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We're Education...You're Semiconductors

  1. 1. Improving worker skills through employer- community college partnerships We ’ r e e d u c a t i o n … you’re semiconductors David Gruber A P U B L I C A T I O N O F P U B L I C / P R I V A T E V E N T U R E S Working Ventures
  2. 2. Improving worker skills through employer- community college partnerships We ’ r e e d u c a t i o n … you’re semiconductors David Gruber
  3. 3. 2 Working Ventures Acknowledgments The author would like to thank a num- ber of people who contributed gener- ously of their time and patience to help make this report possible. Holly Moore, Brian Bosworth, Carol Clymer and Brandon Roberts generously shared their insights and national experience in pointing the way to effective collaborations. Don Schultz, Cindy Geise, Regina Stanback- Stroud, Ingrid Thompson and Wilfred Saunders contributed valuable per- spective on their individual partner- ships and on the role of community colleges in general, in offering educa- tion and training services. Gary Sivertson, Dave Yulans, C. Johnson, Cindy Campbell and Lawrence Gladstone took time from their corporate and professional responsibilities to describe how they and their colleagues approached development and operation of part- nerships from a corporate perspec- tive. Julian Alssid contributed his exper- tise, research and reporting skills, broadening the scope and compre- hensiveness of the work presented here. Yet again, Natalie Jaffe’s sharply honed editing skills helped to clarify and refine the text. Sheila Maguire and Mark Elliott played a critical role in shaping the report throughout; sharing their wide-ranging experi- ence, questioning assumptions, and offering sure-handed guidance and direction. I would also like to thank The Ford Foundation and Charles Stewart Mott Foundation for their support of Working Ventures and this report.
  4. 4. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 3 A s Alan Greenspan recently testi- fied, sustaining today’s growing economy will require finding some way to ensure that everyone—both current and potential workers—gets the training they need to keep pace with rapidly changing tech- nology. While much national attention has focused on ways to include those outside the workforce in the economic boom, many of the same issues apply to those on the inside. To remain competitive in today’s economy, com- panies need to adopt new technologies and train current workers to use them.
  5. 5. 4 Working Ventures This, in turn, means that companies will choice for training, ranging from teaching a need to devote greater resources to train- single computer program to consolidating ing. Some of this training will be provided all the work tasks in a large factory. by the company itself. Yet, in many cases— where training is large-scale, complex, Of course, for all their success as training technologically advanced or can simply be institutions, community colleges vary widely completed more cheaply elsewhere—com- in their ability and interest in performing panies will need to create an effective part- the role of corporate trainer. Many commu- nership with an outside provider—a pri- nity colleges continue to view themselves vate training organization, nonprofit or primarily as academic institutions—“junior public institution. colleges” to prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. These colleges may It is likely that many of these new training disdain the training role or perform it in partnerships will be formed with communi- only a very limited way. Other institutions ty colleges. Once largely offering prepara- have accepted or embraced a training role, tion for four-year colleges, community col- but have yet to develop the capacity neces- leges have increasingly become training sary to meet large, diverse or advanced institutions in their own right—in fact, the training needs. largest local delivery system for training in the United States. Formerly academic cam- Yet, some community colleges have puses have seen vocational enrollments emerged as “stars”—institutions with the double in the last few years and contract capacity, resources, flexibility and interest to training become a major revenue source. develop effective training partnerships with New community colleges have been created business. As corporate spending for training with the primary aim of serving industry. grows, we believe employers will need to For some states, community and technical seek out these leading-edge institutions to colleges, with their capacity for large-scale meet their own expanding training needs. advanced training, have become economic development tools to lure major employers. This paper is intended as a guide—for employers, training providers and others— Community colleges have also become a to developing effective partnerships with major resource for employers seeking to leading-edge community colleges. It recog- upgrade the skills of current workers. From nizes that corporations are large and grow- small manufacturers like Sequins ing training consumers, with the potential, International in Queens, New York, to indus- at least, to shape the way community col- try leaders like Boeing, Intel and Daimler- leges respond to their needs. It also recog- Chrysler, community colleges are seen by a nizes that planning, developing and operat- number of employers as the provider of ing a training program involving two part- ners is a difficult proposition, and that
  6. 6. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 5 seemingly simple training questions—who Daimler-Chrysler/Macomb provides it, where it is delivered, how it is Community College delivered, how much it costs—do not seem A large-scale partnership, this training pro- to have correspondingly simple answers. gram for auto workers reflects continuing modernization in the auto industry. While there is, of course, no one model for Working with both company and union rep- building a successful partnership, this resentatives, Macomb is providing extensive paper highlights some of the best practices retraining to the workers at Chrysler’s in developing, planning and operating Jefferson North Macomb County, Michigan community college training partnerships by Assembly plant, consolidating 23 traditional reviewing the strategies employed by four skills/trades classifications into eight. effective training initiatives: Training, begun in 1990, initially focused on 350 workers, and has continued to serve Sequins, new employees. International/LaGuardia Community College The Chrysler-Macomb partnership provides a broad range of skills training at both With the aim of improving the competitive- basic and advanced levels in professional ness of a relatively small manufacturer, this areas including electrician, toolmaker, pipe- partnership assists a Queens, New York fitter, millwright, machine repair, mechan- sequins manufacturer to implement a qual- ic-gas and electric jitney, carpenter/painter ity management program. Designed to and energy center operator. Each of the teach more efficient production techniques professional areas encompasses seven class- to all 250 employees, the ongoing Quality es per trade. To fully ready workers for Manufacturing program began in 1996. meeting new employment classifications, basic and advanced training includes 69 LaGuardia management training provides individual courses ranging from math and strategic assistance to Sequins workers in computer drafting to advanced hydraulics, areas including production planning and computerized numerical control and main- control, strategic decision-making, using a frame computer network applications. computer database, benchmarking, costing, process control, team development, activity- based accounting and ergonomic training. Intel/Mission College Training has been delivered to workers over This partnership provides postsecondary the course of three years. In addition to the training to Intel employees through an on- technical assistance provided to Sequins site college campus in Santa Clara, California. workers, LaGuardia has also enrolled partic- Recognizing that many employees hired ipants in its extensive English as a Second during the company’s early days now lack Language (ESL) program. the skills needed for a more competitive
  7. 7. 6 Working Ventures environment, the Adxpress program, which Drawing on the experience of these four serves approximately 100 to 150 students at partnerships, this paper focuses on the key any given time, is intended to lead to an issues and questions likely to be raised by AA degree and other certification now employers in considering community col- required for many Intel jobs. Designed to leges as training providers. These include: provide all the skills needed for a degree, the program begins with pre-enrollment • Economic rationale: Why choose com- assessment in English and math and munity colleges over other training includes English fundamentals and effec- providers? tive writing, arithmetic functions, elemen- • Choosing the appropriate community tary algebra, chemistry, macroeconomics, college. technical writing, physics, and even courses such as music. • Structuring the partnership. • Developing and delivering curriculum. The Intel program is also intended to ready participants to move into training in the • Budget. semi-conductor manufacturing program. • Assessment. More advanced courses offered to Intel This paper concludes with lessons learned workers include digital principles, introduc- from the four programs and recommenda- tion to semiconductor manufacturing, tions based on their experiences. electromechanical systems, robotics and statistical process control. Boeing/Shoreline Community College This partnership to train Boeing workers in the use of a specific manufacturing software program operates in Seattle, Washington. Emblematic of continuing advances in manufacturing and expanding use of com- puterized production techniques, Shoreline’s Smart CAM training enrolls 250 workers in on-site training. The Smart CAM courses, less extensive than the others profiled, include training and competency testing in all aspects of using the program software and understanding how it relates to the manufacturing process.
  8. 8. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 7 Economic rationale: Why invest in workers? The choice of a community college as a standard of an AA degree (or higher), may training provider has its roots in a compa- lack both the academic credentials and ny’s larger decision to pursue additional needed English, math, communications, training and education for its current work- SCANS and management skills to function force. When asked why they made this deci- effectively in a changed environment. To sion to invest, staff from each of the compa- maintain its competitiveness, the company nies interviewed spoke of the economy and sees the need to provide both basic and its recent dramatic changes. applied education for these workers, and to encourage the active pursuit of an AA Underlying the establishment of each of degree for anyone who does not have one the partnerships we looked at is some com- in designated job levels. bination of higher levels of competition, rapidly advancing technology and a tighter For Chrysler, technological change required labor market—conditions that translate an ambitious makeover of an entire factory into a need for more training at reasonable model—from “low-tech to high-tech,” as one cost. This goal, in one form or another, is involved staffer put it. One outcome of the at the center of each company’s training Modern Operating Agreement (MOA) program and in its choice of a community between the UAW and Chrysler, was that college as a training provider. Chrysler’s new Jefferson plant consolidated 23 traditional, highly defined classified job Intel, a rapidly growing industry leader, has titles into eight—creating an immediate seen the pace of technological change need to retrain a senior workforce with an advance faster than the skills of its original average age of 54. In addition to transform- workforce. As one company representative ing the jobs of every worker, the change noted, in those early days, the company required many to learn new skills such as would “hire anyone” regardless of degree or computers and PLC robotics. educational level. A number of these early hires, now in jobs that have a threshold
  9. 9. 8 Working Ventures For Boeing, another industry giant, training For these employers, with large-scale and needs have also been driven by advancing intensive training requirements, community technology, and the concomitant need to colleges have the potential to offer, in one train workers to operate new computerized place, a broad range of existing or easily machining equipment at a reasonable cost. adapted courses; access to a pool of faculty As with most manufacturers, Boeing faces a expertise; academic credit for training; and a continuing challenge to find cost-effective continuing educational resource for a com- means to keep its workforce current with new pany and its employees—all attributes not equipment and manufacturing techniques. readily duplicated by other providers. As the experience of these companies makes clear, The pressures of meeting the dual require- some community colleges are well-positioned ments of high quality and low cost are, if to meet ambitious training needs: particularly anything, more intense at small manufac- those that require comprehensive, long-term turers such as Sequins, which confronts a or complex training services. highly competitive environment without the resources of a large or even mid-size For more narrow or limited training, howev- corporate base. Sequins is competing with er, there is greater competition—from in- Chinese and Indian firms that have much house providers, training firms and manufac- lower labor costs. The firm needs to lower turers. For two companies profiled here, costs and raise product quality to meet cus- however, community colleges are competitive tomer expectations and remain viable. on services that other providers also offer. These companies cite high flexibility and low cost as reasons to use a community college Why choose a community rather than a competitor organization. college? For each of these employers, the economic In general, five key reasons for choosing factors described here led to a choice of a community colleges emerged from discus- community college over other options sions with these companies: ranging from training companies to propri- etary schools to in-house training. How did they come to a decision? For some of the employers profiled here, there was no real choice: training requirements were of a scope or complexity that no other provider could meet or meet easily.
  10. 10. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 9 Continuing Connection 1 As a stable and accessible presence in the community, community colleges can 2 Scope and Capacity Few other providers can match the breadth of training offered at some com- provide continuing educational and train- munity colleges. With an established pres- ing benefits to workers. ence in the community, a ready pool of instructional staff, dedicated funding and Several employers cited this continuing the ability to offer scores of courses, com- access to training, beyond the specific pro- munity colleges provide a level of capacity ject studied, as an important consideration for large-scale or long-term training that is in developing a partnership with communi- difficult for other providers to duplicate. ty colleges. At a time when employers Chrysler, for example, with a mandate to increasingly see the need for continual provide extensive retraining for 350 work- upgrade training to keep pace with tech- ers over a period of several years (and con- nology, creating personal connections for tinuing training for new workers), “never employees with community colleges is natu- considered” other vendors. Charged with rally viewed as an important outgrowth of a providing over 50 classes in eight separate training relationship. For Intel, of course, consolidated work areas, Chrysler’s training creating this connection is at the center of partner, Macomb Community College, has the training mission. Other employers also been able to draw on related curriculum, see fostering ongoing individual connec- assemble needed instructors and provide tions to colleges as a key long-term benefit required class and lab space. Faced with of a more limited training program. Of demands of this magnitude, community course, part of this benefit derives from the colleges are, as one Chrysler staffer noted, fact that community colleges, unlike private “the natural” training provider. Few organi- providers, will always be there, “stable and zations can compete on this scale. dependable,” as one Boeing staffer noted, and thus accessible to employees who want While the other employers studied did not to continue their training. reach the same scope in their training, they too have drawn on the resources of com- The sense of community colleges as an munity colleges to create large-scale long- essential—and cost-effective—resource for term training. Intel’s on-site college cam- employees beyond the immediate training pus, for example, required Mission program is shared by most of the employ- Community College to provide instruction ers. At Sequins, the CEO views LaGuardia and curriculum in seven subject areas at Community College as a rich and underuti- Intel, while also offering access to a much lized community educational opportunity broader range of advanced and applied that could help his largely low-skilled, non- training at its nearby campus. English speaking workers in a broad array of areas from language skills to personal development to improved technical skills.
  11. 11. 10 Working Ventures Academic Credit 3 Postsecondary institutions in gener- al, and community colleges in particular, 5 Cost For some kinds of training, com- munity colleges can provide low-cost ser- have a significant advantage over most vices. For two of the companies profiled, other vendors in that they can offer a full cost has been the determining factor in range of academic services—a degree choosing the community college over com- and/or a wide spectrum of academically peting providers, where community college certified programs and individual classes advantages of scale and capacity are not a earning academic credit. Perhaps the most major factor. For Boeing, for example, obvious reason to choose a community col- Shoreline Community College has been lege is the kind of academic accreditation able to significantly undercut industry that most vendors or in-house providers providers in offering its training on adapt- cannot offer. For Intel, for example, an ing a specific piece of equipment. This Associates degree has become a required advantage in cost over private providers is, credential for many job titles. Intel’s goal in for Boeing, enhanced by the dependability contracting with a community college is and stability of the community college. essentially to establish a college on-site as a way to provide basic skills training and cre- Similarly, LaGuardia has provided its quality dentials to its employees. Boeing, too, sees management training at a large discount, the potential provision of credit for training compared with the private management as an additional reason to seek a communi- consulting firm used previously. Interestingly, ty college as its primary training provider lower costs in both these cases do not result (although Boeing students did not in fact directly from any public sector subsidies receive credit for the training provided). (beyond those that provide the foundation for public education) but are based on the pre- 4 Complementary Services Community colleges provide a range of services beyond the usual focus of vailing fee structure at the community college. Unlike the other factors, cost is not an a training project, including counseling, inherent advantage of community college evaluation and testing. For several employ- training, and may, in fact, be seen as an ers, these ancillary services were an addi- issue when colleges are chosen for other tional benefit of their college partnership, reasons. For Intel and Chrysler, for which with counseling in particular seen as a the community colleges are the logical, if means to help students adjust to training not the only provider, cost has been less of and benefit from the educational opportu- a factor in selecting a training provider. For nities available. Intel, in fact, community colleges are seen as less competitive and less flexible in the cost arena than are other providers. Intel typically requires its contractors to reduce
  12. 12. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 11 costs from year to year. Due to state-fixed • Faculty and academic capacity; charges for college credit, this has not been • Flexibility in delivering training; possible in the on-site college project— much to Intel’s chagrin. The unique nature • Ability to deliver other needed services of Mission’s services, however, precludes and supports; any other provider. • Prior experience in the training area; • Prior contacts; and Choosing a community • Cost. college provider Once companies recognize that their train- Beyond the basics, specific process and ing needs are best fulfilled by community selection requirements will naturally vary colleges, how do they choose a specific col- across partnerships. lege as the training provider? Employers with extensive training needs The companies studied pursued a variety of will develop an elaborate bid process. means to link their training needs to a Chrysler, recognizing from the outset that community college provider. Two of the it needed the scale of a community college companies chose an RFP: a formal request to fulfill its complex and broad-ranging for proposals that looked at factors like training requirements, put together an logistics, pricing, facilities and services. The extended RFP/bid process that served as others selected providers based on more the basis for discussion with three commu- informal contacts or a prior relationship. In nity colleges. The Chrysler process began all cases however, selection (and the ongo- with laying out the basics of the training ing relationship) depended on a sometimes need—by far the largest and most compre- extensive series of meetings at which the hensive of the partnerships studied. To structure and fabric of the partnership retrain all the workers at its Jefferson plant, were negotiated. For the larger partner- Chrysler required over 50 separate classes ships, an established planning group across eight different professional fields worked over a period of months to fully scheduled over a three-year period. define the training program. Moreover, classes needed to be offered within a relatively tight time schedule— While there is no single model, the experi- 7:00a.m. to 3:00p.m.—requiring the college ence of these employers suggests a basic list to have significant resources in terms of of objectives to be considered in selecting a both available faculty and space. particular community college:
  13. 13. 12 Working Ventures To familiarize the colleges with the compa- • Prior partnership history with Intel; ny’s training needs, Chrysler union and • Ability and willingness of the community management representatives conducted college to assume complete responsibili- several meetings with each college. The ty for administration, including enroll- ultimate choice of Macomb was based on ment, continuing operation and counsel- logistics, pricing and facilities. Because of ing; and its pool of faculty and experience in offer- ing similar courses, Macomb had the • Credit for classes offered. broadest spectrum of training available—it The choice of Mission among the three “could do all of it,” and at a reasonable community colleges that responded was price. For Chrysler, however, selection of a based on these factors, its experience in provider was only the first step in a process offering the “corporate college” model to that was still in a very formative stage. As other employers and on a prior training one college staff person noted, even after relationship. Unlike Chrysler, Mission initial selection, Chrysler’s objectives were offered many, if not all the courses still vague. For its part, Macomb, while it required by Intel. However, because the had experience in the required fields, did program was to be offered on the Intel not actually offer many of the needed campus and designed to meet the compa- courses. The ultimate shape of the training ny’s specific needs, creating the partner- program was forged over a six-month plan- ship was not simply a matter of adding new ning period featuring frequent meetings sections of existing courses. As with between Chrysler union and management Chrysler, an advisory council comprised of representatives and Macomb staff. Intel and Mission staff continue to shape the program model. The same pattern of a formal RFP followed by extensive negotiation characterized the Boeing’s requirements, for a much smaller other large-scale partnership, Intel and program, reflected, if in miniature, the Mission College. Intel’s RFP focused on basic elements of other training frame- cost, capacity, flexibility and services. Intel works. Before finalizing its decision to work specifically looked for: with Shoreline, Boeing asked for: • Capacity to provide a pool of faculty that • Faculty who could assess needs and could deliver literacy, math, science and develop and deliver the curriculum; communication courses; • Delivery adapted to Boeing time and • Flexibility as to the time and place class- place needs; es could be delivered; • Connection to other Shoreline • Services including counseling and courses; and assessment;
  14. 14. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 13 • Credit for classes offered (ultimately not granted for cost reasons—see below). For Sequins, the partnership resulted from a seminar sponsored by LaGuardia College on quality management implementation in small companies. Sequins management, interested in introducing the training to the company, agreed to contract with LaGuardia as a training provider. At Boeing, the process was similarly informal, with Shoreline’s selection based primarily on capacity and prior relationship. One issue in choosing community colleges is geography and designated “turf.” In some cases, the most appropriate community col- lege to meet the training need is not the closest to the employer. Because many com- munity colleges operate within designated districts, crossing lines to seek another com- munity college provider becomes some- thing of a political concern. This is hardly an insurmountable problem; companies are generally free to work with any community college they choose, and two of the partner- ships profiled here were able to overcome the geography issue. Nevertheless, this could be a concern in some community col- lege partnership decisions.
  15. 15. 14 Working Ventures Structuring the relationship: roles and responsibilities “We’re education…you’re semiconductors.” Regardless of size, however, while each part- nership has handled these concerns some- Selection of a provider, of course, is just what differently, all have pursued a similar the first step in developing a training pro- organizational framework. This strategy gram. As discussed earlier, much of the combines a clearly defined division of critical early work in developing an effec- responsibilities between college and employ- tive program lies in defining how the er, with a joint advisory group to govern the employer and community college will allo- partnership and resolve difficult issues. cate planning and implementing a com- plex training program. Which partner is The basic operating principle for all the responsible for program design? How do partnerships studied is probably best partners divide responsibility for program expressed by a Mission College administra- operation? How are issues that arise during tor describing how Mission and Intel have the partnership resolved? divided their respective responsibilities: “We’re education…you’re semiconductors.” In some of the partnerships, this division of responsibilities is complex, due largely to the While somewhat simplistic, this formula scope of the effort. For Chrysler’s initial reflects the fundamental line of demarca- wholesale factory retraining project, the part- tion underlying the partnerships. On one ners had to plan and develop curricula cov- side of the line is the college faculty and ering two levels of training, create 402 class staff charged with developing, designing sections, establish guidelines, orient employ- and operating the educational program. ees, find faculty, find space, monitor out- On the other is the employer, often in con- comes and deal with inevitable conflicts. The sultation with union representatives, Boeing partnership is much smaller, but still responsible for internal management and has required Boeing and Shoreline to devel- review of plans and progress. Typically, this op and operate a training program for 250 seemingly sharp divide is bridged by some employees working on three different shifts.
  16. 16. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 15 form of joint advisory committee that Step 4: reviews plans, formulates policy and Advisory committee provides implementa- resolves issues. tion, continued oversight and recommends any necessary modifications through an In at least three of the partnerships studied, advisory committee. it is this committee that has given shape to the partnership through modifying the Across the partnerships, this pattern has plans and procedures initially proposed by led to a similar division of roles and respon- the community college, and infusing the sibilities: training model with the culture and prac- tice of the workplace. Committees have included key employer and union represen- Employer role tatives who devote considerable time to pro- • Develop training plan. Employers need gram planning and continue to meet regu- to develop an internal consensus on the larly throughout the period of operation. In objective, scope and direction of train- the early stages particularly, this planning or ing. In some projects, this may require advisory group has been the mechanism for involving management, supervisors and program design and development. union representatives in a series of meet- ings to develop agreements. In at least one of the projects studied, manage- Four key steps ment has noted that insufficient atten- To structure and organize the training ini- tion was paid to this step prior to the tiatives, most partnerships have followed a start of training. four-step process: • Set formal training objectives. Not sur- prisingly, these partnerships had their Step 1: genesis in training needs evident to each Employer lays out general training objec- employer. In approaching community tives, scope, outcomes and budget. colleges, the first, and perhaps most important, employer responsibility is to Step 2: define, at least in broad terms, the train- Community college responds with a ing required, and to set training objec- model defining proposed classes, faculty tives. In the partnerships studied, this and logistics. training outline included the kinds of training needed; the number to be Step 3: trained, the location of training, the Advisory committee negotiates and agrees duration, outcomes and the ancillary on the training model. services required.
  17. 17. 16 Working Ventures One variant of this model, seen in the Operational decisions may also involve a Sequins example, occurs when the col- cross-section of the company. Supervisors lege offers a specific kind of training— and others may need to be involved in such as quality management training— recommending recruits, in approving and the employer responds, seeing a company training practices and chance to meet a clear need. As with the monitoring outcomes. In some of the other partnerships, however, the training partnerships studied, costs of participa- program as delivered is modified as a tion are billed to supervisory budgets result of a close collaboration between rather than to a central training account, the college and employer. leading to continuing supervisor involve- ment in training efforts. • Set budget. Employers take final respon- sibility for budgeting, of course, but • Review operations. Employers play a approach this role differently. In two of continuing role in reviewing training the partnerships studied, employers implementation, monitoring outcomes began with a set budget figure, which and modifying program design. In both provided a foundation for program the Chrysler and Intel partnerships, design. In the two other partnerships, employer advisory committees have the community college first proposed a reviewed individual class experiences, budget, which was accepted by the resolving such issues as employee com- employer. In most cases, as above, bud- plaints and problems with faculty. geting is a continuing process. Achieving these objectives requires a signifi- • Review training model. One of the most cant time commitment. Chrysler manage- important employer roles is to provide ment and union representatives, for exam- continuing guidance to the community ple, reported that they worked nearly full college as the training design is devel- time for a year to develop the training pro- oped. Across the partnerships, employer gram and have been on site nearly every roles have included participation in day. In all the partnerships, staff from both areas like needs assessment, course selec- employer and college agree that an exten- tion, approval of proposed faculty, test- sive time commitment, particularly during ing needs, and logistics and scheduling. the planning period, is necessary to make • Recruit participants. Employers are the program work. responsible for setting up a recruitment mechanism, including developing stan- dards and policies for program participa- tion, selection and program outreach. This effort includes establishing formal guidelines as well as developing written materials outlining program operations.
  18. 18. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 17 Community college role • Provide ancillary services. Some partner- ships, like that between Intel and • Develop training model. Based on the Mission, call for services beyond class- objectives laid out by the partner room training, like counseling, testing employer, community colleges have and evaluation, and links to other col- taken responsibility for developing or lege courses and services. This kind of modifying curriculum and presenting a employer need requires colleges to detailed class plan to employers. This address issues of staffing, space and can be a lengthy process and often access beyond the core training model. requires a good deal of interaction between the college and the employer’s • Modify budget. Budgeting can be a con- advisory committee. tinuing issue, particularly in long-term partnerships. Often, as in two of the • Select faculty pool. Based on articulated partnerships studied, the initial budget needs of the employer, community col- proposed by employers serves as a guide- leges select qualified faculty who can line, which is modified during the plan- also deliver courses at the time and place ning process based on factors such as chosen. In large partnerships, such as fixed costs for courses, space and loca- the Chrysler-Macomb program, which tion needs, faculty availability, added have required that colleges develop a materials and costs. Budgets are also number of new courses taught during a renegotiated as training is extended. limited time window, this has proved to be a significant challenge. Matching fac- • Manage operations. In general, colleges ulty to employer culture and needs also are responsible for day-to-day program has proved to be an important, and at administration to assure that classes and times difficult, part of this responsibility. other services run smoothly. Larger part- nerships tend to appoint a coordinator, • Define logistics. Based on the framework full- or part-time, who can serve as a sin- agreed to by the partners, community gle point of contact with participants, colleges are responsible for establishing employer and college administration. In and supporting a schedule of classes that some of the partnerships studied, the fit the needs of potential trainees. This, coordinator is also responsible for moni- too, can be a difficult task, particularly toring attendance and performance and when training is conducted at the com- producing regular outcome information. munity college. In a partnership such as With partnerships such as Intel, though that between Macomb and Chrysler, for the coordinator is a college employee, example, training segments for hundreds the position is based on site at the of workers have had to be scheduled for employer and reports to a joint advisory a seven-week period, with training deliv- council comprised of both employer and ered in the space of a designated seven- college staff. and-one-half-hour period each day.
  19. 19. 18 Working Ventures This interactive partnership model requires the college? Should it be classroom or indi- an even greater commitment of time on vidualized? Should it be after hours or dur- the part of the community college. College ing the work day? staff in one of the larger partnerships report that they spent nearly 100 percent of Clearly, the answers to these questions their time on the planning portion of the depend on the particular context—the program and 30 to 40 percent during employer’s and college’s needs, capacity implementation. Larger partnerships may and resources. Yet the experience of these also require separate day-to-day manage- very diverse training initiatives suggests that ment. Two of the colleges, Mission and successful development and delivery of Macomb, have hired coordinators to training depends primarily on the ability of administer the program. At Mission, the community college providers to perform coordinator serves as a full-time contact, four critical tasks: manages scheduling, serves as a liaison between participants, college and employ- • Draw on a strong foundation of existing er, and collects data on program outcomes. curriculum and faculty expertise; The Mission coordinator is a full-time posi- • Contextualize and relate curriculum tion, while at Macomb a half-time coordina- directly to the company environment tor is assigned to program operations. and needs; • Deliver the curriculum at a time and Curriculum and delivery place that best meet worker needs; and Developing and delivering curriculum is at • Teach the curriculum in a way that fits the heart of any training partnership, and company culture and accounts for presents two critical challenges to training employee learning styles and skill levels. providers. First, how can a partnership translate the sometimes vague objectives Although these seem to be obvious thresh- contained in an RFP to a concrete course olds, they are in practice sometimes difficult or series of classes? Second, once devel- to meet. The experience of these partner- oped, what is the best way to deliver the ships suggests that in some ways, community curriculum so employees learn? colleges are among the training providers best suited to the task. Comprehensive and These larger tasks in return raise a number diverse, the best of these institutions com- of practical concerns: To what degree bine the academic capacity required by should training be customized? What is the more extensive training designs with the respective role of college and employer? flexibility to deliver training customized to Should training be delivered on-site or at company needs. Yet community colleges also are institutions with their own tradi- tions, style and culture. Meshing these with
  20. 20. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 19 the corporate environment—a base create the needed courses, through drawing requirement of any successful training—is on faculty expertise and a related library of often a struggle even for the most successful classes. In fact, the largest concern for of partnerships. Macomb administrators involved in the pro- ject has not been in curriculum develop- ment but logistics—scheduling the faculty Developing curriculum to deliver classes at the time required. Building on a strong foundation Shoreline, too, was able to find an instruc- In developing a curriculum, the first step is tor with the requisite expertise to develop to look at the academic foundation already the Smart CAM training program. Like the present—the existing college courses and other colleges, Shoreline has been able the pool of faculty expertise. Each of these also to draw upon a strong foundation of colleges was able to draw on current related training. resources to adopt or develop the training requested. This foundation is central to the For employers seeking college partners, creation of an effective training program. this depth of expertise and prior experi- ence should be viewed as a necessary pre- All the courses requested by Intel for exam- requisite in provider selection. ple—both general and technical—are part of the Mission curriculum and offered on a regular basis to other students. LaGuardia, Adapting curriculum design too, has previously offered its management The experience of these partnerships sug- curriculum to other employers and needed gests that effective training requires col- only to adopt it for Sequins. leges to adapt pre-existing curriculum to meet specific training requirements. Many Where courses did not exist, community employers expect colleges to study their college partners had the capacity to develop training needs and worker abilities and cre- them. Macomb did not offer most of the ate customized training accordingly. courses required by Chrysler, and needed to Colleges, too, recognize the need to ensure design much of the 69-course curriculum that programs are fully responsive to the “from the ground up.” It is striking, however, company’s training needs, and perhaps that this task, requiring six months of inten- more importantly, that they use the compa- sive planning and continuing curriculum ny’s business and product as an integral development to complete the training part of the training offered. design, was not seen as particularly taxing by college administrators. Macomb had An important element in the success of the access to a pool of faculty familiar with the training programs studied has been this general subject matter and has been able to flexibility in curriculum design—the will- ingness and ability of selected community
  21. 21. 20 Working Ventures colleges to adopt, refine and in some cases human resources has served as the in-house create curriculum and course material that point person for the program and has mirror the workplace. worked with the LaGuardia consultant and the project advisory group to customize the Each of the colleges has worked to create existing curriculum. training that makes this kind of concrete connection with work. Once the training- All the colleges studied view the task of tak- award decision was made, colleges began the ing a standard curriculum and adopting it process of developing a customized training to the specific needs of the companies as a program. Typically, the first step was a fact- fundamental part of a successful training finding process that included visits and program. As one Mission administrator meetings with company staff and potential commented: “If there is any way you can trainees to determine training needs. contextualize…do.” Macomb, for example, sent instructors to Each of the partnerships followed this man- the plant to observe tasks and interview date, looking for ways to bring business supervisors. Instructors then developed a into the classroom. Mission asked its prototype curriculum and brought it back instructors to gear presentations to semi- to the advisory group for review. Shoreline, conductor manufacturing if possible, and too, began the process with a needs analysis to relate class discussions to the work that involved “lots of dialogue” with Boeing assignments of classroom participants. The supervisors and training staff, while Mission real life environment at Intel has been used drew upon the expertise and experience of as a focus of classes from English to physics, the advisory council for input. At Mission, with homework specific to the industry and as at Macomb, the advisory group has problems and paperwork drawn from the served both as a forum and review board jobs of students. for curriculum decisions, a process that included frequent meetings and resulted in At Macomb, where classes were developed continuing program modification. specifically to meet Chrysler requirements, contextualization began with basic curricu- LaGuardia’s Quality Management Training lum planning; each class was designed to program has been adapted from previous conform to the framework set by Chrysler. training provided by the college to other Because workers are being trained for new manufacturers to suit Sequins’ operation. Chrysler job classifications, tasks are imme- LaGuardia had spent 10 months develop- diately relevant to jobs. Classes are built ing the basic quality management model around defined competencies that are mea- that has now been used by the college at 14 sured at the completion of training. companies (seven manufacturing firms and seven service firms). Sequin’s director of
  22. 22. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 21 At Shoreline, too, training, by contract, has Three of the companies studied—Boeing, been designed to connect to Boeing’s man- Intel and Sequins—chose to provide train- ufacturing needs. Classes are built around ing on-site. This training is more conve- the computer software employed by nient for employees and does not disrupt Boeing, and Boeing blueprints and parts the overall operation of the plant. are integrated into classes. Class design is Chrysler, by contrast, with the largest scale based on achievement of defined compe- training, chose the community college as tencies as at Chrysler. Shoreline has also the training site. trained a Boeing employee who is responsi- ble for continued employee training upon At Boeing, Chrysler and Sequins training is completion of the project. part of the working day. It is required and workers are learning a specific task or tasks that they immediately put to use. At Intel, by Delivering curriculum contrast, training is after work. Intel training After creating a curriculum, partnerships is voluntary and unpaid, and focuses more must find a way to deliver it that fits the generally on individual career advancement company’s schedule, capacity and needs, rather than work-specific training. and resonates with the trainees. The first of these tasks—fitting the company’s needs— Regardless of the decisions made, it is clear occurs in the planning period; the second that the ability to adopt training to compa- and harder task—teaching effectively— ny time and place needs is a third key ele- occurs in implementation. ment of successful partnerships. Flexibility of time and place is described by employ- ers as one of the most critical elements— Meeting employer time and place initially—in making the decision to work needs: wherever, whatever with a training provider, as well as in subse- All training programs must deal early on quent planning and operation. The com- with the question of where training should munity colleges, too, value and sell their be delivered—on campus or at the work- ability to deliver “wherever, whenever” place; and whether it should be conducted training, seeing their ability to take train- during or after the normal working day. ing elsewhere as an important part of the Considerations include the number of package they offer employers. employees to be targeted; the kind of train- ing to be offered, the duration of the train- For community colleges suffering the com- ing, whether training is voluntary or mon predicament of space limitations, pro- mandatory, and the capacity of the compa- viding off-site training is also a vital part of ny training site and community college. any business plan. The college’s chief assets—curriculum, faculty and credit—are all more or less portable; selling them off
  23. 23. 22 Working Ventures campus can add significantly to revenue ing day. Most classes begin at 5:00 or 5:30 and capacity without imposing greatly and are, unlike other programs, voluntary; added costs. For this reason, several of the workers are not paid for attendance. community colleges studied see this as an Mission has been able to offer most of the area of great potential and are actively mov- classes required by Intel at the Intel site, ing to market this capacity. although some lab courses and other class- es requiring special equipment are provid- For all these reasons, flexibility in service ed at the nearby Mission campus. provision and the ability to meet employer requirements is an important part of all the Chrysler training, located on the Macomb training programs studied. Each of these campus, posed a different kind of chal- initiatives require community colleges to lenge than did the other programs. Rather adapt or change traditional class structures than adapting to a company worksite, and faculty schedules to meet the needs of Macomb has had to adapt its own campus participating companies. Three of the part- to Chrysler’s large-scale training need. nerships require community colleges to Macomb’s training plan put some strain on deliver services at the workplace, while all the college, particularly in finding and four require adaptation to the shift patterns retaining appropriate faculty who would of the workers served. teach the designated classes during the des- ignated times. This kind of flexibility, how- For Boeing, the need has been to train all ever, is necessary to meet the demands of workers who need Smart CAM during their large-scale corporate training. regular working shift on-site at the factory. This has required Shoreline to offer its All Sequins training is provided on-site, one-week training during all three shifts, during the working day. Individual training though most classes have been scheduled in areas like ESL is offered at the for the first and second shifts. Shoreline LaGuardia campus. has reported little difficulty in maintaining this schedule. Matching faculty and company cultures Although Intel is located only a short dis- Developing curriculum and program deliv- tance from Mission College, the company’s ery that satisfies employers has been at goal has been to establish a college on-site times a difficult challenge, but one that that could provide most of the general falls well within the capacity of these com- requirements for an AA degree, and could munity colleges. A harder issue, however, is offer these classes at a time convenient for teaching the curriculum in a way that workers. Based on the work of the planning engages and benefits trainees, and that fits committee, Mission agreed to offer classes the prevailing company culture. on-site at Intel, after the close of the work-
  24. 24. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 23 One concern facing training providers is training relationships between community the need to ensure that all students meet colleges—or any outside provider—and the academic requirements of the class- companies with a strongly established work- room; i.e., that they have the basic reading, ing culture. This is particularly true in com- math and computer skills to succeed in the panies where workers to be trained are less training proposed. educated, have been employed for a long time, have received most of their training Partnerships studied here have recognized through internal sources, and have not the skills issue and have responded by ask- developed a pattern of continuing educa- ing instructors to gear training to prevailing tion. To some extent, these conditions skills levels, and by providing individual apply at all the partnerships studied and, remedial instruction when needed. At of course, at many industrial concerns Mission and Macomb, for example, students throughout the country. can receive individual tutoring and counsel- ing, while at Laguardia they can be referred At two of the partnerships, Intel/Mission to ESL training. Shoreline requires that stu- and Chrysler/Macomb, conflicts emerged dents have some familiarization with PCs between one or two instructors and prior to enrollment in training. trainees. Although the environment is very different at the two firms, the cause—the A second concern is to ensure that teaching perception that instructors did not under- conforms to the culture of both the compa- stand or respect the company culture—has ny and its workers. As staff from several of been the same. the colleges noted, many of the trainees, who are long-time employees, have absorbed the The Intel training program presents an attitudes and style of their workplace. To interesting study in contrasts. Although some extent, this means instructors can face workers are burdened with low basic skills, a classroom of students who share a way of they are also, by virtue of long service at learning and responding that can be very one of the world’s most successful compa- different from those in the average diverse nies, well paid, often wealthy individuals, community college class. Lack of familiarity with significant professional responsibilities. or comfort with these kinds of corporate Moreover, Intel students are part of an cultures can create conflicts in a classroom aggressive company that encourages what where faculty are used to setting the tone one Mission staffer calls “constructive con- and teaching environment. frontation.” Facing a room that includes sometimes aggressive and challenging stu- Adapting teaching to company culture in dents, have been some community college the classroom has been a difficult issue for instructors who—both partners agree—are several of the partnerships, and is an not necessarily ready for such a competitive important factor to consider in developing environment. The result has been occasional
  25. 25. 24 Working Ventures classroom clashes and the belief on the cult to bridge even for experienced faculty part of some students that some instructors and college administrators. In developing a did not treat them like professionals. Intel partnership, college administrators, even at ultimately asked to pull two instructors, leading institutions, face the inherent chal- while Mission recognized that instructors lenge that a great majority of their instruc- who “pushed back” were more effective tors will not be steeped in the ways of their with students. partner’s businesses. This, combined with issues of availability and competence in the At Chrysler, a different situation prevailed. needed subject areas, highlights the need There, during initial training, Macomb for professional development and planning community college instructors, teaching an as well as occasional on-the-job training. older workforce with an average of 27 years of seniority and job security, had to find a way to motivate trainees in making a diffi- cult change in their working lives. Given this challenge, Chrysler employer and union representatives feel strongly that in order to teach effectively, instructors need to have a background in the industry and an understanding of the labor force. In practice there have been complaints that some of the instructors did not relate well to the trainees and that the teaching style employed by one or two instructors is “too directive” for the trainee group. As a result, these instructors were taken off the training project. As with Mission, Macomb has recog- nized the importance of grounding instruc- tors in the industry and corporate culture to as great a degree as possible, through prior experience or intensive orientation. It is significant that the question of how fac- ulty can effectively relate to corporate cul- ture arises even at institutions that are among the more notable nationally in developing successful partnerships with business. The gulf between academic and corporate culture is often a wide one, diffi-
  26. 26. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 25 Budget Among the most important questions for hensive training, award of academic certifi- employers entering a training partnership cates, or continuing training, costs are are those that relate to the cost of training. more likely to be fixed. What are actual costs? How negotiable are costs? Are there opportunities for public All the companies studied here paid all or grants or discretionary funds? What about most of the training costs, either directly or tax benefits? In working with community through the participation of union training colleges, additional questions are naturally funds. While some of the partnerships have raised: Are community colleges competitive been able to attract some public subsidies, with other providers? Is there a potential others have not. Moreover, the subsidies for college aid or other public subsidies gained are not necessarily related to the that might not otherwise be available? community college connection. Unlike the other key components of train- Similarly, there is no common experience ing discussed here, there is no clear-cut with costs as compared with those of other distinction between community colleges training providers. Two of the partnerships and other training providers, at least as profiled here are seen by employers as seen in the partnerships studied here. cheaper and more flexible than other kinds There are also no firm guidelines for of training providers. Two others are seen employers to follow, beyond the basics of as providing unique services that other good negotiating and seeking whatever providers could not match, but are also accommodation is available. If any lesson seen as largely inflexible in costs. does emerge it is that colleges will be most flexible on price in delivering the kind of Training costs naturally varied with the short-term, no-credit training also offered scope and intensity of training offered. The by other providers. Where colleges offer a 88-hour quality management training at unique service-credit, intensive or compre- LaGuardia cost $11,000 per semester ($22,000 per year) for the 250 participants,
  27. 27. 26 Working Ventures with eight semesters of training conducted somewhat more comprehensive assessment to date. Shoreline’s Smart CAM training, service with no additional training for priced at $40,000 for training 70 students $95,000—more than four times as much. in one-week classes in its initial phase—the same price structure remains in place—has These same cost benefits do not hold true trained 250 workers. in the larger and more unique training models. At Intel, Mission College is tied to From here, costs rise considerably. The a state-established cost structure for any Intel community college training at Mission courses for which credit is awarded. This costs approximately $200,000 for the 100 to has limited cost flexibility and the ability to 150 students served at any given time, while reduce expenses as the program evolves. the extensive Chrysler training at Macomb This in turn has caused the Mission part- was initially budgeted at $3 million for 350 nership to be an exception among Intel students. subcontractors, who typically are required to reduce costs from year to year. The issue Budgets at three of the partnerships—all of fixed fee structures tied to credit extends new training designs—were developed beyond the Intel partnership to other through a process of negotiation between states; in Washington for example, the employer and college, while the fourth, Shoreline and Boeing ultimately decided LaGuardia’s quality training, is fixed-price not to provide credit for Boeing students based on similar training LaGuardia has since it would raise training costs. At offered at other companies. Interestingly, Macomb, where Chrysler training imposed employer partners have found that the two a significant burden both in faculty time lower-cost training projects—those operat- and overall capacity, the budget has been ed by Shoreline and LaGuardia—which developed on a cost-plus basis. both offer training that is available else- where, are cheaper when offered by the An important question for any employer to community college than by other providers, consider is the potential for community col- or when provided internally. lege help in subsidizing training costs. In a number of states, public subsidies available Boeing, for example, has found that the to community colleges working with Shoreline cost of training—$16/hour for employers can pay for curriculum develop- each trainee—is far less than the $40/hour ment and instructional costs, and even pro- budgeted for internal training. The man- vide cash to companies in the form of wage agement consulting assistance provided to subsidies or direct cost reimbursement. Sequins by LaGuardia includes both in- Other resources, such as foundation fund- depth analysis and continuing, hands-on ing, also sometimes support community col- strategic assistance for $22,000 per year. A lege/employer partnerships. The Alfred major consulting firm offered Sequins a Sloan Foundation, for example, supports
  28. 28. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 27 LaGuardia’s work with manufacturers, and provides opportunities for workers to receive additional management-related training, conference fees and other services. With the exception of the LaGuardia pro- gram, however, community college subsidies have played a relatively small role in these partnerships, with Macomb drawing down some state funding to assist in curriculum development. Other colleges that have explored state funding report that funding options do not fit, for one reason or anoth- er, the design of the training program. Potentially at least, the availability of subsi- dies for community college directed train- ing does provide a clear opportunity for employers that is not available when work- ing with other training providers. However, employers also need to consider that these subsidies may carry restrictions with them, such as the need to serve low-income work- ers or to link subsidized training for cur- rent employees with guarantees to hire entry-level workers.
  29. 29. 28 Working Ventures Assessing Partnerships Any look at larger lessons offered by com- At Intel, the company estimates that 80 to munity college partnerships should begin 87 percent of enrolled students complete with an assessment of the training conduct- individual courses. The college’s minimum ed in these four initiatives. After three years standard of academic progress requires stu- of training, how do the employers studied dents to maintain a grade point average of view their partnerships? Are they seen as 2.0 and complete 50 percent of the overall effective? Did they lead to measurable credits in which the student has enrolled. improvements? What are the benefits—and The larger impact of training on degrees costs—relative to other kinds of training? earned—the ultimate goal of the Intel pro- Do companies plan to expand training? gram—has not been assessed due to vary- What are the lessons for other employers? ing progress rates and the relatively long time needed to complete all requirements. Intel initially sought to get grade reports as Outcomes a measure of progress, but this was turned All of the companies interviewed believe down by Mission as violating student confi- that training to date has been a success. By dentiality. Intel reports it has done no and large, the measures they used have not internal competency assessments beyond been global ones, such as improved produc- course completion. tivity or market share, difficult to measure or attribute in the context of industry lead- At Chrysler, success is measured through ers like Intel, Boeing and Chrysler. Rather, pre- and post-tests, based on the defined the focus has been more immediate, partic- competencies to be delivered in classes. ularly on measures like successful comple- Classes are tested as a group, with success tion of training provided. In all cases this defined as all members achieving compe- has been high. This relatively short-term tencies. For the first 350 workers through view of training impact may also reflect the the program, the partnership rates 99.7 fact that these programs are continuing. percent of trainees as completing Level 1— the basic level of skills upgrade—and “99
  30. 30. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 29 percent plus” as completing the more that the colleges studied here have been advanced Level 2. Chrysler has deliberately able to bring together a number of training avoided any individual testing of trainees advantages in one place. If there is one either in basic skills capability or achieve- theme underlying all these partnerships, it ment of desired competencies, preferring is that all the community colleges studied to focus on results by training class. here have been able to combine attributes such as expertise, capacity and credit-bearing Shoreline’s program, also designed to aid courses in a well-established and easily participants in meeting defined competen- accessible institution. This has created, for cies, has a similarly high success rate for the these companies, a training environment 250 employees who have entered training, that few other providers can duplicate. with only a few failing to complete the required coursework. Again, training success is measured by Boeing in terms of this com- pletion rate, rather than any larger impact. Sequins, by far the smallest employer stud- ied, expects the most ambitious outcomes from its program, believing that company- wide management training will improve productivity and decrease costs. Although all 250 of its workers are now participating in the four-year-old training program, quantifiable results have been limited due to a longer than expected information- gathering process. Sequins expects to have a new information management system in place by the end of 1999. The full impact of the LaGuardia training cannot be real- ized until these data are available. More telling perhaps than individual out- comes has been the decision of all the com- panies participating either to continue training or to enter into new training agree- ments with community colleges. This deci- sion does not reflect any single advantage offered by these community colleges over other training providers, but rather the fact
  31. 31. 30 Working Ventures Lessons These four partnerships are in their way Selecting a Provider exemplary, representing a successful match Community colleges can be well- between training need and provider. The positioned to meet critical training community colleges, too, are not represen- needs in today’s economy. tative of all community colleges, nor may The first lesson these partnerships offer the other employers have the same training larger community of employers is that opportunity afforded to Boeing, Intel, some community colleges are especially Chrysler and Sequins. For employers well-suited to meet the diversity of training nationally, it is important to recognize that needs likely to be faced by manufacturing many community colleges focus more on employers in a competitive environment. academic than vocational preparation, and As advancing technology increases the that others are struggling to define their need for continuing education and train- mission in a rapidly changing educational ing, community colleges are among the and economic environment. training providers best positioned to meet training requirements like: Nevertheless, we believe that these exam- ples fairly represent the potential of these • A continuing connection to an educa- institutions as training providers, and that tional institution; the issues raised here are reflective of • Large-scale, complex and/or long-term those likely to arise in partnerships estab- training; lished between employers and colleges. The experience of these partnerships • Accreditation for training or receipt of a offers a number of lessons employers may postsecondary degree; and want to consider as they seek to meet their • Ancillary services such as counseling and own training needs, and to plan, structure evaluation. and operate programs.
  32. 32. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 31 Among the community of training providers, • Established curriculum and courses in community colleges have a clear advantage the training field; in meeting the training requirements and • A pool of experienced and available fac- challenges raised by large employers like ulty; Intel and Chrysler. For example, few other training entities can offer, in one place, • Training delivery flexible enough to degrees and transferable credits to other meet employer time and place require- institutions (important to Intel and of ments; interest to Boeing); the capacity to mobilize • Capacity to deliver training on-campus if faculty; established curriculum to train in needed; multiple subject areas (necessary for both Chrysler and Intel); and the potential to • Willingness to engage in an intensive offer continuing training and education curriculum development process; extending beyond the initial training plan • Willingness to adapt curriculum to meet (a virtue for all the companies studied). employer needs; With the ability to hire part-time instructors • Willingness to devote extensive staff time and take advantage of existing faculty, com- to management and operation; and munity colleges may also offer cost advan- • Willingness to seek outside funding to tages in smaller and less demanding train- help support training. ing programs that do not require a large educational infrastructure. In larger partnerships particularly, companies should familiarize providers with training Employers should seek community col- needs through meetings prior to selection. leges that combine capacity, area exper- Companies should also be prepared for tise and flexibility. extensive early planning to refine objectives, Not all community colleges in a region structure and costs. will be able to meet employer training requirements. While, clearly, the appropri- Realizing the advantages of community ate institutional choice will depend on a college training can also mean additional great variety of factors, the experience of costs and program burdens. these diverse training partnerships still The experience of these partnerships shows suggests a core list of characteristics that that the advantages often sought by employers should consider in any selec- employers in choosing community colleges tion process including: as providers are not always realized. These advantages can also carry additional costs and program requirements.
  33. 33. 32 Working Ventures Credit has been cited by several of these Structuring Training employers as a reason to consider commu- Relationships nity colleges. Pursuing accreditation, how- Employers and community colleges need ever, raises training costs and may delay to take clearly defined roles. program implementation. As described ear- Partners need to decide early on how roles lier, state cost frameworks and require- will be divided, and maintain a clear set of ments for credit-bearing courses can result responsibilities throughout the training in higher costs than noncredit training, as program. While this will likely vary depend- well as limiting flexibility in negotiating ing on the nature of training and many price. Creating new courses to meet compa- other factors, the experience of the part- ny needs can require time-consuming facul- ners studied suggests that employers should ty approval and may also impose individual take on a management and review role, testing requirements that companies may and leave planning and operational respon- wish to avoid. sibilities to colleges. Similarly, employers cite the potential of Specifically, employers should focus on community colleges to offer life-long learn- areas including: ing for their employees. Community col- leges do provide these opportunities, but • Setting objectives; the link with training programs is not auto- • Internal management; matic. Ensuring a continuing connection to community colleges requires that compa- • Setting budget parameters; nies commit themselves to programs • Reviewing program organization and through efforts like individual education, design; planning and counseling. Although training is continuing, it is not clear that students in • Recruitment and internal operations; and these partnerships have taken full advan- • Monitoring. tage of continuing educational opportuni- ties offered by the community colleges. Community colleges should focus on areas including: • Curriculum development; • Faculty selection; • Scheduling and logistics; • Training design; • Day-to-day operation; and • Outcomes and evaluation.
  34. 34. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 33 Partnerships should be managed jointly. Developing and delivering As partnerships evolve, it is a near certainty curriculum that tensions will arise between employer Partnerships should incorporate exten- and training provider, that initial program sive curriculum planning. plans will be modified and that unexpected One of the strongest lessons to emerge developments will require changes and from discussions with college administra- quick decisions. All partners agree that in tors is the need to determine employer the larger partnerships especially, the for- needs and wants. Even where community mal division of responsibilities underlying colleges have a strong pre-existing curricu- training structure should be accompanied lum base, program curriculum development by a joint college-employer group to serve should begin with an extensive preparation as a vehicle for overall management, to period—lasting several months or longer in review key decisions, modify program larger or more complex training designs— design and operation, and monitor pro- when college staff meet with supervisors gram results. This group should include and workers, visit the workplace, observe employer, union (if appropriate) and col- tasks and needs, and review preliminary lege representatives. The advisory group designs with employers. should meet regularly during planning stages and periodically during the opera- Curriculum should reflect the workplace. tional phase. College administrators agree that training programs are most effective when they con- Larger partnerships require a full-time nect in a concrete way with the workplace. administrator. As part of the development process, Even with an extensive commitment of time instructors should seek, to the greatest by higher level employer and college repre- degree possible, to incorporate real-life sentatives, large training programs, such as work context, practices and products as an those sponsored by Boeing and Intel, need integral part of classroom learning. a full-time administrator who can serve as a single point of contact for program partici- Program delivery and teaching should pants, employer and college. reflect the workplace. Different workplaces reflect different cul- tures and ways of learning. Just as curricu- lum needs to incorporate the real-life workplace, so does the way in which the curriculum is conveyed. Some administra- tors feel that instructors should share experience or background with workers being trained, particularly in cases where long-time older workers are being asked to
  35. 35. 34 Working Ventures develop new skills. In any case, all agreed tion beyond formal training, partnerships that selected instructors must understand should incorporate a career and educa- and feel comfortable with workplace cul- tional counseling component. ture and practices so as to teach in a way that resonates with trainees. This suggests that instructors become familiar with cor- Budgeting porate culture prior to the beginning of Community colleges should explore public training through workplace visits and grant resources to help support partnership meeting with corporate staff. As the experi- efforts. In a number of states, funds available ence of even this very limited sample solely or primarily to community colleges shows, this can also mean encouraging can help support curriculum development very different classroom styles—ranging and training efforts. While these resources from supportive to challenging—depend- may carry restrictions that make them ing on the workers to be trained. impractical or irrelevant to employer needs, consideration of these opportunities should Program delivery should fit with time and be part of the budget process. Community place needs of the employer and workers. colleges should also work to familiarize Effective training should fit as well as possi- employers with other resources that might ble into trainee schedules, reflecting be available, including state and community employer rather than college needs. economic development funds, and—where Partnerships should explore options that appropriate—should serve as a co-applicant include providing training at the worksite, for these dollars. scheduling training to fit pre-existing work- er schedules (including all shifts), surveying workers as to best available training times, and delivering training in small groups. Partnerships should incorporate supportive services. Trainees may require a variety of services outside formal classroom training. Partnerships should incorporate individual tutoring for employees below the basic skills threshold established for classroom training. This availability is particularly important for employers reluctant to indi- vidually test basic skills prior to start of training. To meet employer objectives of expanding a worker’s access to the educa-
  36. 36. We’re education…you’re semiconductors 35 Conclusion The experience of these training programs advantages of accessibility, capacity, conti- reflects both the importance of partner- nuity and scope that few other trainers— ships between employers and training insti- private, nonprofit or public—can match. tutions such as community colleges and the difficulties inherent in making them work. Employers should not expect that any or every community college can deliver on The pace of economic and technological this promise. Many community colleges change has increasingly driven firms, large have an academic mission, rejecting or and small, to become consumers of train- minimizing a vocational role. Others have ing, often provided by outside entities. failed to develop the depth and breadth of Accustomed to setting high thresholds for training services that can meet the needs of other suppliers, companies are proving to industries where technology changes week- be demanding and influential consumers ly. Still others have yet to develop the mar- in the training marketplace as well. ket perspective and flexibility to meet the changing and often complex requirements To succeed, the ideal training provider of corporate consumers. must be able to offer a great deal: in-depth training across a wide range of skills and One of the strongest, if least surprising, knowledge; services delivered anytime and lessons here is that a successful partnership anywhere; continuing presence and accessi- depends on the ability of the college—in bility; and competitive price. many ways a traditional educational institu- tion—to act in a nontraditional way. All the As we have seen, few, if any, training colleges profiled here view their role less as providers can meet all these conditions. institutions than as corporate partners, with Yet, as publicly supported local institutions, curriculum, staffing and delivery treated as community colleges have the inherent flexible and negotiable services, rather than fixed features. This kind of negotia- tion and flexibility, is, of course, less of a