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The Value of Partnering with Small Higher Education Institutions

Smaller institutions are typically more in-tune with the needs of local communities and can provide a level of personalized, customized service that larger institutions cannot.

Although many corporations pick big name institutions when seeking ongoing training and learning partners, small schools and community colleges may be a better choice. Often these smaller institutions have the most up-to-date resources, skills, and most importantly, the flexibility that organizations need when introducing a robust learning plan to employees and corporate stakeholders that is high quality and cost effective.

At St. Charles College (SCC), there are abundant resources to assist corporations and manufacturers as they determine what training they require, as well as how and where the training will best fit with the employee and employer needs.

Most community colleges have a group that focuses on Workforce Development or Business and Industry training. Within these departments are a wealth of resources and instructors, many with diverse business and/or industry background.

Moreover, small institutions tend to best understand the local market in terms of training and are more likely to be flexible in developing a training plan and considerate of how the training plan will be deployed.

At SCC, for example, we offer expertise in specialized areas such as Lean Manufacturing, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Quality Manufacturing Systems and ISO. We also provide expert training in corporate areas such as Value Stream Mapping, conflict management tools, project management skills, Six Sigma and Health Information Technologies. All this instruction is delivered by a cadre of expert instructors who already teach at the institution. SCC currently partners with corporations large and small: supporting a group of technical trainers at a premier automotive facility in Wentzville, Mo., and assisting a small machine shop of 10 employees with OSHA and ISO training.

Community colleges are known for leadership in academic excellence, student success, instructional and technological innovation and community responsiveness. Many states offer some kind of state training reimbursement dollars through local community colleges that might not be available through large institutions. Local businesses support community colleges through their tax dollars, and we support them with the assets to train their workforce. Community colleges are an excellent resource!

Here at SCC—as with most small community colleges—we support the job-ready workforce idea; training needs to be cost-effective, timely, state of the art, and delivered in a manner that is useful to both the student and the company. Our college’s mission statement states, “We will enrich our community.” In addition to customized training options, we offer technical degrees in a variety of fields to provide local businesses with a robust, ready workforce to meet their needs as they grow in our community. Having the ability to adapt to the needs of organizations of all sizes is an asset uncommon to many big name institutions but customary for smaller establishments of higher learning such as community colleges.

I would invite companies to call upon local community colleges when looking for a partner with the resources to handle their training needs, large or small! The community college is an untapped resource with the knowledge to assist the corporate plan to prosperity and the flexibility to customized offerings so they are targeted to reap the most benefit in the minimum amount of time.

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