Last week was a whirlwind! It started Friday, December 6th in our St. George corporate office. Both my wife and I were excited to meet our newest team member Shelbie Miller and catch up with recent “newbies” Paula Terry and Camille Wasek. We feel so fortunate to have such an amazing team.
Saturday morning we attended a team building event assisting in the move of Kimberly Johnson “aka” the collector! It was so exciting as she moved into her first new home! A beautiful place and we could not be more happy for Kim and her family. That night we had our holiday party for both St. George and Cedar City offices at Rusty’s Ranch House in Cedar City (see picture). What a turn out and congrats to Jessica Staples and Jordan Cook – winners of our Left, Right, Center Challenge.
Monday, December 9th we met with our St. George team members and I survived a BIG PRANK whereas Mr. Jared Baker decided to scare me with one of his friends who is an Arizona Sheriff, pretending to arrest him by chasing him out the building. All I can think about is how I plan to get back at him. What is that saying “Paybacks are a…”
Tuesday was fun filled as our LearnKey leadership team was sharing their end of year results and 2020 goals for next year. We are so proud as they will be presenting these findings to our board later this month. WE HAVE HAD A GREAT YEAR. That day we also did a “team building workout” with the entire staff lead by our Chief Employability Officer Ms. Beth Ciaramello. It was eye opening for all of us and a great way to improve our communication skills.
Wednesday we spent the majority of the day in our Cedar office again Ms. Ciaramello facilitated an awesome team building workout. Then it was off to Orem, UT.
Thursday we celebrated our partnership with Certiport providing lunch at their offices, followed up with a dinner that included both Certiport and GMetrix partners from their respective leadership teams. Our ask was – What can we do better to make the partnership stronger! The feedback was positive and with a focus of “keep doing what you are doing now because it is working”. Music to my ears.
Friday morning was spent with our GMetrix partner checking out their new offices and then lunch with one of our fearless leaders Marian Eckley. She has done an amazing job leading our entire production team this past year.
Saturday, December 14th, we had our holiday celebration with our Salt Lake City team at Carvers Steak & Seafood House in Sandy, UT (see picture). The service and food was fantastic but the company was incredible.
Throughout the entire trip the observations were consistent while the teams acknowledged we had success and growth this year, better than any of the past years, ALL THEY WANT TO DO IS GET BETTER. You see that is the mentality and culture of our teams always wanting to do better.
This week we end our holiday road trip with celebrations in Scottsdale with our Brighton College team members and the Know Your Talents team. Which again, will focus on a look back and more effort towards getting better.
My wife made it very clear as her observation was we should feel very blessed to have so many great people on the same page, with the same focus- HOW CAN WE GET BETTER.
Now that is a true team.
When you have great people it drives the engine of success for your company. Our newest Key Contributor Award Winner- Jacob Gardner is right at the center of that engine. Because of his work ethic over the past four (4) years, respect he has gained from his peers, he epitomizes our core values; Ease, Value and Trust. Every day he comes in and seamlessly does his job better than anyone can on the planet. Technical support, computer ordering (a big part of his job that has doubled over the past year), testing, telecom support he does it all and always as if it is no big deal.
We always talk about our “Why”- Improving Employability Every Day. Jacob knows the work he does directly ties to helping our customers: counselors, K-12 students, adult learners and veterans gain the key skills and industry certifications they need to improve their employability skills.
Just like last quarters Key Contributor Award Winner , a team member who is well respected, we are very fortunate to have him as part of our technical support team working in at our headquarters in St. George, Utah.
Please join me in congratulating Jacob for a job well done.
About two months ago, I was having a conversation with our CEO and he said, “Brother (he calls me brother, how nice), wouldn’t it be nice if we could do a soft skills (meaning non-tech) course that could help improve communication skills for business? Is there a cert on that?”
At the time, the answer was yes, I could come up with a course but no, there was no official certification for this. But wouldn’t you know it: two weeks later, Certiport announced a new Communication Skills for Business (CSB) certification that will be out later this fall. Great minds think alike.
We, as you well know, are dedicated to improving employability every day. But that doesn’t just mean tech skills and being able to do a COUNTIFS function in Excel. Far from it. Strong employability requires strong communication skills, and this is where this course fits in to the overall employability umbrella.
Every so often we decide to change things up and bring in a guest author to do a course. For this course, we are very excited to have Jennifer Stubblefield, the reigning Certiport Educator of the Year, bring you this course. Jennifer has been a business teacher for over 25 years and is a champion Microsoft Office Master instructor as well. She understands both the tech side and the communication side of employment and it shows in this course.
We filmed the course last week and we are very excited to bring you this course. This course is like no other in that though the exam is heavily topic-based, our course is scenario-based and interactive while teaching to the core exam topics of
- Describe Basic Communication Principles
- Plan for Effective Communication
- Apply Best Practices for Creating Business Deliverables
- Deliver Your Message
- Receive Communications
- Analyze Communication Scenarios
This course applies to both those looking for jobs and those already in a career. I was going to say this course applies to those looking to improve communication skills, but let’s be real: everyone could use improvement in this area. And Jennifer covers this literally from head to toe (as in wardrobe for an interview – I knew a tie is supposed to come down to a belt buckle, but did you?). She also points out that whoever runs the front desk at a company is watching interview candidates from the moment they walk in and will divulge what is seen to the hiring decision-makers. A good reminder for all of us.
The truth is, we as a filming crew learned a lot even though improving our communication skills wasn’t on our minds when Jennifer arrived to film this course. For example, did you know there is a big difference in meaning between having a meeting in a L-shaped seating arrangement vs. sitting across from someone? I didn’t. Now, I do. I learned a lot about improving business communication skills just in the three days it took us to film this course. And I talk for a living. So, if I can learn a lot, so can you, no matter where you are on your career path
For a company to be on the same page it has helped a great deal that everyone knows our “Why” – Improving Employability Every Day. Our newest Key Contributor Award recipient Beth Ciaramello lives it every day as our Chief Employability Officer.
Beth’s job is to connect our students to employers, work study programs, and get them job ready/hired. She is also quite worldly as one of her personal accomplishments last year was traveling abroad working remotely.
She is being recognized for taking on three major projects, creating and implementing a ProScan to Placement process (P2P), finding new great talent to support the new process, taking over Brighton Colleges Employability activities, and taking over all recruiting and hiring for LearnKey staff (yes we are hiring).
Her “can do attitude” has resulted in two awesome new team members (Jeff & Wendy) based in Scottsdale, who have learned the P2P process and fully implemented it. We now have improved tracking and placements for both Brighton and LearnKey. Additionally, Beth continues to recruit awesome talent and truly displays our core values (ease, value, and trust).
The value she brings to our internal teams and external customers is exceptional. A great example is a recent partnership she has established with a new employer to our programs. This has required a lot of moving parts to come together and she has stayed with it all the way.
As a leader she knows our business and students as well as anyone else. One of her greatest qualities is the ease in which she works with everyone. Always willing to listen, offer advice and support no matter what. What that has left along the way is a tremendous amount of trust between Beth and everyone she interacts with on our teams.
We are so fortunate to have you on our team. Congratulations Beth for always keeping our Why – Improving Employability Every Day front and center for all of us.
My father taught me many years ago to learn a trade or in-demand skill, as well as always have a plan “B”. In this day and age that is so important, especially for those in high school, going to college, or adults trying to obtain a well-paying job. It just so happens I took that advice back in the 80’s and learning my first skill/certification was how to use American Airlines “Sabre” reservation system. See, my trade was working in a travel agency. I learned reservations, ticketing, operations, business development, and sales.
Knowing and getting certified in multiple reservation systems like Sabre, United Airlines Apollo system, TWA’s PARS, and a few others allowed me to go from doing reservations to becoming a team lead, then operations supervisor, to Director, then V.P./General Manager. Yes, I was climbing the corporate ladder, even ran start-ups over my 30-year career.
But it all started with making sure I had skills. Now, in this day and age “first jobs” are on the cusp of being eliminated this article that speaks to “AI is replacing first jobs” which is very concerning but not surprising due to advances in technology. So now more than ever, I stress to everyone learn a skill/trade, get certified, so you can have a fall back plan “B”. College degrees are important, however, in today’s world so is getting certified in many fields such as: Technology, Allied Health, STEM, Legal, and many more.
The good news is its not just me advocating the importance of certifications. A recent Forbes article just came out titled “non-degree certificates and certifications are fast, cheap and effective”. This is a great read and while they are not necessarily cheap it validates how important non-degree certificates and globally-recognized industry certifications are in today’s workforce. Here are some key highlights of the article & survey which are sure worth sharing:
- Adults with a short-term certificate or industry-based certification were more likely to be employed (85%) than adults without such credentials (78%).
- Adults holding certificates reported their median annual income to be $45,000, compared to $30,000 for adults without any certificates.
- Among the non-degree adults with a certificate or certification, two-thirds were inclined to recommend the educational path they had followed to others, compared to less than half of the non-degreed adults without such credentials.
- Among certificate/certification holders, 60% believed their educational experiences made them more marketable to potential employers, compared to 44% of those who had not earned certificates or certifications.
At LearnKey we are all about “improving employability every day” and we do that through ensuring our message around “Learn a skill, Practice as part of your preparation, and get Certified” is loud and clear. The world is changing and now more then ever, you need to have a plan “B” and I have my father to thank for that!
Our newest Key Contributor Award winner is Sheena Chamberlain and in Sheena we trust.
This year LearnKey is rolling out new technology and tools so our learners have the best learning experience. The first roll out was enhancements to our student information system (SIS 2.0) in February this year. That was no easy task, however, having lots of expertise in-house that project was more manageable.
Our new Learning Management System has been a huge undertaking and in development for well over a year. This is new state of the art technology that has yet to be rolled out enterprise wide.
In January 2019 we realized we needed an A+ team player to begin to manage the beta testing and early adoption of this new system. In a perfect world someone would have come on board and had several months to get up to speed by working with the developers, our in house designers and production team. That did not happen.
What happened was Sheena Chamberlain stepped up an said “I can do this” without any hesitation. Not only did she have a tremendous “can do attitude” but she also quickly realized that there was more work to do, then anyone had anticipated. What did she do? What she is best at which is managing people and process. Soon, she had twelve (12) internal team members working on fixing labs, rebuilding courses, coordinating development efforts and managing new customer expectations. She did all this while continuing to do her normal job.
What jumped out with all of us is how she truly demonstrated our core values: Ease, Value and Trust, with Trust leading the way. She was open, honest, told it like it was, didn’t make excuses or complain that things were not they way they were portrayed. She just took it on herself to make it right.
I want to take this moment to congratulate Sheena for staying the course with a positive attitude, persistence and always taking the high road. We are so fortunate to have her on board and in the next thirty (30) days we will be launching this new LMS!
In Sheena we trust!
Hello and happy spring from your humble senior instructor. I am very happy to announce that we have released the first course in our new series of courses on Computer Aided Drafting and Design (CADD). The course? Autodesk Certified User for AutoCAD. For those of you who are wondering what exactly is AutoCAD, let me tell you: it is computer-aided design (CAD) software that architects, engineers, and construction professionals rely on to create precise 2D and 3D drawings (that’s the description from the official website, so let’s go with that). The course itself, which covers the material on the AutoCAD Certified User exam, takes one through building some lamp drawings for the inside of a house.
In fact, “house” is the major theme of this entire series. Our second course in the series, Autodesk Revit, centers around building a house. The major use of Revit is designing buildings, hence the house design. The third course in our series, Autodesk Inventor, focuses on mechanical drawings. Thus, in that course, you will see how mechanical parts of a house are built.
CADD as a whole is a growing need, with a 7% growth expected for demand in the job market in the next decade, according to the Department of Bureau and Labor Statistics. This series of courses will help increase your employability prospects for many areas of CADD. And, for the AutoCAD and Revit courses, we have brought in an expert: Gary Roberts, who has over 20 years’ experience teaching Autodesk and similar applications at the high school level. In fact, through his teaching, I can say with confidence that I can now draw the architecture piece for something besides a golf course. Just don’t ask me to draw a raindrop as I’ve been told that’s not my best drawing skill (get the Animate CC 2015 course and you can decide for yourself).
A belated Happy New Year to you all. January is over, so I can say that. As I sit here writing this wondering when winter will ever end, I am happy to let you all know that we are in the midst of building and producing our Office 2019 suite of courses. As we are always trying to improve our product and your employability prospects, here is what you can expect to see as these courses start to roll out this spring:
Word 2019 – building a resume, cover letter, schedule, and small brochure.
Excel 2019 – building a small budget, a schedule list, and multiple summaries of data.
PowerPoint 2019 – building recruiting presentations for a small business and a school club.
Outlook 2019 – the whole personal information management package, from email, to calendar, to contacts, to tasks, to notes, and how all are used for continuity in the business world.
Access 2019 – a database to manage a small business.
Oh, small business, yes, I almost forgot: all of these courses are going to revolve around scenario-based learning (here are part I and part II of the scenario-based learning blogs for your reading pleasure) as we cover most of the material through two avenues: day-to-day usage at a fictitious athletic club business, and practical scenarios for students and those looking for a new career, as outlined in some of the scenarios above. We are not only about helping you pass the Office 2019 MOS exams (yes, these courses will help you do so), but we are also about making learning fun, fast-paced, enjoyable, scenario-based, and, most importantly, there to improve your employability.
And, these courses are loaded with practical tips, brought to you by our new “face of LearnKey,” Marie, who is helping us bring you a rich, practical, and full learning experience not only for Office 2019, but for more of our future courses. We look forward to start bringing you this series later this spring. Until then, here’s to spring getting here. Now. At least pitchers and catchers start reporting this week. Hope springs eternal!
Yes, Improving Employability Every Day is our “Why” and how we do that is through making great courses so youth and adult learners gain Industry IT Certifications, graduate our programs, and get employed! While LearnKey is known for great Video-based training we do provide additional content with each course including: labs, assessments, lesson plans and workbooks. Therefore, our production team consisting of video editors, technical writers, quality control, and system support staff have to always be working in sync to meet our course deadlines.
Our newest Key Contributor Award Winner M’Lissa Woods is making quite a name for herself by leveraging her amazing technical writing skills. M’Lissa joined us in July 2018 her first project was to complete Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA) workbooks for courses we shot earlier in the year. She jumped right in and after four months completed more than double, ten (10) workbooks a normal writer could complete in that period. Her ability to process work alone with focus and strong organizational skills are second to none.
This not only ensured we released these courses on time but she also really embraced our core values (Ease, Value, and Trust) which is huge for our culture. Her work is of great Value requiring minimal QC efforts, she immediately built a great deal of Trust with her peers, and she is very Easy to work with as noted by her manager and peers.
M’Lissa is going to help us reach our goals for 2019 which by the way are pretty lofty: Produce eighteen (18) courses including Microsoft 2019 series and our Signature CompTIA A+ course, migrate our students to a new learning management system & student information system, as well as provide more tutoring and customer support for our VA students. It is great to know we have employees like M’Lissa on our team to help us along the way.
We feel very fortunate to have M”lissa on board and if her name sounds familiar that is because her husband Kelly Woods is a previous Key Contributor Award Winner– so it runs in the family!
Please join me on congratulating M’Lissa for this great accomplishment.
We are always looking for organizations that align to our why “Improving Employability Every Day”. Be it social services organizations, K-12 & post secondary schools, employers, and not-for-profits. The good news is there are a lot of programs educators can leverage and share best practices around that are going to help youth, adult, and under-served learners gain key in-demand 21st century skills.
Here is a program we are pretty excited about that enables educators to prepare future-ready schools (FRS). Their effort to maximize digital learning opportunities and help school districts move quickly toward preparing students for success in college, a career, and citizenship is something we fully support and applaud. We work with hundreds of schools and districts nationwide that use our video-based courseware in the Business and Career & Technical Education programs. Every year we learn about more success stories and the FRS program is pretty impressive. The future-ready school programs and partnerships support, thousands of district leaders have planned and implemented personalized, research-based digital learning strategies for millions of students to achieve their full potential.
At LearnKey our goal is to offer employability skills learning programs that teach 21st century in-demand skills. Therefore, we want to ensure our curriculum, instruction style (i.e. scenario-based), and assessments are tightly aligned with and designed to engage students in personalized, technology-empowered, deeper learning experiences that build life-long learning skills. This year our new learning management system (OnlineExpert.com) is getting a significant makeover/technology upgrade that will drive more engagement and collaboration between learners and instructors.
It has been proven that learners who successfully “learn how to learn online” have over a 70% greater chance to become successful lifelong learners. Why is that important to us? Well, since lifelong learning is the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development, but also self-sustainability, as well as competitiveness and employability. That goes back to our “Why” which is improving employability every day!
Stay tuned as we introduce other successful learning organizations that support great causes such as lifelong learning!