Friday, May 10, 2013

College district provides customized training to businesses, employers

For employers looking to hone their workers’ skills, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District offers on-site, cost-effective training that can be uniquely tailored to fit employer schedules and needs.
Contract training has long been offered by the district’s Continuing Education and Workforce Training unit, but greater recognition of community colleges as the dominant provider of workforce training is reflected in the continuing growth of the program. Over the past two years, the revenue generated by contract training has more than quadrupled and the district has also expanded its business clientele.
From initially offering primarily occupational health and safety courses to companies such as BF Goodrich Aerospace in Chula Vista, the program has broadened its scope to providing credit courses to non-commercial clients. A disability services management class, for example, provided a head start to college for students at Health Sciences High and Middle College, a City Heights charter school preparing teens for health and medical careers. Classes in Kumeyaay language and ethnobotany are being taught at the Sycuan Indian Reservation.
With a few exceptions, however, most contract training is directed to business and industry.
  “In these competitive times, corporations across the country are struggling to provide their workforce consistent, cost-effective and high-quality training,” district Chancellor Cindy L. Miles said. “Our colleges have a proven history of serving that need, and as a leading workforce training provider to the region, businesses and employers know we are a trusted source and key to the local economy.”
    
In the current climate of economic recovery, the time is right for the college to step up marketing for training services, said Erin Roberts-Hall, business developer for the district’s Continuing Education and Workforce Training unit.
 “There’s a lot of potential for growth – we want businesses and other potential clients to know that we offer this great service,” she said. “The primary advantage we offer is that we can do the training much more cost effectively than most private providers.”
One example of the program’s success was the training offered at San Diego Gas & Electric, where Cuyamaca College professor Jim Hannibal taught a class in basic electronics to a group of drafters, electrical designers and engineers at the utility’s main office in Kearny Mesa. The month-long class, held twice a week for three hours a day, served as a refresher course for some to sharpen their skills; for others, it provided the basic knowledge needed to understand the wiring and schematics of today’s increasingly complex electrical systems.
“It was a great class – exactly what we needed, especially for those workers who otherwise may not have been able to fit the class into their busy schedules,” said Dave Dillon, a lead electrical designer for SDG&E. “It was affordable, focused instruction on what our workers needed to learn. Everyone thought it was great – it was the same course I took in 2006 as a regular student at Cuyamaca. For the workers here, the condensed version was ideal, since everyone had at least a working knowledge of electronics.”
Hannibal, who teaches the same electronics technology course at Cuyamaca College, said the class for SDG&E was among the best teaching experiences he ever had.
“These were among the most engaged students I have ever come across,” said Hannibal, who managed to squeeze in the class last January during the college’s winter break. “These were industry professionals who were very focused and asked some very intensive questions.”
Roberts-Hall said the class set up for SDG&E is a prime example of the time and cost efficiency of a contract training partnership.
“SDG&E came to us with a need, we brought in a faculty member with the expertise and tailored the class to meet the company’s needs,” she said. “Because of the resources we have, we are able to provide a wide range of classes at the times, dates and locations that best suit the needs of our business clients.”
In addition to a vast source of curricula and expertise to tap at both Cuyamaca and Grossmont colleges, the district’s recent joining of the Global Corporate College network further expands offerings available to clients, Roberts-Hall said.
The district’s two colleges are among the first in California to partner with the nonprofit training-management organization to provide corporate and business clients customized employee training and development. The Global Corporate College network is expanding to include community colleges in every state, with partnerships also in progress in Europe and Asia.
Educational institutions are invited to join Global Corporate College based on their reputation and experience providing employer-sponsored training and education. Ohio-based Global Corporate College then taps the instructional resources and facilities of member colleges and universities across the nation, thus providing employers with access to well-qualified instructors, high-tech facilities, and innovative education programs customized to meet market needs.
“With Global Corporate College, we now have an even larger pool of accessible curriculum through this nationwide network,” Roberts-Hall said.
For more information about contract training, contract Erin Roberts-Hall at (619) 644-4385 or at Erin.RobertsHall@gcccd.edu.