This Week's Herman Trend Alert

in Normal 2.0


  The Herman Trend Alert

December 22, 2004

Herman Trend Alert: Universities Coming to the Corporate Campus

Employers, distressed that their employees lack critical knowledge and skills to perform effectively in a highly competitive, fast-moving marketplace, are looking to colleges and universities for help. Executives are inviting professors to come to the corporate offices to teach executives and managers. Supervisors are being trained in their work settings, as well as on campuses of universities and community technical colleges. While this practice is not new, the intensity and level of activity will grow substantially.

Current research suggests that more companies will utilize local educational resources in the employment environment much more aggressively in the years ahead. This approach will save employees time away from work, will enable the instructors to focus on issues faced in the specific company's circumstances, and will provide opportunities for one-on-one coaching to supplement the classroom work.

In a number of industries, leaders are discovering the impact of the long- term practice of hiring from their competitors instead of bringing new people into the field. Their companies are now populated with highly competent older workers who are not as familiar with new technologies. Some of these older workers want to retire, often to shift to a different kind of work or a more flexible lifestyle. Younger workers have not been attracted and nurtured, so these companies face an age-gap in their workforces.

Instructors who can facilitate the vigorous exchange of information and experiences among members of a diverse employee population will be in high demand. Also, these professional adult educators, many from the academic setting, will "upskill" the younger workers and retrain (often in new skills) the older ones..

There will be advantages for all concerned. The learners will gain knowledge, skills, time, and convenience. The employers will gain a more competent workforce and opportunities to take advantage of the education resource in their communities. The educators will gain by greater engagement with the corporate community. By holding the classes on site at company facilities, the colleges reduce the need to build more classrooms. In addition, they can use the up-to-date equipment in manufacturing facilities so learners are prepared to become productive more quickly.

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