Thanksgiving

by Brad - Nov 25, 2014


This Thursday and Friday, LearnKey offices will be closed in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. LearnKey offices will return to regular hours of operation 12/1/2014.

While many early groups of settlers observed a yearly day of thanksgiving after their arrival in the New World, the origin of the Thanksgiving holiday is generally attributed to those colonists known as the Pilgrims. Fleeing religious persecution in England, the Pilgrims originally settled in Leiden, Holland. Fearful of losing their cultural identity through long association with the Dutch people, the Pilgrims eventually left Holland and sailed to the New World aboard the Mayflower.

In late November of 1620, the colonists arrived in what is now known as Provincetown Harbor. They organized the first government of the new colony through a contract later known as the Mayflower Compact, signed by forty-one adult male passengers, two of whom – Degory Priest and George Soule – are my ancestors. The Mayflower Compact allowed for democratic voting and as been called the world’s first written constitution.

By December, most of the colonists on the Mayflower had become ill and were suffering from scurvy. A small group began exploring the shore for a place to found their new settlement, eventually choosing on an abandoned native village which they named New Plymouth. The first home constructed became a hospital for the sick, and by March only 47 of the original 102 colonists had survived.

During the first year, the colonists made friends with the native people, who shared supplies with the newcomers and taught them how to grow corn. In late September or October of 1621, the surviving Pilgrims invited their native friends to a three-day feast to celebrate their harvest. This feast is traditionally known as the First Thanksgiving.

We wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and hope everyone has plenty to be thankful for!

The First Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving, Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863-1930)



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American Education Week

by Brad - Nov 19, 2014


Education Week Header

This week is American Education Week. First held in 1921, American Education Week was founded by the National Education Association and the American Legion. In the following years, sponsors grew to include the U.S. Department of Education and dozens of other national education organizations. American Education Week is always celebrated the week before the week of Thanksgiving.

In the words of United States President Barack Obama:

“Every young person deserves access to a world-class education. In classrooms, lecture halls, and laboratories across America, high-quality education helps unlock the limitless potential of our Nation’s students and creates pathways for their success. It prepares them for the jobs of tomorrow and the responsibilities of citizenship. A strong school system bolsters our economy and strengthens our democracy, and it is at the core of the American belief that with hard work, anyone can get ahead. During American Education Week, we celebrate the devoted educators who instruct and inspire students of all ages, and we continue our work to provide every person with the best education possible…

With grit and passion, America’s teachers give life to education’s promise. Our education-support professionals help ensure the health, well-being, and success of our children. And in small towns and large cities, principals and district administrators cultivate communities that value learning and share a common vision of academic excellence. Together, these leaders encourage our students to reach higher and inspire them to achieve their dreams. Great educators and administrators deserve all the tools and resources they need to do their job, including chances for professional development and pay that reflects the contributions they make to our country. They are the most critical ingredients in any school…

In a complex world, we must meet new and profound challenges. As a Nation, we must prepare the next generation to face these issues and the problems of their own time. An education equips the leaders of tomorrow with the knowledge and vision they need to discover the solutions of the future and build a better society for their children and grandchildren. This week, we honor the teachers, mentors, and professionals who guide our kids as they explore the world. Let us recommit to supporting a first-class education for all students, from the day they start preschool to the day they start their career.”

Take time this week to thank those who work in education and celebrate their contributions to the growth of our society.



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New Course Release – Security+ (SY0-401)

by Beau - Nov 17, 2014


We are excited to be releasing our new Security+ course. This course is perfect for those who are working to move forward in their IT career or keeping their skills and knowledge up-to-date.

Security+ (SY0-401)

In LearnKey’s Security+ course students will develop their understanding of network administration by gaining this CompTIA certification. Students will develop an understanding of network administration and will learn how to secure and manage all facets of a network from CPU cycles to software used by individuals or across a network. Security+ is the next level to attain certification for every IT network administrator.

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



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Happy Veterans Day!

by Beau - Nov 11, 2014


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. I would also like to say THANK YOU to my Grandpa Ramsay who served in the Army and fought in the Korean War (1950-53). I have learned so much from him and am so grateful for the sacrifices he made for this 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, and Tristan Roberts. We are grateful for your service and proud to have you all on the LearnKey team. I asked Michael, Kelly, Aaron, Jessica, and Tristan 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 15 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 2 years

Kelly Woods

  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 9 months

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 7 months

VetJessica_small

  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 3 months

Tristan_small

  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


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Bringing passion & motivation to supporting our veteran students

by Jeff - Nov 03, 2014


Jessica Staples

Some people have a way about them that makes other people respond positively. That is exactly what Jessica Staples does for our veteran students and why she has so much success with them and the vocational rehab counselors that support them as well. That is also why Jessica is our November BLS/LearnKey employee of the month. It was six months ago, almost to the day, that we had the opportunity to bring her on board as a Veteran Services Representative supporting our veteran students. Jessica is also a veteran and can relate to students and motivate them in a way that brings out the positive in them to have the confidence to succeed.

She displays our core values each and every day. Ease comes by the way in which she communicates with students and veterans, always positive and with a “can do” approach. Value is what she brings to the team with her professionalism, top notch customer service skills, and the way she motivates her students. Trust is something she creates everyday, earning it not only with students, but peers and VRC’s.

Here is what her manager had to say during her nomination: “Jessica has shown an amazing amount of professionalism and every day demonstrates excellent customer service skills in her position here at LearnKey. I truly appreciate her ability to adapt to change here at LearnKey while we focus on continuous improvement. I value her knowledge, and experience as a military veteran herself and trust that she has the best interest for the students and LearnKey.”

Please take a few moments to learn a bit more about her outside the office with a fun Q&A:

1. How many siblings do you have? Two and a half. One older sister, one younger sister and a brother on my dad’s side
2. What is your favorite movie? Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
3. What is your favorite band? The Strokes! Or pretty much any classic rock band.
4. What is your favorite vacation spot? Hawaii or Palau
5. What was your high school’s mascot? A Buffalo
6. What is the weirdest combination of foods you have eaten? Ranch mixed with pasta and salad (I was hungry…and didn’t have a lot of time to eat one at a time). Also, ranch makes everything taste better.
7. What is/was the name of your favorite pet? Toto (he looked just like Toto)
8. What was your first car? Ford Taurus SES 2001 Sedan
9. If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? Ireland, to get to know m’roots!
10. Would you rather sky dive, bungee jump, zip line, or parasail? Zip Line…I’d like to stay as close to the ground as possible LOL
11. What is the funniest saying you have heard working here? It was a conversation that Tiffany was having over the phone with her husband,
“Well if she wants to start dressing like that, she can stay home from preschool!!”
12. If you could eat dinner with anyone from the past, present, or future, who would it be and why? My grandfather on my dad’s side because I never got to know him and he died before I was born.

Congratulations Jessica as we are so fortunate to have you as part of our team!

 



Using Company “Wellness Checks” to Improve Performance

by Brad - Oct 22, 2014


You’ve probably heard the saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We all know that eating right and exercising regularly are important to our health, but how many of us go to the doctor regularly just to get a checkup? Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t automatically guarantee you will be healthy, so regular health checks are important.

The same concept applies to your workforce. Many companies assume that their employees are content with their jobs and enjoy their work, but without a regular “checkup” there is no way to know for sure.

A checkup can be something as simple as setting up a regular time to meet one-on-one with each employee. Meetings can include both formal evaluations and unstructured time. These meetings can help supervisors gauge the satisfaction level of their employees and reveal issues that managers were previously unaware of. Some employees are more comfortable sharing ideas in a one-on-one setting than in a group, so these times can also provide valuable employee insight into improving your company.

Sometimes, a company wellness check requires a more in-depth examination than can be done in one-on-one meetings. Programs like those offered by LearnKey’s partner company, Predix, can help you learn about your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. Predix’s Know Your TalentsTM model can help you leverage your employee’s strengths and ensure you have the right people in the right positions. You can learn how to better communicate with each employee and tap into their talents in the workplace. Not only will you increase productivity, you will increase employee satisfaction as well.

Employees are the number one asset to an organization and their professional development is key to growth and success. You may have all of your employees in the right positions, but some of them may still require training to know everything they need for their job. This happens frequently when employees are promoted. An employee may excel at their job in the Human Resources department, but a promotion to Human Resources Manager could find them lacking in essential skills that were unnecessary in their previous position. LearnKey’s wide selection of training courses can provide the proper training which your employees need to succeed.



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3 Tips for Surviving Company Rightsizing

by Brad - Oct 09, 2014


Author’s Note: This post is based on an article which appeared in the May/June 2009 edition of the LearnKey newsletter.

In order to survive the always-changing face of business, all companies must go through a series of corporate “rightsizing” at various points in their lifecycle. Often, employees are laid off or transferred to support the new structure and goals of the company.

When a company goes through rightsizing, it’s often difficult to know if your job is safe or if you will get handed the dreaded pink slip. These three tips can help prepare you to survive the changes your company is going through:

  1. Become More Efficient. Companies are always looking for ways to cut costs and one area that often gets cut is employees. This often means more things need to be done in the same amount of time with fewer people than before. Learning to work more efficiently can help to set you apart from your coworkers. When you can do the work of two people in the same amount of time, your value will be much higher than those who can’t.
  2. Knowledge is Power. A key feature of the changing face of business is expecting employees to not only be good at the job they were hired for, but to be flexible enough to take on other responsibilities as needed. In the time I’ve been with LearnKey I have held several different positions, and occasionally been asked to assist others with tasks in which I had little to no previous experience. Gaining more knowledge, whether through books, online learning, or seminars, can help you to adapt to whatever situation you find yourself in.
  3. Continue Your Education. Take it upon yourself to learn the new things you need to learn – even if your company can’t compensate you. Buy products to help get you where you want to be and invest in your future. Set goals and hold yourself accountable for the outcomes.

As a learning company, LearnKey has a wide variety of training courses to help you learn the things you need to know to survive your company’s rightsizing. If you want to communicate your ideas and demonstrate your importance to the company, you will also benefit from our personal productivity courses. See our Course List for details.



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LearnKey Veteran Services Blue Ocean Program

by Beau - Oct 06, 2014


Summer 2014 has brought some great changes to our LearnKey Veteran Services team. Our team has been filled with committed and excited members who have a strong desire to provide the best service and learning experience to the Veterans in our program. To assist the team in providing the best service, we created the Student Resource Center. This new page on our website has videos, links, and other information that Veterans can use as a resource as they make their way through the Blue Ocean program. Another big milestone happened this August. We had our first Veteran graduate from the Blue Ocean program. Tristan Roberts was one of the first Veterans to be accepted into the Blue Ocean program and completed with certifications in CompTIA’s A+, Net+, Security+, and in Microsoft Office Specialist’s Word, Excel, and Outlook.

One benefit of the Blue Ocean program is that when students successfully complete the program they are guaranteed a job. Tristan was offered a job at LearnKey as the newest member of the Veteran Services team. With Tristan joining the team, I wondered what exactly  the Veteran Services Team did to get Tristan to this point. So I spoke with Brian Tremelling and Seth Boyack, two people who were instrumental to Tristan’s success. See what they had to say below:

Brian Tremelling | Veteran & Vocational Rehabilitation Advisor – Tristan was one of the very first to be accepted into our new Blue Ocean program. The Blue Ocean terminology simply implies big, as in big opportunity for our students. Tristan’s program included IT certifications like CompTIA’s A+, Network+, and Security+. It also included certifications in Microsoft Office, and education modules designed to help with interviews, resumes, and other skills that employers are looking for. Many people would think that having these types of credentials would be enough to launch anyone in their career. Unfortunately, work experience is the missing element whenever a student gets a new credential. The great thing about those who get accepted into our new Blue Ocean program is the fact that those who successfully complete the program have the opportunity to work with LearnKey and gain that work experience that they are lacking. Tristan is the first of many students who will accept full-time work with us as a way to begin their new career.

Seth Boyack | Veteran & Vocational Rehabilitation Advisor – When I originally spoke with Tristan prior to him being accepted into LearnKey’s Blue Ocean program I could tell right away that he was motivated and hungry for such an amazing opportunity. Upon enrolling, Tristan shot out of the gate with the dedication necessary to find success. LearnKey teaches students with various learning styles; some students require more direction and others are able to move through our program without a lot of management. Tristan was the latter. Tristan and I would communicate on a monthly basis mainly for check-ins and progress reports. One of the major reasons Tristan saw so much success was directly correlated with the open line of communication we had together. Tristan’s program wasn’t perfectly smooth; there were times when he’d have to travel a couple hours to a testing center in order to sit for his certification and another time where he failed one of his exams on the first attempt. These bumps in the road proved to be pivotal. Not only did they continue to reconfirm Tristan’s drive to successfully complete the program, but it also gave Tristan and me an opportunity to work as a team and come up with the best solution possible. Tristan knew that he could trust what I said I was going to do and I knew that I could trust Tristan to deliver on his end as well; this mutual trust and the ability to have open communication is the crux of the Veteran Service Advisor and their student. No matter how you slice it or what educational path you go down, school is challenging. What LearnKey aims to do is provide students with a detailed career track, the education necessary to successfully complete the training, and a team whose sole responsibility is to make sure our students are successful. Attention to detail is what students need whether you’re learning on a campus or doing so in the comfort of your home.



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Newest Employee of the Month all about the team!

by Jeff - Oct 01, 2014


Kelly Woods

Like any other company we continue to try and get better at what we do. That could not be more evident than what has transpired over the past ninety (90) days on our LearnKey Veteran Services Team (LKVS). During this period we required everyone to “be all in” on what was good for our students. It required several team members to stop what they were doing and do what is good for the team, even if it required their other priorities to be put on the back burner.

Kelly Woods, an Adviser on the LKVS team and this month’s BLS/LearnKey employee of the month demonstrated our core values by not only jumping in to help fix the problem, but took on a leadership role working with other team members on building a better process, assisted with finding good team members, and recommended a “team approach” for handling students with “a can do attitude” the entire time.

He demonstrated the value of his team members by trusting them and working on solutions vs. pointing fingers.  At a time when frustrations were high he made it very easy for team members to work with him on finding the best solutions that were the best for the team.

Kelly has a way about him that makes it easy for people to feel comfortable with him and he relates to people – a true gift, not only in friendship, but leadership and business as well.  A perfect example is what one of his peers, Kim Johnson, had to say when she nominated him. “At a time when I needed leadership support while making drastic changes to teams and processes Kelly supported me the entire way and I am so appreciative of that”.

Here’s a way for you to get to know Kelly a bit  on the personal side through a fun Q&A:

How many siblings do you have? 4 sisters and 3 brothers, I am 7th out of the 8
What is your favorite movie? The Ultimate Gift
What is your favorite band? Alabama
What is your favorite vacation spot? Kolob Mountain
What was your high school’s mascot? Ram
What is the weirdest combination of foods you have eaten? I don’t eat weird combinations
What is/was the name of your favorite pet? Buddy
What was your first car? 1976 Toyota Corolla
If you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? Jerusalem
Would you rather sky dive, bungee jump, zip line, or parasail? Zip line
What is the funniest saying you have heard working here? There is a cat on the heater vent
If you could eat dinner with anyone from the past, present, or future, who would it be and why? My little sister Tiffany who passed away suddenly last year. I would like to make sure that she really knew I loved her.

Please join me in congratulating Kelly on this achievement and his contributions to our company!

 

 



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New Course Release – Computer Foundations 2014

by Beau - Sep 29, 2014


What’s my favorite part about our Computer Foundations 2014 course? It’s stunning. I have to give credit, applause, high-five, two thumbs up to our design team. I know that I speak for everyone in the company when I say that this course looks fantastic. This course has more than its looks going for it. This course is perfect for anyone who is wanting to learn the basics and is full of helpful facts and tips about computing.

Computer Foundations 2014

This course covers the basic foundations of using a computer, while ensuring that the content is easy to understand and follow. Students will learn how to choose the appropriate programs to complete important and useful tasks. By the end of this course students will feel comfortable using the technology presented and be confident in their skills and knowledge.

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



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