The first group of students at Jeld-Wen's Midwest Learning Center take advantage of the facility's thoughtfully designed main classroom.
Jeld-Wen The first group of students at Jeld-Wen's Midwest Learning Center take advantage of the facility's thoughtfully designed main classroom.

When skilled labor is hard to find, effective training takes a front seat. Jeld-Wen is taking that to heart with a three-pronged approach to educating customers at every level of its business.

ProSales was on-hand when Jeld-Wen University unveiled the newest element of its multi-faceted education platform in April at the company's Rantoul, Ill., facility. Dubbed the Midwest Learning Center, the first-of-its-kind facility will have a big benefit for everyone who touches Jeld-Wen products, particularly dealers. The company intends to invite dealers, builders, remodelers, and architects to the Learning Center's classrooms for education on topics ranging from product features to installation best practices to sales techniques.

The Rantoul facility is also home to some of Jeld-Wen's manufacturing, as well as a redesigned customer service center that handles 150,000 calls annually.

President and CEO Mark Beck (right) shared his enthusiasm for Jeld-Wen's education efforts in statements at the Midwest Learning Center ribbon-cutting ceremony. "It's important to note that the name of this new facility is the Learning Center," he says. "It's not the "training center." It's a place where we can all come and learn." With his father as an educator who instilled a love of learning, Beck says the facility's name and goal both carry personal importance for him, and align well with Jeld-Wen's corporate value of investing in people.

Far-Reaching Education
The Midwest Learning Center is just the first such facility Jeld-Wen plans to open, with additional regional centers in areas accessible to customers nationwide. Director of Training Derek Brosterhous says Jeld-Wen expects to host about 30 people at the Learning Center on a weekly basis for one- to three-day sessions. In keeping with the University theme, 100-, 200-, and 300-level courses will be offered with introductory sessions focusing on company history and market trends, while more advanced courses will offer deeper dives into product performance factors and code changes, and "electives" along the lines of coastal requirements for windows and doors and other niche industry topics.

Adjoining the main classroom area is a product showroom to help give attendees both inspiration and product knowledge. The classroom is outfitted with option boards and corner samples of windows and doors.

"The Regional Learning Centers will focus on installation, business, and sales training for dealers, architects, and builders, as well as new employee on-boarding for Jeld-Wen," Brosterhous says. "But it's just one part of Jeld-Wen University's multi-modal learning model."

In addition to the Learning Centers, Jeld-Wen has four mobile showrooms that will be able to bring education to customers at their own facilities and jobsites, plus an online Learning Management System through which customers can take online classes with content tailored to their needs. As a package, the platform instills Jeld-Wen's "AIM" philosophy, Brosterhous says.

Four truck-and-trailer Mobile Showrooms are outfitted with a variety of Jeld-Wen product samples for on-the-go training and education.

"We want to give our customers an Awareness of how the industry is changing, Inspiration for their projects and businesses, and Mastery of business and sales skills they need to succeed," he says, highlighting the AIM goals. "With Jeld-Wen University our customers from the dealer level all the way to the end user will be able to engage with the material in a way that's convenient for them."

Jeld-Wen is working on creating a web presence for Jeld-Wen University. Until then, continuing education information can be found on, and dealers and customers can contact their Jeld-Wen representatives for more information on getting started with Jeld-Wen University.