CONEXIS, a Word & Brown company

A call center operator


North Lake College


Business, IT and management courses for employees from all levels and areas of an employee benefits company


Headquartered in Irving, CONEXIS administers employee benefits programs for more than 25,000 companies nationwide and has more than 500 employees. Its parent company, Word & Brown, encompasses several other health plan benefit entities and was one of the first companies in the nation to specialize in COBRA administration.

Goal and Target Audience

As a member of a heavily regulated industry, the company wanted employee training to increase overall efficiency, help ensure compliance with constantly changing regulations, mature its training and project management departments, and reduce turnover in its call center.


Training was conducted for 123 new and 544 existing positions for a total of 21,978 hours over 18 months for employees in almost all areas of the company: project management, call center, training, IT and HR. Training included accounting, business analysis, Microsoft Desktop, call center management, C#, Crystal Reports, SQL, project management and Lean Six Sigma.
  • Lean principles were first created by Toyota to reduce waste by defining, measuring, analyzing and improving processes in manufacturing. Lean management seeks to eliminate wastes of time and money through team-based problem solving.
  • Six Sigma provides techniques for continuous process improvement by identifying and removing causes of defects and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. Named for the degree of allowable statistical variation in manufacturing, it was originally developed by Motorola.
  • Lean Six Sigma combines the two: Lean techniques for reducing production time and Six Sigma for continuous quality improvement. According to many analysts, Lean Six Sigma is the most popular business performance methodology in the history of corporate development.


A Texas Workforce Commission Skills Development Fund grant provided $500,025 for tuition, materials and equipment to provide customized training to full-time employees during a 12-month period.

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Strategies for Success

Regular and consistent communication between partners made this project successful. CONEXIS already had a culture that embraced training, and by working directly with an invested company training staff, the project actually exceeded expectations.


CONEXIS was able to increase training events for the entire company, afford much-needed communication training, strengthen a young training academy that continues to save the company money, grow Certified Project Managers and improve overall morale and turnover. Other specific outcomes included:
  • IT courses such as C# and SQL database development were offered not only to existing IT employees but others with an interest to move into software developer positions. This supported the goal of career path expansion as well as best-in-class technology development for CONEXIS, with low financial impact. Several employees were promoted to new roles based on the IT training they received through the grant. 
  • All management-level employees and below were required to take customer service training, with significant impact on the company’s goal of improving customer experience.
  • Courses leading to certification exams such Project Management Professional (PMP) or CAPM were especially popular with participants, and several participants began or completed the process of sitting for these certifications from the Project Management Institute (PMI). Other participants were able to apply newly learned skills to their respective positions, managing everything from new client implementation to new product rollouts. Many of the best practices taught were immediately applied in the company, and the project management office at CONEXIS has matured as a result of the class.
  • After North Lake shared expertise in instructional design and e-learning with the CONEXIS training team, the company created a series of online training aids and learning modules that all new courses are now built on. The original plan was to budget for a Learning Management System (LMS) to allow true e-learning capabilities. Even when economic conditions prevented the acquisition of the LMS, the skills the staff learned in the instructional design and e-learning classes were applied in many ways. The training staff has continued to build e-learning modules to help reinforce training and to test application of knowledge.

Lessons Learned

The project had both expected and unexpected benefits, with North Lake and CONEXIS continuing to work together in a mutually beneficial partnership. With its substantial expertise in HIPAA regulations for health care, the company has taught for the college on another grant project and can also do so for contract training.

What Our Partners Say

Gordon Albury
Vice President, IT, CONEXIS
“ The North Lake College classes have been extremely beneficial to CONEXIS IT both corporately and to each individual who participated. For the technical courses, the results have been preparation for certification testing as well as career and job advancement, including at least one promotion as a direct result of a skills increase. Other courses built within the team the soft skills of presentation, organization and even better usage of important tools such as Excel. The instructors were all superb, and each student found the experience not only rewarding, but enjoyable. Truly this was a great benefit to CONEXIS as well as our employees. ”
Eva Boucher
Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer, CONEXIS
“ The soft skills classes offered through the Skills Development Fund grant have been very well received and successful for our organization. The skills that these individuals receive through this program have really enabled us to provide solid job-related classes and boost the confidence of our staff. Every employer should be providing an opportunity for employees to have these classes available to them, especially in the current job market environment. ”

For More Information

North Lake College
Workforce Education and Continuing Education