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Nationwide Information Technology Case Study

Equipping Employees Through Advanced Training & Development

The declining popularity of computer programming language COBOL in favor of the more modern, general-purpose language, Java, created a dilemma for insurance powerhouse, Nationwide: replace an entire workforce or find an efficient way to update their skills. Nationwide turned to Franklin University for help. Franklin provided a series of courses that delivered foundational Java knowledge in less than 2 years, while Nationwide provided up to 10 employees per course. Employees who completed the program obtain the necessary qualifications to retain a position as a programmer and become well-prepared for future advancement.

Solution Snapshot


The phase out of COBOL and introduction of Java required replacing or re-training an entire team of Nationwide programmers.


Nationwide partnered with Franklin University in offering a four-part series of courses to give programmers foundational knowledge of Java within a 2-year period.


The initial course was deployed within 1 month of engagement with Franklin. While participants were not required to complete all four courses, 11 individuals did complete the inaugural training. Since then, more than 80 Nationwide employees have completed at least one of the four courses.

Solution Details

Mission Accomplished

As part of its partnership with Nationwide, Franklin University developed a series of four courses to help equip its COBOL programmers with the Java knowledge necessary to achieve business and performance goals. Within one month of the original request from Nationwide, the first course was offered.

The four-course series includes:

  • Introduction to Computer Science and Object-Oriented Programming
  • Object-Oriented Data Structures and Algorithms I
  • Database Management Systems
  • Application Server Programming

A Franklin faculty member instructs employees onsite at Nationwide’s main location, while also providing simultaneous instruction to satellite locations via AdobeConnect. Session times are tailored to coincide with the end of a typical workday. The first two courses are offered with the fall and winter terms; the third and fourth courses are offered on an as-needed basis.

As part of the partnership, Nationwide’s programmers who participate in the Java training are classified as non-degree seeking students at Franklin. This not only satisfies immediate training needs, it means they’re also earning college credit with the option to continue taking courses to meet long-term education goals, too.

Success Metrics

The first course was offered in August 2014, and the first cohort of programmers completed the last of the four courses in May 2016. While participants are only required to take the first two courses to retain a position as programmer, 11 of 14 initial cohorts received certificates of completion for the four-course series in May 2016.

To date, 80 employees have taken at least one class, and one-third of the initial cohort have transitioned to new roles focused on Java programming. Several other individuals advanced to new positions after completing the first two courses.

About Nationwide


Nationwide is one of the largest insurance and financial services companies in the world, focusing on domestic property and casualty insurance, life insurance and retirement savings, asset management and strategic investments.

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