DEED Partners with MnSCU and Normandale to Expand Opportunities for Western National Insurance Group Employees

By Steven Geller - Director of Media and Public Relations

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has awarded nearly $3.3 million in grants to Minnesota State College and Universities to train 4,294 current and new employees of 18 businesses.

"The Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program not only provides customized training for the next generation of leaders, but it also increases the long-term success of participating businesses statewide," said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben.

Normandale Community College received $222,216 to work with Western National Insurance Group to develop and deliver training for all 320 Edina, Minnesota-based employees in a foundational customer experience course.

"We are excited to partner with Normandale on this customer experience learning opportunity," said Western National President and CEO Stuart Henderson. "The program developed under this grant will be instrumental in equipping employees, first at Western National and then at other organizations participating in Normandale's new offerings, to better anticipate customer needs and deliver impressive solutions to their stakeholders."

There will also be additional training based on each employee's job title, work role, and need for specific skill sets. Through training, employees will be able to respond to changing customer requirements in ways that build lasting customer relationships; better use data, technology and channels; integrate change management principles; and increase revenue. Normandale Community College will gain capacity through the customization of existing courses and development of new courses.

"Normandale is excited about this opportunity because we already had customer experience on our radar", said Jeff Hudson, Program Director, Continuing Education and Customized Training. "We have observed the growing interest in this field that complements a number of programs we already deliver. When we learned that Western National was moving in this direction, the partnership made perfect sense."

 "Customer experience is a growing field," said Customer Experience expert and instructor Jim Tincher. "We know that from cross-industry research that a great customer experience leads to more loyal customers and strong organic growth. This grant will enable us to share the latest in customer experience with Minnesota companies, improving their competitiveness."

The grants were awarded under the agency's Minnesota Job Skills Partnership Program. The program works strategically with both businesses and educational institutions to train or retrain workers, expand work opportunities and keep high-quality jobs in the state.