Yesterday, I had the honor to meet Cory Olsson (pictured with Beth Ciaramello and Gloria Klug), a military veteran from Alpena, MI, who completed the LearnKey Blue Ocean program. Cory recently relocated to El Mirage, Arizona, after accepting a position with Spectrum Technology Solutions in Phoenix, Arizona. Upon completing the program, Beth Ciaramello, LearnKey’s Job Ready Manager, worked with Cory to gain employment. This is the best part of the job: meeting someone who completed our program and now has the skills to succeed in IT.
At LearnKey we are so passionate about “Improving Employability Every Day” for our customers that when we have an opportunity to learn about one of our own student’s success it just makes it all worth it. Cory is the one we are most proud of as our program is not easy. Beth raved about what an amazing student Cory was and how he had the skills, smarts, and right attitude to be successful. Spectrum Technology Solutions is a great company and Gloria Klug, Owner/VP Business Development, is excited to have Cory as part of her team.
Again, it is an honor to watch learners succeed in our program and gain employment, as it builds the motivation for all of us to create the best employability learning solutions on the planet.
Today is a big day as it is our 30-year anniversary! Back in 1987, John Clemons, our Chairman and founder of the company, officially launched LearnKey.
He had no idea the journey the company would take; he was just a young man who figured out there was a need in using video to train people how to use operating systems, software, technology, soft skills, professional development, and other topics that could help people improve their employability skills.
LearnKey would go on to help tens of thousands of people improve their job status or achieve first time IT careers through training. It started with offering courses on VHS, then CD-ROM (thanks to his brother David), then the Internet via OnlineExpert.com. Every step of the way this company figured out how to re-invent itself. At first it was a Business to Consumer (B-C) offering, then Business to Business (B-B), and each and every step of the way LearnKey figured it out.
That is because the most successful piece of the business is the great people along the way who made LearnKey what it is today. There are hundreds of employees to thank for that, starting with some who have been with us for a very long time.
Names like: Wendi Mangum, Scott Walker, Michael Watson, Chad Stocks, Jared Baker, Chip Ehlers, Wyett Ihler and Bart Giddings just to name a few are still with us today and for that we (John, David, Lori and I) are truly grateful. We started the celebration earlier this month by hosting some meals for the team; check out some of the pictures and you will see a few of the team members.
Speaking of employees today, I embark on a trip through Utah to celebrate with those named above, and our other current employees. The trip will start in Salt Lake City visiting with our production team, then to Cedar City for some fun with our post production team, and will finally hit St. George by way of LearnKey’s corporate offices for a final celebration.
Next week I will post pictures of the journey as we are proud to continue to do great work by Improving Employability Every Day.
Congratulations LearnKey and the entire team, for it has been 30 years and I sense we will continue to celebrate in another 30 years!.
The changing of a year is often a time of reflection and rededication. It’s a time to reflect on and analyze events of the previous year and rededicate ourselves to becoming the best we can be. It’s a time to remember accomplishments and set goals for the coming year. As I reflect on what LearnKey has accomplished in 2014, I realize that LearnKey and Better Learning Systems have had a very busy year. Very busy, and very productive.
Early this year, we began updating the design of the LearnKey website. This design update was an extensive process and was implemented a page at a time over the course of several months. The initial design was developed by Colin Bell, who left the company in February to pursue freelance web design work. Over the next several months, I created variations on Colin’s design to bring the remaining pages on the website into harmony with the finished pages.
Also in early 2014, Better Learning Systems developed an educational grant program to provide LearnKey courseware at a discounted rate for individuals who qualify. Our goal with this program is to provide assistance to those who need help in reaching their educational and professional goals, helping them gain the skills they need to succeed in their careers.
In February, LearnKey attended the Career and Technical Education (CTE) Recognition Ceremony put on by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). Alex Bell and Emma Mendez, two teachers who have worked closely with LearnKey over the years, were both honored at the ceremony.
In March, LearnKey courseware was approved by the New York State Department of Labor and added to the Eligible Training Provider List. To be included, LearnKey courses were subjected to a review process to ensure they complied with the high standards set by the Department of Labor.
In June, as we began to wrap up the new website design, a new feature was added to the LearnKey website. Website users now have the option of engaging in a live chat with members of the LearnKey Client Services team.
In a much-needed move, LearnKey announced the retirement of a large number of obsolete courses in July. In order to make the transition easier for users, the courses on the list are no longer being sold but will remain active on OnlineExpert until January.
Also in July, we released our first course presented in American Sign Language, Word 2013 ASL. Presented by certified ASL interpreter Amelia Williams, this course represents LearnKey’s latest attempt to improve our product and make it more useful for users.
In August, LearnKey Veteran Services’s Blue Ocean program began showing results with the graduation of Tristan Roberts. While in the Blue Ocean program, Tristan earned certifications in CompTIA’s A+, Network+, and Security+, and Microsoft’s Word, Excel, and Outlook. Upon graduation, Tristan was offered a job at LearnKey and is now a member of our Veteran Services team.
In September, we updated the design of the LearnKey Veteran Services website to match the design of the main LearnKey site, including the live chat option. We also added a new Student Resource Center for Veteran Services students. The Student Resource Center includes support information, LKVS contact information, and links to our monthly LKVS newsletters, certification pocket guides, and weekly tutoring sessions.
In October, LearnKey attended the Arizona Business Leadership’s “Heroes for Hire” event where we were recognized by the ESGR for our efforts in hiring veterans. LearnKey has employed many veterans over the years and promises a job offer to any veteran to graduate from our Blue Ocean program.
Over the course of the year, LearnKey has been working on an application with the Project Management Institute (PMI) to be recognized as a Registered Education Provider. In October, LearnKey’s application was approved. This means that LearnKey’s Certified Associate in Project Management® 2014 and Project Management Professional® 2014 Certification Prep courses have met the PMI’s rigorous quality criteria.
By anyone’s standard, I would say 2014 was a fantastic year for LearnKey. In addition to the nineteen new courses we’ve released, LearnKey has updated our websites, been recognized for the quality of our products, and instituted several new programs to further education. We are meeting our goal of helping people fulfill their dreams through better learning, and LearnKey plans to continue our mission in 2015.
Sometimes it’s good to take a morning away . . . away from the office, away from the desk, away from the computer.
Tuesday morning, I did just that. I took a morning away from LearnKey to speak to the Web Design class at Parowan High School in Parowan, Utah.
My wife is a student teacher at Parowan High School, and when her mentor teacher learned that I work as a Web Designer she asked if I would be willing to come talk to the class. She wanted someone in the local community to give her students a “real world” perspective on the concepts they are studying in class.
The world tells us that we can become anything we want to be. Therefore, the world tells us that anyone can become a web designer. The world often fails to mention that while everyone can become a web designer, not everyone will become a good web designer. Like any other profession, to become a good web designer a person must put in a lot of hard work and dedication (a little bit of natural artistic talent doesn’t hurt either).
As an artistic professional (yes, web design is an art form), I can’t always remember the fundamentals of designing a good website. As in many other professions, the elements of good design became instinctual over time and I subconsciously implement them in every design I create. As a result, I had to re-learn the proper terms for things that have become second nature to me. I had to re-educate myself before I could properly give a presentation on the elements of a good design. LearnKey’s Web Site Design Course provides a great introduction to these important concepts and teaches students how to use the tools necessary to succeed in a web design career.
Education is a large part of what it takes to succeed in any field of employment. Even so, with the large number of people looking for work, a proper education may not be enough to set you apart from other job seekers. It’s the seemingly simple things that set candidates apart, things like extra training and industry certifications.
At LearnKey, we understand the need to rise above the competition. Many of our courses are geared toward preparing students for certification, whether they’re interested in the Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, or CompTIA’s A+ Certification. Our primary goal is to provide quality expert-led training that will enable students to get certified at a pace that works for them. LearnKey’s courseware is carefully mapped to exam objectives, with project manuals and practice tests to reinforce concepts taught in the training.
I guess even on my morning away I couldn’t stay away from LearnKey or its mission.
Thanks again to Deveny Pace and Nicole Washburn for allowing me to take up their valuable class time.
It was a great experience watching Justin Walker one of our LearnKey Courseware experts talk to a group of students from Fountain Hills High School in Fountain Hills Arizona.
These students are wanting to learn Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and earn their certifications. We had a simple message for them – Certifications can and will have a positive impact on your career and college ready preparation. Industry experts now state 89% of IT hiring managers use “Certifications” as a filter for prioritizing resumes. Once in, career professionals who keep their certification track up-to-date earn on average 26% more than their peers.
It was a fun day speaking with four classes as they were good listeners and truly wanted to learn. Another benefit we shared with them is they get a chance to learn “distance learning” by using LearnKey courseware. Also, lets not forget that the teachers we met were fantastic. Thanks again to Bonnie Perkins, Jennifer Ray (CTE Leader) and Karla Primosch for allowing us to come in and speak.
Its great to see BLS/LearnKey team members out talking with students and teachers getting their input so we can make better courses! Thanks again for the great work Justin!