Close

Search Courses & Register (804) 523-CCWA

Archive for category: Workforce Trends

Are you engaging your employees?

Are you engaging your employees?

Investing in talent development for your employees benefits your bottom line.
You’ve probably heard this paradox:
What if we train them, and they leave?
What if we don’t, and they stay?

Where does your organization stand on these questions?

The 2017 Gallup State of the American Workplace report asserts that “the key to an organization’s growth has been and always will be its workforce.” Employee retention and engagement are more than buzz words; they are critical components of the overall performance of an organization.

According to Gallup, “The desire to learn and grow is a natural human need and one that is required to keep employees motivated and progressing. When employees feel they are learning and growing, they work harder and more efficiently. And the best employees are never quite satisfied with their work. They always strive to find better, more productive ways to work. In this kind of work environment, innovation emerges. When people grow, companies evolve and grow and are more likely to stay in business.”

Renee Gendron, in a blog for the Association of Talent Development, writes that employers can be proactive and intentional about the professional growth of their employees. According to Gendron, “When employers develop their own talent, not only are they saving money because they have lower turnover rates, but they are also developing their own internal leadership skills.” Building leaders from within helps to create stronger teams in an improved culture of development.

Likewise, a recent Robert Half blog entry discusses some reasons why investing in employee growth is a smart idea. They suggest that professional development will:

  • Increase collective knowledge of your team
  • Boost job satisfaction
  • Attract the right kind of job candidates during recruitment
  • Enhance the organization’s appeal to prospective and incumbent employees
  • Identify future leaders from within the organization
  • Increase retention

“Unfortunately,… many organizations spend more on recruiting new talent than developing the top talent they already have; that has to change in order for companies to be successful in a tight talent market.”

— Joyce Maroney
Kronos Incorporated & Director of the Workforce Institute

CCWA partners with hundreds of employers each year to offer a wide range of professional development services to engage your team. Our custom-designed programs may begin with an assessment, followed by the creation of tools to fill performance gaps; then, we can provide training and coaching solutions that allow your employees to reach their full potential. If you’re interested in learning more about CCWA’s client services, please contact:

Joyce Lapsley
Client Solutions Manager
Community College Workforce Alliance
Phone: 804-706-5180
Email: JLapsley@ccwa.vccs.edu

Do your frontline employees consistently give your customers more than they are expecting?

Do your frontline employees consistently give your customers more than they are expecting?

Frontline employees deal with challenging issues and interact directly with customers daily—whether on the phone, face-to-face, email, or social media.  The ability to provide excellent customer service is a result of learning and applying a combination of skills, such as communication, problem solving, listening, phone etiquette, choosing the correct words, asking questions, building confidence with difficult customers, to name a few.

In their book, Raving Fans, Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowls, write that “raving fans” will share with friends and coworkers about your service, instead of being merely satisfied and telling no one or broadcasting poor service over social media.

Did you know that it costs more to attract new customers than it does to maintain a relationship with current customers? A two percent increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10 percent. (Leading on the Edge of Chaos, Emmet & Mark Murphy)

96% of unhappy customers do not complain; however, 91% of those same customers will leave and will not come back, not because of the quality of the product, but because they did not like the way they were treated.

Skills, Knowledge, and Attitude

Nothing substitutes for knowledge of your organization and its products and services, except maybe for displaying a winning attitude and honing your customer service skills. These three qualities—Knowledge, Skills, and Attitude–work together to keep your customers coming back. They also build teamwork among your company’s internal customers. When employees work together well, external customers notice, which, in turn, contributes to customer loyalty and the bottom line.

Training Makes a Difference

Investing in employee customer service training is key to providing your customers with a stellar experience. Putting an extra effort into customer service may give companies a competitive advantage. With products and services becoming more and more similar, customer service is one of the few ways in which an organization can differentiate itself and stand out.

The Community College Workforce Alliance’s (CCWA’s) training can help you and your employees create best practices that will improve both customer and employee satisfaction. CCWA’s Customer Service Academy provides an updated Building Blocks for Excellent Customer Service program that will help your team learn new and better ways to deliver excellence to your customers.

Upgrade to a Certification

CCWA has partnered with the National Retail Federation (NRF) and created the added option of obtaining a Customer Service & Sales certification once the training is completed. This certification confirms that your customer service professionals are knowledgeable with winning attitudes and enhanced skills. This credential will help the employees advance in their careers and contribute to the quality of the customer experience.

A recognized certification will help your employees stand out and will put your organization ahead of competitors.

Remember that customer service is everybody’s business! Set a goal today to make certain that your staff is making every client connection a positive one.

CCWA is here to help you raise the bar and become more customer service-centered. Our bench of highly motivated instructors is ready to help your team provide excellent customer service that will keep your customers coming back!

Joyce Lapsley
Client Solutions Manager
Corporate Training & Consulting
804-706-5180
jlapsley@ccwa.vccs.edu

Get Assistance to Earn Industry Credentials – A third of the cost for Professional Certificates

Get Assistance to Earn Industry Credentials – A third of the cost for Professional Certificates

CCWA offers 10 workforce credential grant programs as announced in the Governor’s release below. Governor McAuliffe Announces Workforce Grant Program and speaks to how “Credentials Will Open Doors to Promising, High-Demand Career Opportunities.”

Learn more about CCWA’s Certificate Programs.

Governor McAuliffe Announces Workforce Grant Program

~ Credentials Will Open Doors to Promising, High-Demand Career Opportunities~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced the launch of a new grant program designed to ensure that workforce credentials are accessible and affordable for Virginians seeking the skills they need to obtain good-paying jobs in high-demand fields.

The New Economy Workforce Industry Credentials Grant program covers 124 different community college training programs at Virginia’s Community Colleges geared toward providing workforce credentials at one-third of their former cost.

“This program establishes a first-in-the-nation performance funding formula to create and sustain a supply of credentialed workers who meet the needs identified by our business leaders,” said Governor McAuliffe. “This week’s launch is the culmination of many months of hard work by public and private sector partners, all of us working together to ensure that Virginia has a 21st century workforce with the skills and experience to compete in today’s global economy.”

Virginia’s Community Colleges consulted with Virginia businesses to develop the list of eligible credentials that can provide access to a wide variety of high-demand jobs, such as certified welder, electrician, medical records tech, computer network specialist, pharmacy tech, digital security specialist, emergency medical tech, industrial machinery mechanic, dental assistant, and commercial truck driver.  The Virginia Board of Workforce Development identified more than 170 in-demand jobs aligned with the Commonwealth’s economic development targets for which Virginians can prepare through the new workforce program.

These are jobs that require specific skills, but not necessarily a traditional college degree. Community Colleges are making it even easier to earn workforce credentials by developing new programs and adding classes and locations for increased convenience.

“To create the skilled workforce the Commonwealth needs now and in the future, we need more options for training and credentialing that work for Virginians of all ages and life circumstances,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “With the New Economy Workforce Credentials program, for the first time, we have new options for workforce training and development that promptly get trainees into the skilled labor force.”

Research indicates that these workforce credentials are in high demand across Virginia and will be for the foreseeable future. The company Burning Glass produced a recent report indicating that there were more than 175,000 job vacancies for so-called middle-skill occupations last year in Virginia – the types of jobs that typically require some type of credential. The jobs paid more than $28 per hour (or more than $58,500 per year). According to the research, the jobs went unfilled for an average period of 26 days, which is longer than the national average. As a result, Virginia businesses lost 36.4 million hours of productivity. Virginia families lost more than $1 billion in potential wages, and Virginia’s General Fund lost more than $54.3 million in revenue.

Other studies predict that Virginia will have to fill more than 1.4 million jobs over the next decade. As many as two-thirds of those positions will require postsecondary level workforce credentials.

“The New Economy Workforce Industry Credentials Grant program will be a game changer for the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of Education Dietra Trent. “The in-depth research that has gone into establishing this innovative program will help us to increase access and success in higher education, especially for some of our most underserved populations.”

Students enrolling in one of the workforce credential training programs covered by the new grants will pay only one-third of the normal cost. Program costs vary widely, depending on the length and complexity of the training. For a list of programs covered by the grants, visit this link on the VCCS website.

The maximum value of each grant is $3,000. For example, a student who enrolls in and successfully completes a grant-eligible program that normally costs $4,500 will now pay $1,500, and the grant covers $3,000 of the cost. Additional financial aid can offset that cost even further. More information is available at the workforce development offices of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Governor McAuliffe won bipartisan support this year among Virginia lawmakers for funding to enable approximately 10,000 Virginians to receive Workforce Credentials Grants for training costs over the next two years. This unique performance-based funding model is the first in the nation. Further, it represents the first significant public funding for workforce training programs in the 50-year history of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

“These workforce credentials increasingly represent the American Dream in the 21st century,” said Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges. “Individuals earn these credentials in weeks and months, not semesters and years. Those students are often quickly employed by businesses hungry for their skills. And they accomplish all that without piling on a decade’s worth of student debt.”

About Virginia’s Community Colleges: Since 1966, Virginia’s Community Colleges have given everyone the opportunity to learn and develop the right skills so lives and communities are strengthened. By making higher education and workforce training available in every part of Virginia, we elevate all of Virginia. Together, Virginia’s Community Colleges serve approximately 400,000 students each year.  For more information, please visit www.vccs.edu. To share a story about how community colleges change lives, visit 50.vccs.edu.

The Hows and Whys of Workplace Assessments

The Hows and Whys of Workplace Assessments

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the assessment industry has been growing by 10 percent for the last several years. The rise in popularity of assessments can be attributed to several factors, not the least of which is summed up in Will Brooks’ recent Association for Talent Development blog post, “Let’s be honest: people love learning about themselves.” Self-awareness as well as a greater understanding of others has the potential to have a significant impact on performance and productivity.

There is another side to the rise in popularity of assessments, though. The plethora of assessment tools to choose from can be overwhelming: behavioral assessments, personality assessments, and cognitive ability assessments. Understanding what each assessment measures and what business need you are trying to address are key to selecting the right tool. That’s where CCWA can help!

CCWA offers an array of assessments including:

  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI®)
  • DiSC Assessment
  • Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument
  • Conflict Dynamics Profile
  • StrengthsFinder
  • Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
  • Team Dimensions Profile (CARE Profile)
  • Career Readiness Certificate (CRC)*

*Did you know that many organizations in the Greater Richmond area use the CRC as part of their hiring process? The CRC measures competencies in the areas of reading for information, applied mathematics, and locating information. Call us today if you’re interested in learning more about this assessment tool!

CCWA works closely with clients, listening to your goals, and asking the questions that uncover the real business needs. When we recommend an assessment tool, we also provide an instructor or coach who has an in-depth knowledge of that tool to assist you and your team with interpreting the results and understanding how to use them to improve team performance, develop leadership talent, or enhance individual performance.

In addition to helping our clients understand how to use workplace assessments, we also advise how not to use them. Assessments should not be used as stand-alone indicators of behavior or performance. Instead, they should be used in conjunction with other performance measurements, observations, and maybe even other assessments. As one of our instructors recently said to a class of senior leaders, “Making decisions based solely on an employee’s DiSC profile is like sitting in the cockpit of a 747 and only using the altimeter to fly it.”


If you’re trying to navigate the maze of workplace assessments, choose CCWA as your co-pilot. For more information, please contact:

Joanne Even
Client Solutions Manager
Corporate Training & Consulting
Community College Workforce Alliance
Phone: 804-897-7612
Email: jeven@ccwa.vccs.edu

In-Demand Across the Region – Certified Manufacturing Technicians

In-Demand Across the Region – Certified Manufacturing Technicians


What is a Manufacturing Technician Level 1 Certification?

The Manufacturing Technician Level 1 (MT1) certification program was developed to meet the growing employment demands of the manufacturing industry. The MT1 program addresses the core industry-wide skills standards required for skilled production occupations in all sectors of manufacturing.  The core competency areas certified are: (1) Math and Measurement, (2) Spatial Reasoning and Manufacturing Technology, and (3) Quality and Business Acumen.

The purpose of the MT1 certification program is to document individuals’ mastery of the critical competencies required for modern manufacturing production and production-related occupations.  The goals of the MT1 certification program are to:

  • Develop a workforce pipeline capable of meeting the requirements of existing and emerging employers in advanced technology industries such as manufacturing,
  • Provide a customized fast track pathway to stackable credentials for 21st Century advanced technology careers in industry,
  • Provide online and instructor-led training to address identified technical skill gaps, and
  • Provide a pathway to advanced level training and specialized training based on industry requirements for potential new hires and incumbent workers.

More on MT1

An MT1 operates precision machinery, systems and processes. Typical skills expected in these positions usually include: CAD skills, computer controlled machine programming, precision measurement, process and machine trouble-shooting, problem-solving, machine maintenance and proficient use of diagnostic and statistical tools.  These positions generally describe someone who has enough broad-based knowledge about a multi-step process to successfully troubleshoot and solve problems beyond the scope of typical “machine operators”. Sample MT1 Job Titles: Operator, Production Operator, Production Technician, Technician, Chemical Equipment Operator, Chemical Operator, Fixers, CNC Technician Manufacturing Technician and Production Manufacturing Specialist. NOTE: To review a full list of production occupations in modern manufacturing requiring MT1 industry-wide technical skills, please refer to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Why RVA Needs Certified Manufacturing Technicians

Manufacturing is still alive and well in the Greater Richmond region. Our local economy continues to benefit greatly from this thriving business sector, which has created more ancillary jobs in comparison to others. This is one of the primary reasons national leaders are frantically searching for new ways to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States.

It is widely known that economies with a strong manufacturing base are more secure in other economic areas. But, the manufacturing industry is only as good as its human capital; and a large skills gap has appeared in the last decade.

Read More

Higher Pay May Not Be the Best Way to Keep Your Workforce Intact and Engaged

Higher Pay May Not Be the Best Way to Keep Your Workforce Intact and Engaged

Employee retention and engagement are on the minds of more than the human resources department these days. The entire C-suite is taking notice as leaders realize the impact of high turnover on the overall financial performance of the organization. Although money is commonly believed to be a strong motivator, “most engagement research shows that learning opportunities, professional development, and career progression are among the top drivers of employee satisfaction.”

Beverly Kaye, founder of Career Systems International, agrees that investing in learning and development to help employees advance their careers can be one of the most effective tools an organization has for increasing both retention and engagement. “Without career development, employees won’t see a place for themselves in the future of the organization—and therefore, they won’t engage with the organization.”

While the importance of learning is rising, organizations’ confidence that they are doing enough in this area is dropping. CCWA works with hundreds of employers every year to:

  • Identify the learning needs that impact business processes
  • Develop solutions that fit a company’s needs and culture, and
  • Deliver training or consulting services that provide a return on investment

CCWA can support the development of technical and professional skills as well as increasingly important soft skills such as communication and emotional intelligence. To learn more about how CCWA can support your employee retention and engagement efforts through learning, contact:

Joyce Lapsley
Client Solutions Manager
Corporate Training & Consulting
Community College Workforce Alliance
Phone: 804-706-5180
Email: jlapsley@ccwa.vccs.edu