3 Questions Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009

Rand W. Key, senior vice chancellor and chief operating officer of Lone Star College System, is responsible for coordinating the administrative and auxiliary operations of the Office of the Chancellor. He oversees the system’s work force development and corporate college, human resources, general counsel, institutional research and effectiveness, public safety, campus security planning, and University Center. Key recently served as executive vice president of planning and development at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas.

Q. Will companies need to keep continuing education in the budget to maintain a competitive advantage?

Yes. It is more important now than ever. Professional development and technical training is necessary to keep companies and employees in touch with their industry. This training also helps companies enhance skills, allowing the company to work leaner, more efficiently and effectively. Subject matter experts at colleges are able to train employees that have had additional work given to them by employers from downsizing.

Q. What type of education should companies focus on in today’s economy?

Technical training should be one of the focuses. Technology is continuing to grow and change, and the jobs are different now than in the past. Ten years ago, workers may have known everything there was to know about the equipment they worked on, but now, the equipment and the needs are constantly changing. Another area to focus on is green technology. Companies aren’t creating new green jobs but existing jobs are requiring more of a green component.

Q. How can a business form a successful training regimen?

For training to be successful, you have to train for it. Sit down and plan what you want to do. Do a needs assessment. Before a company pays for any type of training, the assessment needs to be performed and educators who will be performing the training need to show you a training plan. For example, if you need employees to take Spanish language training, you need to know at what level they need to start at and how the training is expected to improve employees’ comprehension.