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Clark State Community College’s Workforce Development department has developed a way to make International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification more affordable for area businesses.
The ISO sets the standards worldwide for quality management systems. With over 1 million organizations certified across the globe, ISO 9001 is one of the most used management systems in the world. Suppliers to most original equipment manufacturers (OEM), as well as other large organizations, must have this certification to do business. In Clark State’s service area, this includes major manufacturers such as Boeing and Honda of America, as well as the United States Air Force and Department of Defense. Clark State’s campus in Beavercreek is located just one mile from the Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio’s largest single-site employer, which utilizes contractors for a variety of work. With recent revisions to the standards, all businesses were required to transition their ISO 9001 system by September 2018, creating an urgent need.
Businesses can benefit immensely from receiving contracts from these large organizations, however, the ISO 9001 certification can be cost-prohibitive, preventing many small businesses from getting the certification and resulting in lost opportunities for major contracts. The typical process for certification includes hiring a contractor to come to the business over the course of several months to learn about the processes and procedures and educate the company about the ISO standards and how to meet them. Clark State Workforce Development has found a way to flip the process and reduce the cost. By providing the training as an online course, businesses are still able to learn best practices for meeting ISO standards without having to pay for several months with a consultant. This significantly reduces the training cost and has made it much more affordable for a business to get certified.
The Clark State Workforce Development ISO 9001 program launched in 2017 and has served around 50 companies. This has resulted in 1,500 jobs, either through layoff aversion or new positions created, and will have an estimated $302 million economic impact on the local economy over the next five years. Without the ISO 9001 certification, many local companies would have gone out of business, and others would not have had the growth they are now seeing.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) sets the standards worldwide for quality management systems, and ISO certification is required to do business with almost all original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)—including the U.S. Air Force and the Department of Defense, among other organizations.
Clark State Community College is located in a region with many manufacturers, including Honda of America Manufacturing and Boeing, as well as a major Air Force Base, Wright Patterson Air Force Base. For many businesses within the college’s service area, ISO certification is absolutely critical to their survival in the industry.
Clark State’s Workforce Development department has developed a way to make ISO certification more affordable for area businesses by flipping the process to reduce the cost. By providing much of the training as an online course, businesses are still able to learn best practices for meeting ISO standards without having to pay for several months with a consultant. This cost-efficient method has made it so much more affordable and accessible that businesses from other states have even used Clark State Workforce Development’s ISO 9001 program.
Partnerships and Collaborations
Clark State Community College and the Clark State Center for Workforce Development work closely with partner organizations to ensure that regional business needs are being met. The ISO 9001 training program is presented by Clark State Workforce Development in conjunction with the following organizations:
These partnerships connect the program to area manufacturers, service organizations, economic development groups and professional organizations, which in turn have connections with numerous business and industry partners. The ISO 9001 training has a huge economic impact on the region, including in job growth and retention.
The instructor for the program is a leading expert in his field. George Hummel of ICQ, the ISO Professionals, LLC, is an elected member of the US TAG to ISO/TC 176, the group responsible for drafting the changes to ISO 9001:2015. He is a contributor to the American Society for Quality as a subject matter expert and is also a member of the ISO 9001 Validation Team and the United States’ ISO 9001 Interpretation committee. He is also the lead AS9100 (the Aerospace version of ISO 9001) trainer for GE Aerospace and the Federal Aviation Administration.
To help businesses fund the training, Clark State Workforce Development assisted companies in utilizing Sector Partnership National Emergency Grant (NEG) funds and Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds. Some businesses were able to receive as much as 90% of the funding necessary for their training through these means. These NEG and WIOA funds have contributed nearly half a million dollars, resulting in the businesses who utilized NEG and WIOA funds paying just $99,562 between them.
For small businesses, receiving the certification is often too costly. Putting this certification within reach for small businesses has a number of impacts on the local economy, allowing these businesses to earn or retain contracts totaling millions of dollars. It allows local larger organizations to contract with local businesses, often reducing the costs compared to seeking the services elsewhere. It brings in more revenue for area small businesses, who can expand their contracts to include large clients within the region and beyond. This certification allows many businesses to create new jobs or prevent devastating layoffs.
According to impact estimates from ICQ, the ISO Professionals, the five-year estimated economic impact from the employers trained by the Clark State Workforce Development ISO 9001 program is $302 million. Staub Manufacturing Solutions, whose 5-year impact from the program is estimated at over $20 million, says it’s likely they would not be in business without this certification. They are now expanding, having just purchased an additional 14,500 square foot facility last year. Another business, Select Tech, has hired new employees, with plans to hire more in the future. The ISO 9001 certification has allowed them to get new contracts with the United States Air Force and a large government contractor, both of which required the certification. They have additional job orders pending and are beginning to outgrow their physical space. Wurth Electronics credits the certification for allowing the company to receive a sizable contract equivalent to 30% of their entire sales volume at that time and for retaining employees they were originally considering displacing. Between all of the businesses trained so far, over 1,500 jobs have been positively impacted, either through layoff aversion or by being newly created positions, because of the availability of this program.
Around 50 businesses have taken advantage of the program in the last two years. Almost all have achieved ISO certification so far. The program has created interest in multiple states, especially through the online training. Locally, it has resulted in several companies getting new contracts and hiring more employees. More than 176 individuals have been trained, totaling more than 3,000 training hours, and all have received the ISO Internal Auditing Certification. This certifies that they understand the ISO auditing process and can ensure that their companies are prepared for official audits.
Clark State’s online program is available to any company, regardless of where they are located. An online approach was created to automate the on-site support and expertise in the subject by supplying a self-paced system, allowing them to eliminate the need to go into an individual company for months at a time. The online version of the program also allows each company to work with a virtual coach, further reducing travel time and expense.
The program model is replicable in other locations. The flipped approach requires an instructor who has expertise in the subject to teach to and work with a class of online students instead of going into an individual company for months at a time.
How using modern eCommerce principles drives revenue in Continuing Education
Author Perspective: Administrator, Community College