Comprehensive Performance Solutions: Removing Barriers to Success


By: George Chapple
June 2, 2017


Businesses face many challenges on a daily basis. One of the largest is finding and keeping an engaged and skilled workforce. There may be individuals in an organization who are hardworking and willing to learn, but how can they advance without the proper guidance? The Center for Business & Industry (CBI) at South Central College aims to act as a performance development partner and provide total performance solutions. At CBI, we pursue many avenues to ensure we are meeting the needs of our business partners, including assisting companies with mitigating the cost of those training plans with various grant submissions.

Professional development can be costly and many companies are looking to lower their cost of operation. Often training is one area that companies will reduce in their annual budgets. CBI recognizes the financial commitment to provide employees with the necessary skills to perform safely and at a high level. One avenue available to businesses to mitigate the cost of professional development is through a Minnesota Job Skills Partnership (MJSP) grant through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

These grants create partnerships between educational institutions and businesses, so they can jointly develop educational programs for the business and can provide upwards of $400,000 over a three-year period. The funds help to mitigate the cost to analyze the performance need, design learning objectives and outcomes, develop the training interventions, implement the training and lastly evaluate the effectiveness of the training based on the learning outcomes.

Industry-specific grants are also available. South Central College is the lead institution for the Minnesota Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (MnAMP), which is a consortium of 12 community colleges and 2 universities from the Minnesota State system. To address the skills gap that exists in manufacturing, MnAMP was awarded a $15 million Trade Adjustment Assistant Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grant. Because of this funding, MnAMP is able to support eligible workers, veterans, and other adult learners by mapping out career pathways in advanced manufacturing, including mechatronics, machining, and welding.

As part of MnAMP’s initiative to close the skills gap, the +Connect program was developed. +Connect offers a series of training courses led by live instructors through online video conferencing technology. This allows all employers, big and small, to offer high-quality training at the workplace. +Connect is ideal for incumbent workers or those in apprenticeships or dual-training programs. With the variety of industry-centered courses, participants can benefit from short-term courses that can be taken from any location, including the job site, which helps businesses train current employees to meet the skills gap. These courses can also lead to academic and industry-related credentials. Through this grant, we are able to subsidize these important trainings for area businesses. For more information, call 507-389-7203.

We want all of our business partners to be successful. By removing the barriers that prevent organizations from investing in their employees, we can help them maximize productivity and efficiency. To act as a performance solutions partner, CBI provides consultation services from start to finish, including overseeing the financial components.

George Chapple is a manufacturing consultant for The Center of Business & Industry at South Central College. George has 28 years of manufacturing experience in operations and training and development. He holds a B.S. degree in Psychology from Crown College in St. Bonifacius, MN, an MA in Community Leadership from Bethel University in Arden Hills, MN, and is finishing an MS degree in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning from Boise State University in Boise, ID. 

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