five years and successfully assisted over 500 graduates in meeting their professional goals.
  2. What is your military background? I was in the U.S. Army and served as a Military Police for one year. I was injured and received an honorable medical discharge. I am honored and lucky to be able to serve veterans and students in my new role with LearnKey.
  3. As the new LearnKey Veteran Services Job Ready Manager, how will your previous professional and military experience help you prepare veterans to find a job? As a Career Advisor for the last four years, I have a considerable amount of experience assisting graduates in finding careers in various fields. As a veteran, I also was the unofficial veteran liaison in the department, specifically writing resumes and preparing veterans for interviews.
  4. As a veteran, in 50 words or fewer, describe how your skills and experiences will be a benefit to the LKVS team. The United States Military trains individuals to be disciplined, motivated, and have strong teamwork and camaraderie. I am diligent and motivated to ensure all our graduates receive the assistance they need to meet their goals. I also bring with me my loyalty and initiative to assist my coworkers with any challenge they may face.
  5. What are the top three tips you would give to students who are just starting the job search?
    1. Be Prepared – Graduates/students starting a job search should have all the tools to search for positions. For example, resumes geared toward the position, interview questions and practice, and research, research, research—know the companies they are applying to.
    2. Stay Organized – Document the positions that they applied to and the results. This makes it easier to follow up with each company and know what to research when the interview is scheduled.
    3. Stay Positive – The job-searching process can be overwhelming. It is essential to stay positive and focused on the goal no matter how long it may take to find the ideal career. If a student or graduate loses sight of their goals they can reach out to LearnKey or friends and family to help motivate them and stay on track. In addition, networking can be the best way to finiding the perfect professional position.
  6. What five words would you use to describe yourself? Passionate, empathetic, energetic, adventurous, and strong.
  7. What do you do in your free time? I love to travel, be outdoors, go hiking, camping, and swimming. I would rather listen to hours of music than turn on the TV. I enjoy spending quality time with my friends, family, and my dogs. I am addicted to new experiences and I see every day as an adventure and enjoy finding something new to learn.

With the overwhelming success of our Blue Ocean program, we are really excited to offer this new service to those who have completed the Blue Ocean program.


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.


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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!


Newest EOM helps veteran students realize their potential!

by Jeff - Feb 04, 2015


You can always tell when someone loves their job. It’s not in what they say, it’s the results they achieve, and this month’s Better Learning Systems/LearnKey employee of the month is Susan Havens, a Veteran Services Representative who has a passion for helping students.  This is evident in the way she supports the sixty-five (65) plus students she works with who are going through our Blue Ocean IT & Career Ready program!

Even though Susan has only been with LearnKey for four (4) months she brings passion, commitment, and discipline to her job each and every day. Her manager had this to say during her nomination:

Susan Havens

“Susan has done an amazing job taking the roll of supporting our Veteran Students, and has really helped mentor and motivate them to stay on track and achieve their goals. She is a true display of our core values by earning trust from her team members that she is going to follow through on any task she is given and is an absolute professional when it comes to customer service. We truly value her ability to dig in and figure out how to complete a task on time and she makes it easy for students to like her as she is always engaging with them frequently to ensure they are moving along in their coursework and removing any challenges they face”.

We strive to make LearnKey a fun place to work and Susan fits right in with her funny personality and natural “can do” approach to supporting other team members. Take a minute to get to know the personal side of Susan through this fun Q&A:

  1. How many siblings do you have? I am number 3 out of 3 brothers and 4 sisters.
  2. What is your favorite movie? The older comedies because they aren’t so crude…like “The Man Who Knew too Little,” “Grumpy Old Men,” the “Vacation” Movies w/ Chevy Chase, and “What About Bob.”
  3. What is your favorite band? I love the 80’s Rock Bands…like Chicago, 38 Special, Foreigner, and Aerosmith.
  4. What is your favorite vacation spot? The central coast in California Pismo Beach, Arroyo Grande, San Louis Obispo area. Still a quiet beach community.
  5. What was your High School Mascot? A Porterville Panther.
  6. What is the weirdest combination of foods you have eaten? Honestly, I avoid weird foods at all costs! I’m not a big fan of weird or things that are considered NOT food. I will eat most anything, but weird.
  7. What is/was the name of your favorite pet? My favorite pet was a little Chihuahua named Annie.
  8. What was your first car? A yellow Datsun B210 and my favorite car was a 76 Camaro when I was a senior in High School.
  9. If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? I’ve been most everywhere, but I would really like to go to Italy and visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Rome and Jerusalem and Greece.
  10. Would you rather sky dive, bungee jump, zip line, or parasail? I would probably have a higher percentage of survival zip lining.
  11. What is the funniest thing you have heard working here? Nothing specific, but I work with a bunch of witty people who crack me up everyday.
  12. If you could eat dinner with anyone past, present, or future who would it be? Bill Murray. He cracks me up and I love his sense of humor!

Please join me in congratulating Susan on being our February 2015 employee of the month, and now that I know she does not eat weird food so much for her trying my home made Chili!.


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My Blue Ocean Experience

by Tristan - Jan 05, 2015


My name is Tristan Roberts. I’m a veteran who obtained my IT certifications through LearnKey and I’m writing to share my experience with LearnKey’s Blue Ocean Program with those who might be considering taking on the challenge. I spent about nine months working through the program. During that time I acquired the A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications as well as Microsoft Office’s Word, Excel, and Outlook certifications, and I’m going to talk about some of the successes I had, as well as some of the failures during my journey.

I believe that most of the success I had was due to having the right attitude going into the program. I spoke with my advisor (Seth Boyak) and he gave me a good idea of what to expect out of the program, provided me with a demo to sample, provided me with an estimated timeline, and let me know that it wouldn’t be easy. That is a point I want to reiterate…this is not a program that you can expect to skate through, which is a rude awakening I had when I went in for my first A+ exam after months of studying. It’s going to take a good mix of motivation, focus, drive, resourcefulness, and patience to make it through, but it is doable.

I had to find specific traits within myself that helped me be successful in this program.

Motivation– You should have a genuine desire to learn the information that you strive for or it is likely that you will lose interest very quickly.

Focus– You have to set aside the time to learn and eliminate as many distractions as possible to give yourself a better chance to retain the information.

Drive– There has to be an end goal, or something you are striving for to keep you going during the difficult times or it is easy to consider giving up when it gets difficult.

Resourcefulness– The IT world is full of unlimited information and is constantly changing. Portions you already know, portions you will learn, portions that will change, portions that have already changed. Sometimes the information will be easy to find, and sometimes it will be difficult, but it’s important to know that there is an answer, you just have to seek it out a little harder periodically.

Patience – Some of these certifications are difficult to obtain and you will need to take a one step at a time approach to prepare yourself to be as ready as possible. It’s a good idea to explore all of the resources that are provided (and sometimes find your own) if you expect to be complete the program and pass your certification exams.

LearnKey has great employees who are willing to go above and beyond to help us veterans in any way possible, and that is a big part of the reason that I accepted a job with LearnKey, when they offered me a job once I completed the Blue Ocean program. I wanted to help other veterans going through the program avoid some of the barriers that impeded my progress.

Overall I am grateful that I came across the Blue Ocean program and that I was able to complete this difficult challenge and not let it defeat me. Even after I failed my first exam, I just took a couple days off and attacked it again from another angle, and that is the approach you must bring with you entering this program. If you can do that, I’m proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel.


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Tutor Tuesday

by Tristan - Dec 30, 2014


As some of you know our Veteran Services team has started a tutoring session every Tuesday. We have been doing it for about a month and are having more and more success each week.

Tutor Tuesday started slow with no one showing up for the first session. The next session hosted one attendee and lasted about an hour. We went over some of the issues that he was having with OLE, and I also gave him a demonstration of how to navigate through CramMaster. The next couple of weeks hosted at least two attendees each session, and we discussed many topics such as study tactics, how to approach exams, and how to use GMetrix, CramMaster, OLE, and other outside resources more efficiently. We discussed common issues, test taking strategies, and the certification guides as well.

This past week hosted potentially six attendees (three showed up), the most to this point. It is starting to grow and I think it is beneficial for all parties (including myself). The best thing about Tutor Tuesday is the vets get to meet and interact with other vets going through the same program, and in most cases the same certifications. Most of them have the same issues and questions so it puts their mind at ease that they are not alone. At the end of each session I ask every veteran if they are comfortable with exchanging contact information with the others on the call so they can be a resource to each other. I think as word gets out and we all figure out the mechanics of virtual tutoring sessions it will do nothing but grow.

Our next step is to create a share site where the vets can interact virtually and share notes and resources between each other. Coming up in 2015 we will also begin producing online videos that discuss the issues that were covered in each tutoring session.

We meet every Tuesday from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm MST. If you are interested in participating in our call, contact your LearnKey Veteran Services representative for call info.


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