Community Colleges Meet Business Needs
By Jim Baumer
The ever-changing workforce needs of business have made training increasingly challenging for many employers. Whether your business is small, mid-size, or large, technological sophistication, as well as the evolution of work and workplaces are ongoing issues for business leaders.
Training can be expensive and the results can vary. Where can businesses turn to find a cost-effective solution to their training needs, especially if they don't have a large in-house training department?
The community college system is a great option.
Maine Community Colleges and Quality Centers
Take Maine for example. It has seven community college campuses and eight off-campus centers that centralize options for employers across the state. Each offer a variety of training opportunities, centered on the needs of Maine's employers. Here are examples of training options available to businesses:
- Customized training and professional development
- Maine Quality Center program
- MEMIC Centers for Workplace Safety
- Center for Career Development
These training programs extend specific benefits to Maine businesses. Each college offers businesses existing credit and non-credit courses, and if they don't have a specific course to meet an employer's needs, they'll tailor a course or training program to meet each company's specific needs.
The Maine Quality Centers allow expanding Maine businesses and potential new businesses that might relocate here access to a variety of customized training opportunities. There are specifics relative to the number of jobs a business is required to create, but there are training grants available through the program for businesses committed to creating new jobs in the state.
New Hampshire's Job Training Fund
New Hampshire's community colleges increase access to training resources for their business community with similar options. In fact, the state's community colleges are the Granite State's preferred training provider for the NH Job Training Fund, which provides matching funds for incumbent employee training. Here is a list of training services provided in New Hampshire through their community college system.
- Upgrade technical skills
- Integrate new processes
- Enhance customer service
- Develop leadership and management skills
- Improve basic workplace skills
This fund contributes training resources to private NH businesses as well as businesses intending to locate in the state. Any New Hampshire business that elects to pay into the unemployment trust fund is eligible for the Job Training Fund.
Community colleges in Massachusetts have launched an innovative, statewide workforce training resource for business and industry called MASS*NET.
MA's community college system has expanded their network of business partnerships and provides a variety of customized training, consulting and skills upgrading for employees at hundreds of companies throughout the state. The MASS*NET initiative provides low-cost, high quality on-site/on-campus training programs for businesses of all types and sizes.
Training is available for new employees, but each campus also works with companies to develop programs that upgrade the skills of their current workforce. A full range of training programs are available, including:
- Business administration
- Computer software training
- Computer aided design
- Computer integrated manufacturing
- English as a second language
- Environment health & safety
- Health, nursing & pharmacology
- Machine tool technology
- Management & supervision
RI's Workforce Investment
At Rhode Island's Workforce Investment website, workers can find training in the following areas:
- Info Tech
- Marine Trades
- Personal Services
VT's Workforce Training
Vermont's Department of Economic Development offers workforce training funding for qualified businesses. They work with businesses and their partner network of state and local training providers and programs to deliver training tailored to meet specific business needs.
In order to accomplish the Vermont Training Program (VTP) mission, the State offers funding for employee training in three areas:
- New Employment
- Upgrade/Incumbent Worker
- Cross Training
Individually designed training initiatives may include on-the-job, classroom, skills upgrade, or other specialized training for employees. These efforts are mutually agreed upon between the State and the Vermont companies and outlined in performance based grants.
How can you take advantage of cost-effective, in-state training programs that will boost your employees' skills and your business' bottom line?