Industrious workers Featured

12:48pm EDT April 25, 2003
Training your work force pays off; the Greater Cleveland Growth Association has the proof in a study of six companies that trained their work forces in basic skills.

"What we found was that those companies had reduced turnover, improved attendance and tardiness rates, reduced scrap and waste, and there was some measurable increase in productivity and profitability of the company, along with an improved safety record," says Daniel Berry, vice president of growth strategies and services at the association. "There are benefits a company can realize from training that do contribute directly to the bottom line and performance of the company."

Training may be hard to justify in a slow economy, but some companies look at it as a way to position themselves for the economic recovery. There are a lot of government assistance programs available to help share the cost, and if Northeast Ohio is going to remain competitive, more companies need to take advantage of them.

"At the present, we are not growing in terms of population base," says Berry. "We have an older work force that is going to be beset with high retirement rates in the next five to 10 years. We'll be losing a lot of our skilled work force. We have a smaller than average cohort of young people coming into the work force.

"We need to focus on upgrading skills of our existing work force to remain competitive."

If you aspire to be a high-performing company, you should be spending 3 percent of your payroll on training. The region came in at an average of a little less than 2 percent in a survey two years ago, with 2 percent as the national average.

The type of training available varies from common, off-the-shelf skill improvement to customized packages designed to fit a particular company's culture and needs, as well as mixtures of both.

If you are unsure where to start or what resources are available, the Growth Association can help.

"We could certainly provide some initial direction," says Berry. "We have a staff that has a real good overview of what resources are in our community. There are also public sector programs that could help." How to reach: Greater Cleveland Growth Association, (216) 621-3300


Industrial training resources

Here is a short list of where to find more information about training programs in Northeast Ohio.

* www.nowdirectory.com Contains about 500 training resources available in Northeast Ohio and has tools to help match your needs with the right provider.

* www.clevelandgrowth.com The Greater Cleveland Growth Association site has links and contacts to help.

* www.camp.org CAMP Inc. works with manufacturers and technology-based companies to help them excel and grow.

* www.cose.org. COSE focuses on helping small businesses solve problems.

* Local governments. Many cities and counties offer programs that help cover the costs of the training. Ask officials about available programs.

* State of Ohio. The Ohio Training Tax Credit offers a 50 percent marginal tax credit for those that qualify. Learn more at www2.state.oh.us/odjfs/ottc/info.

* Colleges and universities. Almost every community college and university has a program that can help you assess training needs, develop a program or implement the training.

* Chambers of commerce. Your chamber may be able to direct you to resources or programs. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has programs aimed at helping you develop your work force. Learn more at www.uschamber.com/cwp.