Leaders of a Dubuque-based publishing company believe a recent acquisition will help their business access new markets and adapt to the changing landscape of education.

Kendall Hunt Publishing Co. this month completed the purchase of Paradigm Publishing, a Minneapolis-based firm that helps a variety of students aiming to enter the workforce or improve their skills.

Chad Chandlee, president and CEO of Kendall Hunt Publishing, believes Paradigm is a perfect complement to the products and services already offered by the Dubuque firm.

He explained that Kendall Hunt primarily provides its educational products and services to four-year colleges and universities. Paradigm, on the other hand, does the bulk of its business with two-year community colleges or other, non-traditional educational entities.

Recently, Chandlee has observed a shift in education. Students aren’t feeling as much pressure to attend four-year schools and are exploring different options. Moreover, companies are seeking ways to swiftly “upskill” workers via shorter-term certificate programs.

“I honestly think it is the future,” said Chandlee. “This is where education is going, and I think the workforce is also moving in that direction.”

Paradigm, which does business as Paradigm Education Solutions, will maintain its Minneapolis office. The company’s 48 workers will now be on the Kendall Hunt payroll.

Kendall Hunt currently employs 210 people in Dubuque and that figure is poised to grow.

During the short-term future, Chandlee expects to add around five jobs in Dubuque. As the company delves into new markets, that growth could accelerate.

“For a lot of companies, there is a grow-or-die mentality,” Chandlee said. “This gives us the possibility for continued growth and I think people (at the company) are excited that we’re looking for new ways to do that. It also solidifies the jobs we already have.”

Lara McLellan, vice president of marketing for Paradigm Education Solutions, said the company is embracing a digital-first mentality.

“People are not learning the same way they used to, with a textbook or a workbook,” she explained. “Kids have grown up on technology and they want to consume content on their own terms.”

Paradigm recently unveiled a new, cloud-based platform that allows students to learn about a process and then immediately put that lesson into practice.

Such an approach benefits students learning how to explore electronic medical records, use accounting software or even master commonly used computer programs. McLellan said it is ideal for “post-traditional” learners seeking swift results.

Paradigm works with correctional facilities, providing content that helps inmates improve their skills so they can re-enter the workforce.

Its educational content is also used by students seeking a credential or certification for a specific job duty or position.

“It was created to put students on the fast track,” she said.