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eXceed Education

When it comes to getting employees trained, it doesn’t always work to have them schlep off-site and be gone for weeks. At eXceed Education, the training can come to you instead.

When it comes to getting employees trained, it doesn’t always work to have them schlep off-site and be gone for weeks. At eXceed Education in Minneapolis, the training can come to you instead. Plus, the company has some powerful partnerships with Sun Microsystesm, IBM, Citrix, and Cisco, among others. CEO Gerry Rasmussen chats about being different, economic chills, and never seeing a dull moment.

What does eXceed do differently than other specialized educators?

We offer high-end training to Fortune 500 companies, corporate IT departments, and government agencies. We deliver our courses via instructor-led training either at our locations, or through on-site classes. The way we’re different from everyone else is that we’ve invested heavily in our brick-and-mortar component. We’re not going out and renting classrooms. If an individual student were to visit any of our locations, he would see that it has the same look and feel of our other centers.

Why is it important to have this standardized look?

Because a student should be in an environment where true learning can occur. If you’re sitting in a class that’s being held in a hotel somewhere, you’re not going to concentrate on what you’re doing, you’re going to be thinking about what kind of restaurants are around the area for lunch.

What are some of your more popular education areas right now?

We’re seeing more project-based training all the time. A lot of companies are requesting this, whereas they used to be asking for more standard training. Project-based training is more business-objective directed, which is where IT is headed, I think.

For example, if a company is looking to revamp a Web site, it may need to get its programmers up to speed with Java, but it also needs the programmers to understand the nature of the project and to be able to plan a timeline for delivery. When the programmers leave our training with this kind of project-based knowledge, they’re confident in their ability to be able to go back and implement what they’ve learned and get the project done.

Are there other areas of growth in the training field?

We’re seeing more interest in standard system administration courses. Also, system performance and networking along with network intrusion detection training.

Many IT departments were slashing their training budgets in the past few years. How has the company dealt with this?

It’s been a struggle over the last 18 to 24 months, dealing with the economic climate. Institutions were forced to tighten their belts, and the first things to go were travel and entertainment, and training. So, it has been challenging, but we’re seeing an increase in enrollments now, and 2004 is looking very good.

The economic situation has actually helped us in some ways. We used to do more standard training, but the economy has forced us go out and form new partnerships with other software companies and hardware companies, and really open up our training offering. For example, two years ago we didn’t have Linux training, but we brought that on with many others. When you have a core foundation like we do, with strong instructors and facilities, it’s easy to adapt.

What do you like best about what you do?

Technology, to me, is an exciting market to be in. It’s always changing, and never dull. There are always new things being reworked, and the market forces anyone who’s in it to reinvent themselves. We’ve had to reinvent ourselves, and it’s made us a stronger company.

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