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An innovative way to promote the success of our employees

Jon Kalpan vp-training and developmentTell us about yourself: My entire career has been devoted to expanding opportunity by providing meaningful, impactful, and engaging learning opportunities to others. I started my career as a high school teacher in Oakland, California, teaching Economics and Government to 12th graders. I spent about ten years in public education, teaching everything from math and science to English literature. I founded and ran a charter school called the Alameda Community Learning Center for several years, but eventually decided the most interesting things in the learning industry were happening in the private sector. I left public education in 1999 and started my corporate life writing development training software manuals in the tech sector. After working in various corporations for several years, I chose Discover because it was a place that allowed me to focus on my mission – to use education as a way to help people lead more rewarding and fulfilling lives.

I live in Lake Bluff, IL with my wonderful wife Shari, my two wacky kids, and our five-year-old runty-looking dog.

What is “The Discover College Commitment”? The Discover College Commitment is a new tuition program that provides all eligible U.S.-based Discover employees the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree online from select accredited public or non-profit private universities at no cost. The benefit covers tuition and required fees, books and supplies needed to complete select online degrees at one of three schools – the University of Florida (via UF Online), Wilmington University and Brandman University. The benefit has no tenure requirement so employees can start participating as soon as they want regardless of how long they have been with the company, including new employees on their first day.

What was the objective for launching this type of program? When we started working on this several years ago, we had four strategic objectives. First and most immediately, we wanted to improve talent acquisition and retention, especially in our  call centers. Second, we wanted to improve a set of transferable skills for participating employees, helping enhance their critical thought, analytical reasoning, problem solving, and quantitative aptitude. Third, we felt that we could structure the curriculum to deliver a set of strategically relevant capabilities, such as cyber security and computer engineering. Finally, we felt that we could enhance our brand in the market for both potential employees and consumers.

How’s it going so far? It’s still early days, but we’ve been extremely gratified by the overwhelming enthusiasm across the company. In the first two-and-a-half months since launch, nearly 10% of the company has scheduled academic counseling sessions with our education counselors. Moreover, almost 500 employees have submitted college applications to one of our degree programs.

While it will take years to realize the long-term benefits of this program, we’re already seeing early positive returns. Visits to our jobs page are up significantly and company-wide attrition is steadily declining. Moreover, Discover received over 185 million media impressions based on 58 news stories that resulted from this program. Word of mouth has been uniformly glowing.It will be years before we will be able to announce our first graduates, and we know that there will be challenges along the way. That said, we couldn’t have hoped for a more positive start and a uniquely innovative way to promoting the professional, personal, and financial success of our employees.

For more information about the Discover College Commitment program, including eligibility requirements, please visit www.mydiscoverbenefits.com/keyword/education-assistance.

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How Discover Helped Shape Me to Be the Leader I Am Today

jenna leary

How Discover Helped Shape Me to Be the Leader I Am Today

Name: Jenna

Job Title: Department Manager, Cardmember Assistance

I am married with a two year old daughter. I have my undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology and my Masters in Business Administration. In my spare time, I love to spend time with my family and friends, shop, cook and travel.

Someone once asked me what I would say to a friend or neighbor applying for a job at Discover, and without missing a beat my response was, “Are you ready to make the best career decision ever?!”

I started working at Discover over the summer of my junior year in high school and am still here 13 years later. Throughout that time, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to make my mark in several roles throughout the business. Most recently I stepped into a new role as Department Manager for our Card Operations department in Phoenix, and without Discover’s support along the way I would have never come this far.

One way Discover has encouraged my growth is through the tuition reimbursement program. The company helped me reach my educational goals (and then some) by supporting me financially to finish my education. I now have an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology and a Masters in Business Administration. I believe it was this support that has led to many of the advancements I’ve made to get me to the role I’m in now. My experience with Discover’s tuition reimbursement program was so positive, I developed a passion for education and help advocate for other employees to further their education.

I’ve become a local subject matter expert on Discover’s education programs and assisted countless employees in selecting their major, picking the right classes and submitting their courses for reimbursement. Over the years I have also led our Leadership Education Advancement Program (LEAP) initiative in Phoenix. I once even had the opportunity to work with a local community college to bring an Organizational Leadership Certification program to Discover’s campus – a designation employees were able to complete while at work AND with no out-of-pocket expense.

To me, Discover is not just a job or career. The diverse experience and educational development Discover has provided me over the years has truly helped to shape me to be the leader that I am today.

Search & apply for careers in Customer Service.

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Discover Has Been My Life, I Grew Up Here

Shannon

Discover Has Been My Life, I Grew Up Here

Name: Shannon

Job Title: Team Leader – Cardmember Assistance

I started as an outbound phone collector and collected for 4 years, then was promoted to coach. I was asked to cover two teams early in my coaching career and that earned me a promotion to Team Leader. Throughout the years I have served in a variety of leadership roles at Discover. Locally, I am the Phoenix PRIDE Employee Resource Group (ERG) Chair, and serve as a member of several other ERGs.

Discover is dedicated to helping employees with career growth. Those who show success in results and leadership can really stake out a career here. I myself have been afforded an opportunity to showcase my greatest skills in communication and helping keep employees engaged every day.

For several years I served as a Hiring Manager in Cardmember assistance. During that time,  I was one of the first faces a potential job candidate saw when they came for an interview. When looking to hire someone I always told them all of the things I liked about them and why I think they will find success here. Highlighting for them the strengths that work best with Discover’s culture and support of our values helps them hit the ground running and to be successful from day one. Many of my managers have been mentors to me and have made me feel valued. I strive to give back to the organization in the same way by carrying that forward.

I have had many employees tell me in the hallways that this dialogue is why they chose Discover over a competitor or even another job closer to home. It was my favorite part of hiring.

I love creating an open atmosphere and encourage all employees to reach their potential, and do so by living authentic lives in the work place. The culture here is unparalleled and I truly appreciate Discover for that.

Interested in working in Cardmember Assistance? Search & apply for careers in Customer Service.