Risk Assessment Shows Need for New Corporate University at Make-A-Wish America

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When Deloitte conducted a risk assessment at Make-A-Wish America in 2011, the consulting firm recommended that the national foundation align training with organizational goals or risk impeding its ability to fulfill its mission.

The assessment provided the impetus to launch Make-A-Wish University, which brought talent management and talent acquisition under one roof. With 26,000 volunteers nationwide last year and a staff at the foundation's national headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, Make-A-Wish America needed to ensure all of its workers were properly trained and on boarded.

The foundation invested in a new learning management system with the launch of the university. The new LMS allows each chapter to be its own administrator, which means each can run reports and keep track of training among its volunteers, all the while being part of a centralized learning function.

That way training remains consistent at chapters throughout the U.S. "Our wish granting volunteers are the people who face our customers, the children we help and their families," says Christa Dallmann, director of learning and organizational development at Make-A-Wish University. "They represent our organization so it’s very important that they have consistent training and that they're all trained well."

Dallmann, Yuna Buhrman, an instructional designer and the rest of the Learning and Organizational Development team at Make-A-Wish University, developed a branding campaign for the university to introduce volunteers and employees to the learning assets.

"When people join Make-A-Wish now, they go through a mandatory on boarding process, which includes taking mentoring courses and being exposed to our various other offers at the university," Buhrman said. The university and its focus on centralized learning in an otherwise decentralized foundation, allows employees and volunteers to really focus on the customers that matter most, the children.