Friday, March 31, 2017

What is Workforce Development?

The US Government Publishing Office (GPO) states it "is a critical human capital system concerned with identifying future needs, developing a productive workforce, identifying and examining the competencies and skill levels of employees at all levels, and determining both proficiency and skill gap. WDET [Workforce Development, Education & Training] is responsible for helping to develop a workplace climate that drives the attainment of current and future agency goals through the use of transformational strategies in career development, education, and training. In short, WDET is about learning, developing, and changing our skill sets to meet the needs of our stakeholders and customers." 
Another website identified it as "helps job seekers acquire the skills that employers need most."

I define it by what I see each day…

It’s the woman who is sitting in the classroom, 3 hours after class has ended, working hard on her lines of programming code.

It’s the visually impaired man who comes to class 30 minutes early because to take a later bus would make him late for school.

It’s the manufacturing maintenance team coming off third shift taking electrical safety training at 6 am.

It's the man whose name is on the door of the business taking class with his employees because they all need to understand how Excel will help them do their job more efficiently.

To me workforce development is a mutually beneficial partnership between business and education where the educational partner listens to the business and designs a training solution for the incoming or incumbent workers. This training moves people from where they currently are to where they need to be for a job/career. This in turn makes for a stronger workforce who in turn improves the productivity and capacity of the business…both of which strengthen the economy of the community.

Creating these custom training opportunities is what I do every day.


THIS is what makes my job fun. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

April Networking Opportunities

Archbold Business Connections - 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 7:00 am @ Community Health Professionals Building
Bryan Area Networking Club (BANC) – Wednesdays, 7:00 am @ Williams County Public Library, West Annex, Bryan
Boomers Resource Network – Thursdays, 11:30 am @ Uncle John’s Restaurant, Toledo
Defiance Area networking Group – 1st & 3rd Wednesdays, 11:30 am @ Kissners
Net Sense – Wednesdays, 7:00 am @ Fulton County Administration Building, Wauseon
Seneca Networking Professionals Meeting – 1st and 3rd Thursdays, 7:30 am @ Community Hospice, Tiffin
The “DRIVE” - Breakfast, Business, and More, 1st & 3rd Wednesday, 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. @ Papoo’s Coney Island, Whitehouse
So Now Sylvania Dinner – 1st Wednesday of the Month, 6:15 – 8:30 pm @ Chandler Café
So Now Maumee Lunch – 2nd Thursday of the Month, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm @ Brandywine Country Club
So Now Lima Dinner – Second Tuesday of the Month, 5:30 – 7:30 pm @ The Met
So Now Findlay Dinner – Fourth Tuesday of the Month, 5:15 – 7:15 pm @ Gillig Winery

4 – Monroe County Chamber Koffee Klub, 7:45 am @ Monroe County Intermediate School District
4– Findlay-Hancock Chamber Fresh Brewed, 8:00 am @ Findlay Country Club
5 – Sylvania Chamber Lunch, 11:45 am @ Sylvania Country Club
6 – WEN East of the River - Oregon, 11:30 am @ El Camino Sky
10 – WEN West – Holland, 11:30 am @ Grape Leaf Diner
11 – Maumee Chamber of Commerce Membership Luncheon, 12:00N @ The Pinnacle
12 – Delta Chamber Monthly Networking Meeting, 7:15 am @ Delta 109 Restaurant
12 – Bowling Green BB&b, 8:00 am @ Montessori School of Bowling Green
13 – Paulding Chamber Business After Hours, 4:30 pm @ Bargain Bin
13 – Bryan Business After Hours, 5:00 pm @ Williams County Public Library
19 – WEN AM Coffee – Sylvania, 7:30 am @ Scrambler Marie’s
19 – Perrysburg Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, 11:45 am @ Carranor Hunt and Polo Club  (*May only attend one luncheon as a non-member, advance notice is required)
19 – Findlay-Hancock Chamber, B2B, 2:00 pm @ Marathon Center for the Performing Arts
20 – Holland Springfield Chamber, Net Ninety (Coffee Connections), 7:30 am @ Chick-Fil-A
20 – Holland Springfield Chamber Business Builder Summit, 11:00 am @ Brandywine Country Club
20 – Defiance Chamber Business After Hours, 5:00 pm @ Defiance Elks
24 – WEN Lunch Bunch, 11:30 am @ LaScola Italian Grill

Friday, March 3, 2017

Why Microsoft Project?

I teach Microsoft Project. I have been teaching it since 1994 or so. Why? Because I see the power behind the program and have enjoyed helping companies, both local and international, find the piece of it that works for them.

I've heard many times people say, "this is too complex", "I don't have time to use it" and similar remarks. My response…do you have time for a project to be late, to go over budget or to deal with insufficient resources? That's why you need project management tools.

That is where we start with Microsoft Project. It is a tool in the same way that a smartphone, pencil, calculator, spreadsheet, or a hammer is also a tool.  An effective manager would not solely work on any one of these tools nor would you spend all day working in Project. Pick the pieces of it that work for you and your team and use that!

Recent editions of Project have made it more flexible to fit two types of users. As in the past, Project can be used to manage the running of the project. Through the Automatic Scheduling mode, the user inputs the company calendar, start date of the project, date restrictions and so on and Project determines the schedule. If the user is not satisfied with that schedule, they use various adjustment strategies to rework the plan.  Through Manual Scheduling mode, the program serves more as a way to communicate what is planned. Tasks are plotted out and resources assigned as you see them happening.

What can Project manage/report:
  • Tasks
  • Resources
  • Costs
At the minimum, users input what tasks need to be done and when they plan to do them. Additionally the assets responsible for those tasks can be included as well. This includes not only people but equipment, materials, meetings rooms, etc. Finally, there is a cost to doing these tasks and using those assets. Project allows users to create cost centers and assign costs to resources and tasks.

Output for stakeholders:
Who needs to know what about the project? Mangers, team members, vendors, customers all may have a vested interest in this project. Microsoft Project contains many tools for sharing this information. Tools such as Gantt Charts, timelines, Network Diagrams, and other reports are contained within the program. There is also the ability to interface with Excel, SharePoint and Visio to share your information.

Overall, this program is what you make it. You can manage tasks down to 15 minute increments or look at things by year. The training professionals at CTS can work with you to help you develop strategies for using this program in a way that it benefits you and your team!

Friday, February 24, 2017

March Networking Opportunities

Archbold Business Connections - 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 7:00 am @ Community Health Professionals Building
Bryan Area Networking Club (BANC) – Wednesdays, 7:00 am @ Williams County Public Library, West Annex, Bryan
Boomers Resource Network – Thursdays, 11:30 am @ Uncle John’s Restaurant, Toledo
Defiance Area networking Group – 1st & 3rd Wednesdays, 11:30 am @ Kissners
Net Sense – Wednesdays, 7:00 am @ Fulton County Administration Building, Wauseon
Seneca Networking Professionals Meeting – 1st and 3rd Thursdays, 7:30 am @ Community Hospice, Tiffin
The “DRIVE” - Breakfast, Business, and More, 1ST & 3RD Wednesday, 8:00 – 9:30 a.m. @ Papoo’s Coney Island, Whitehouse
So Now Sylvania Dinner – First Wednesday of the Month, 6:15 – 8:30 pm @ Chandler Café
So Now Maumee Lunch – Third Thursday of the Month, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm @ The Pinnacle
So Now Lima Dinner – Second Tuesday of the Month, 5:30 – 7:30 pm @ The Met
So Now Findlay Dinner – Fourth Tuesday of the Month, 5:15 – 7:15 pm @ The Elks Lodge

1 – Sylvania Chamber Lunch, 11:45 am @ Sylvania Country Club
2 – WEN East of the River - Oregon, 11:30 am @ El Camino Sky
7 – Monroe County Chamber Koffee Klub, 7:45 am @ Quality Inn & Suites
7 – Findlay-Hancock Chamber Fresh Brewed, 8:00 am @ Findlay Country Club
8 – Bowling Green BB&b, 8:00 am @ The Four Corners Center
9 – Bryan Business After Hours, 5:00 pm @ Current Office Solutions
13 – WEN West – Holland, 11:30 am @ Grape Leaf Diner
14 – Maumee Chamber of Commerce Membership Luncheon, 12:00N @ Parkway Place
15 – WEN AM Coffee – Sylvania, 7:30 am @ Scrambler Marie’s
15 – Perrysburg Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, 11:45 am @ Carranor Hunt and Polo Club *May only attend one luncheon as a non-member, advance notice is required
16 – Defiance Chamber Business After Hours, 5:00 pm @ TBA (per website)
17 – Paulding Chamber Casino Night, 6:00 pm @ Paulding County Extension Building
21 – Findlay-Hancock Chamber B2B, 2:00 pm @ Marathon Center for the Performing Arts
23 – Holland Springfield Chamber, Net Ninety (formerly Coffee Connections), 7:30 am @ Burger King
27 – WEN Lunch Bunch, 11:30 am @ LaScola Italian Grill

Friday, February 17, 2017

I'm Getting a Job in IT so I Don't Have to Deal with People

Caller: My computer won't start

Help Desk: Have you tried turning it on?
Caller: (Frustrated) yes
Help Desk: What happens when you try to turn it on?
Caller: NOTHING!
Help Desk: [Sarcastically] Dude, is it plugged in?
Caller: [Silence]

This imagined conversation plays out in different ways daily, and as silly as it seems, reminds us that conversation is two sided and both sides have the potential for misinterpreting each other.

How does this apply in IT? I've heard comments over the years to the effect of "I want a job in IT so I don't have to deal with people." Or "I want a job where I can work by myself."
An article by Ryan Dube from MakingUseOf.com states: "the ability to communicate well, to adapt to a challenging environment and to present complex information well – are called 'soft skills', and they are particularly lacking in the IT field, where there’s an abundance of technical knowledge but a shortage of enthusiasm and personality."

The article goes on to list the following 5 skills that will set IT professionals apart in their job search/job retention.
  • Communication Skills
  • Great Team Player
  • Presentation Skills
  • Networking
  • Positive Attitude

I would add that communication skills refer to not only spoken, but written as well. Being able to document code or explain in an email the steps to a process are vital tasks in IT. In an article in Business News Daily, a Kaplan University professor noted "Technology becomes obsolete quite rapidly," said Kaplan University professor Lynne Williams. "Good communication skills remain with you throughout your working life."

The Dube article concludes that these are not skills taught in college. That's where CTS is different than our peers. In both our Call Center/Customer Service Representative program and our IT Specialist Certificate; networking, business meeting etiquette, emotional intelligence and other "soft" skills are a part of our curriculum. They are not just a class you take or a book you read, but are integrated right into the classes. Our courses are designed to prepare a student to become an effective employee and employers are looking for both technical and soft skills in a well rounded candidate.


Communication skills may not be easy for someone who is highly knowledgeable in technical fields, but it would benefit them and the employer greatly if they can seek to improve their skills in these areas.

Reference articles:

Welcome

Welcome to the blog site for Custom Training Solutions. We are the workforce development division of Northwest State Community College. CTS provides training and consultative services in Computers, Management/Supervisory and Technical Skills. Our knowledgeable team of trainers brings industry experience to their training sessions. Whether at one of our locations or yours, our classes can be customized to meet your business' needs. Does your business have multiple locations? CTS is a leader in multiple site delivery using eLearning technology. Check us out on the web at http://www.trainwithcts.com/.