Moving off-site Featured

12:30pm EDT May 26, 2004
When Julie Stein, Key Bank's training director, needs more space for training during peak demand, she calls Corporate College Westlake.

"When we have overflow training that needs to occur, we'll use their facilities for that," says Stein. "We will also use them for highly technical training. They will set up and configure their machines the way we need them.

"The tech training we do requires more heavy-duty equipment than what we have in our training rooms. We have also contracted with them on occasion to provide training that is less expensive than going to our vendors."

Stein says she mainly uses Corporate College for its facilities, and provides her own instructors from either Key or one of Key's software or hardware vendors.

"They handle our highly technical training configurations," says Stein. "All their machinery is kept state-of-the-art. We don't focus on that because that's not our core business. If we need training on a heavy duty PC or piece of server equipment, they'll set us up on that out there."

The training allows Key to keep its employees updated on the latest technologies that are being deployed in the company without the need for constantly spending to upgrade a large in-house facility.

Meeting the specific needs of Key is the mission Corporate College, an offshoot of Cuyahoga Community College, wants to fulfill.

"Corporate College offers both training services and facility services to corporate America in the local area," says Greg Surtman, senior account executive for the college. "We bring together the entire need of technology, catering or anything they would need to have. In addition to that, we have a full array of training services."

Businesses can accomplish anything from training a large group of employees on customer service skills to getting core executives trained on new technologies. Courses can be customized to meet specific needs if there is a large enough group to merit a private session.

Regardless of where you choose to do your executive education and training functions, it's important that you feel comfortable that the faculty and facility are the right match for your company.

"The staff should be asking you for the things that are important to you," says Surtman. "Sometimes it might be the background of the instructor that's important or maybe the curriculum. Sometimes it's the location of the class, and sometimes it's simply the pricing. They should be understanding what's important to your organization and tailoring the program around that."

If location is important, visit the facility to make sure it meets your needs. Meet the people involved in the program, and if you are using the facility's instructors, arrange to meet them as well.

If you want to do the training at your business to minimize disruptions, find out what the capabilities of the organization are to do that. For example, Corporate College has a mobile computer lab with 32 laptops that can be brought to your facility to handle training needs.

If you're not sure where to find the specific training you need, the SCORE Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to entrepreneurial education, offers five tips on where to find training.

* Check out the Internet for Web-based courses.

* Contact state and local development agencies. Some offer training programs in order to attract and retain businesses.

* Investigate programs offered by local universities, community colleges and adult education programs.

* Hire teachers or consultants to provide training at your place of business or off-site. Get references first.

* Ask corporations. Many offer training on the software they market or the equipment they manufacture. How to reach: Key Bank, (800) 255-8425; Corporate College, (216) 987-5104