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Local colleges share in job training

Aug. 6, 2009

By Derek Smith

Danny Uptmore is Executive Director of Corporate and Professional Traning at MCC. Their partership with Texas State Technical College will provide workers with training in job-specific skills, computer programs, and leadership. Training will be provided to incumbent and new workers at these organizations, which gives them necessary skills for the tasks at hand, and is a way of combatting unemployment. They gain skills which makes them more valuable to the company. The company has made an investment in them, making them more likely to want to see that investment through. And clearly if they do end up needing a new job, they have more to offer to future employer. It's a cycle that Uptmore and Frank Graves, Coordinator of Business and Industry at MCC participate in regularly.

That's Rose Jimenez preparing to administer a skills inventory to a number of unemployed people at Heart o' Texas Workforce Solutions. These people are hoping that they may end up in classes at McLennan Community College, TSTC, or other Central Texas community colleges that provide skill-specific classes that the individuals must attend as full-time students. If they make it that far, Graves and Uptmore's office plays a role in facilitating. Frank Graves delivers some of the training, and says they work with everything from the unemployed to companies trying to prepare their current workers to take on larger or changing roles.

There's no set schedule for when training occurs. People who qualify for Workforce Investment Act financial support take the classes as MCC offers them. Companies come to MCC whenever they need it, sometimes for long-planned shifts, other times for unexpected issues. The benefits are very real to the individual, but can sometimes be vague for the community as a whole. It's hard to quantify exactly how much the region benefits from training, although Uptmore does cite a generally accepted figure.

And that's why Chairman Tom Pauken spends so much time touting job training as he goes around the state. Beyond the individuals affected who see their horizons broadened, it plays a role similar to what city leaders tout when they talk about downtown development. Corporations that see active organizations training and growing people in the community see it as that much more of a viable location. And Danny Uptmore is proud of the role that schools like MCC play in that.

We'll continue to focus on these various modes of local economic development in the coming weeks on KWBU-FM. For KWBU news, I'm Derek Smith.

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