Workforce.com

Online University Pilots Training Program with AT&T BIS in Denver

December 1, 1999
With the convergence of telecommunications, cable TV and Internet services, companies in the newly defined "broadband" industry face the challenge of expanding their employees knowledge base to include a number of new technologies. Increasingly, technology companies are bundling multiple services to provide greater value for their customers. As a result, employees must quickly enrich their technology skills and knowledge. How can a company meet these needs without severely impacting the productivity of its workforce?

Online learning is proving to be a viable solution to this problem for many companies, including AT&T Broadband & Internet Services (AT&T BIS). The newly formed broadband arm of telecom leader AT&T has more than 30,000 employees nationwide and is now piloting an online training program through the country s first fully-accredited online university, Jones International University (JIU). The courses are offered by an accredited institution; therefore, AT&T BIS can fund the program through its tuition reimbursement plans.

"Online learning programs that take advantage of high-speed cable connections allow our employees to learn critical skills and acquire essential knowledge. This also allows them to learn at times that don t interfere with their work or personal schedules," says George Simon, senior vice president of training and development for AT&T BIS. "Education and training resources like JIU s offer a convenient customized solution that helps us provide professional development and continuing education opportunities for our personnel."

JIU customized two certificate programs for AT&T BIS, each comprised of three courses. One certificate focuses on developing effective communication processes within an organization. The other provides participants with specialized skills in emerging technologies.

Managers and supervisors at AT&T BIS Denver offices are currently taking advantage of the accredited training program. Courses will be available throughout AT&T BIS in the next year. Participants gain new knowledge and skills that allow them to better meet their customers and company s needs.

"We re excited to work with AT&T BIS. JIU combines innovative and proven methods for learning new skills and knowledge," says Dr. Pamela S. Pease, president of JIU. "JIU s outcome-driven model blends theory with real-world practice, allowing working adults to immediately apply their newfound knowledge on the job."

AT&T BIS employees register for the JIU training program online and then log on to their courses via the Internet by using personal passwords. Participants complete coursework from wherever they have access to a computer and the Internet from work, home or even from a hotel room halfway around the world.

Leading professors at the world s top colleges and universities develop JIU s curriculum, which currently focuses on business communication skills. The university was launched in 1995 and responds to the professional development needs of organizations like AT&T BIS. JIU works with corporations to develop customized programs to meet the specific training needs of an organization no matter the industry or location.

Online training courses provide an affordable solution to help managers become adept at using new communications tools. "These skills are aimed at dramatically improving the quality of communication with customers, employees and other key participants in a company s value chain," Pease adds.