CASE STUDY: Creating a Customized In-House College

The case studies outlined in the “Athena In Action” series are being shared as examples of the variety of solutions we have provided to our clients for over a decade.

TOPIC: Creating a Customized In-House CollegeAIA 600x314 (2)

INDUSTRY: Construction

ASSESSMENT/SITUATION:  It was 12 years ago when I first met with this client.  They wanted to create and run an in-house college where selected employees would attend a 3-year program where they would learn various topics on leadership. Young high potentials with the ability to grow in the organization were selected for the program.  The program would give them the development needed to move to Mid-Level Management. This company was totally committed to creating a powerful program that supported ongoing learning for their managers.

ATHENA PARTNER MATCHING:  The partner I chose for this client was a facilitator/coach who had extensive leadership skills training programs, a wide range of assessment tools and was an engaging facilitator.

SOLUTION: It took a few months to get the program designed.  It included topics such as leadership, delegation, giving feedback, difficult conversations, communication skills, presentation skills, personal branding, DiSC and coaching.  They have also periodically included other programs such as Outlook and Microsoft Office training.


To date, they have had 40 Graduates since the program started in 2005.  Of these, 5 have left the company, 35 have been promoted one level and 9 have been promoted multiple levels.   The current VP Operations is an Alumni of the program.  The Program is very prestigious, and graduates stand out in the organization.   The grad event starts with a Grad Ceremony, they attend a dinner with a guest and all of the executives attend.   They stay downtown and attend a Sunday morning breakfast as well.   They all receive company shares when they graduate.

Confidentiality is very important to us at Athena Training and Consulting Inc.  The company names and individuals have been kept private in these case studies in compliance with our Privacy Policy.

Assessing a Great Training Agent by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

training options

Utraining optionssing an outside partner for training can be a valuable way to increase productivity, ensure employee development and keep your organization running with optimal efficiency. However, it’s extremely important to choose the right training partner so that your money is not wasted and so that employees find the time they spend training to be worthwhile.

Of course, there are many specific things you may look for in a training agent, depending upon your business and the exact skills the trainer will be working on with your employees. However, trainers of any sort need to possess three important skills. As you evaluate your options, keep these three things in mind.

1.   Knowledge. Any good trainer is knowledgeable in his or her field. Beware of trainers who only know the material at the “50,000 foot” level, as your most seasoned employees will spot it a mile away, and the trainer will lose credibility. Your employees must believe that this person can actually teach them something, or their time is wasted.

2      Creativity. Even in grade school, we all remember liking the teachers who taught us in creative ways. If you want to keep your employees engaged in training, choose a trainer who thinks and teaches “outside the box”. Activities and exercises, even if employees balk a little at first can create the most memorable training experiences.

3.   Willingness to change. The trainer who is doing things the same way he did them five years ago is not going to bring much value to your organization. Look for trainers who are consistently honing their own skills, both in the classroom and on the job. You may have to pay a little more for a trainer who spends time being trained himself, but it’s well worth it in the long run.

Outside training can be a large budget item, especially for a small business. However, it can be one of the most valuable tools you have in keeping your employees growing and keeping your business on the cutting edge. It’s important to not always go for the cheapest option, but it is also critical to ensure you get good value for your money. By choosing to work with an experienced training agent can simplify the process and reduce the risk of outsourcing.  A qualified training agent will first thoroughly understand your needs then connect you with the Perfect Fit training solution provider.

So Much to Do in So Little Time!

meeting and exceeding customer expectations - service excellence & commitment

So Much to Do in So Little Time!


As I have shared in many of my previous blogs, I am so grateful for the opportunities we have to work with the training and development professionals in organizations.  This story I am sharing is no different.

I had the pleasure of meeting with the learning consultant and his colleague of a large retail chain.  I met with these two gentlemen much the same as I meet with most of my clients, by prospecting.  During our initial meeting they shared that they had no immediate needs and were quite happy they chose to meet with me.  I explained everything about how the alliance worked and how we have consistently been able to provide the right fit training partners.  At the end of the meeting we agreed I would follow up in three months.

meeting and exceeding customer expectations - service excellence & commitmentTwo weeks after our appointment I received a call from one of the consultants explaining they had a rush need for an instructional designer.  They had just got approval to roll out a new program and did not have the internal resources to make it happen on time.  During my conversation with him I learned that they needed this in less than a two week turnaround. They had to design the program and conduct a train the trainer so it could be rolled out in several locations across the country by their internal staff.  I said I had several instructional designers in my alliance and I said I would get to work on it right away.

I called one instructional designer and she was just heading out the door to an appointment.  We continued the call while she was enroute to her appointment.  In order for this to happen, it would mean she would have to work the weekend.  She said of all the weekends, this would be the perfect weekend for her to work on such a project as her husband and son were out of town at a hockey tournament.

She needed a little more information than what I had at the time so we agreed I would virtually connect the two of them so they could determine the fit.  I got a call back the next day advising me that they were going ahead and she was excited for this opportunity.

When I did my follow up call after the completion of the project, the consultant shared with me that our alliance partner was such a delight to work with and she came through above and beyond what he could expect.  He said he was so impressed with her level of commitment to their project, so much so that she actually came and sat in the pilot program on her own time.  Pretty awesome!

Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC