Nelnet is serious about professional development when it comes to its associates, and the word is spreading quickly.
Nelnet University is built to help associates learn, develop, and grow. Nelnet U celebrated its first anniversary in March. Nycci Jones, Director of Corporate Training and Organizational Development, says the program has already exceeded expectations in its first year.
“Our first year has been overwhelmingly successful as 2,658 Nelnet associates have completed upward of 5,410 learning hours”, said Nycci.
Nycci first had the idea to start Nelnet University when she was sitting in her doctorate residency class talking with Dr. David Vance, the founder of Caterpillar University for Caterpillar, Inc. The way that he talked about incorporating a continuous learning environment for employees inspired Nycci to take action.
“I work within an organization that believes in education. So whether that is academia or organizational development, it’s all still part of learning. Expanding learning and development meets the needs of our associates and contributes to creating an awesome place to work”, said Nycci.
Nelnet University is comprised of three schools: School of Professional Development, School of Leadership, and School of Business Acumen. All three schools foster a learning environment that trains and equips our people in all stages of their careers.
The School of Professional Development is open to all associates. This school is focused on delivering content in an eLearning format, allowing associates to access the content anytime, anywhere. The OnDemand program has over 60 eLearning courses available on the Nelnet Learning Portal. Associates interested in participating in a year-long development course can enroll in the Pick 3 program. Associates who want to explore or transition to a leadership role can also choose to join an eight-month cohort program, Preparing for Leadership.
The School of Leadership is open to associates in Pay Grades 7 and above. This school focuses on helping leaders hone their skills and grow in their leadership role. The School of Leadership has two cohort programs: Emerging Leaders and Steps to Supervisory Success.
Open to associates in Pay Grades 15 and above, the School of Business Acumen provides leaders with an understanding of Nelnet as an integrated business system, with a focus on strategic awareness. The cohort program IGNITE, consists of perfecting higher-level leadership styles. Those nominated for the cohort are selected by senior leadership.
“We take the learning and development of our associates very seriously”, Nycci emphasized.
Down the road, Nycci and her team will keep expanding Nelnet University and expect that participation will keep increasing. She and her team are in the process of getting a few of Nelnet University’s courses accredited so that associates can apply them towards a degree.
“Establishing Nelnet University creates a sustainable learning environment that all associates can be a part of, from entry level all the way to the C-Suite” Nycci said. “Our commitment to associate development is a critical piece to talent development.”