Milwaukee Area technical College (MATC) will offer business consulting services and workshops for small to medium-sized business owners this fall.
"A lot of companies are struggling to stay alive and don't need a supervisor to go to two or three years of college to get proper training," said Sandi McClary, director of MATC's office of corporate learning. "Business owners can come to our office, tell us the three skills they need their supervisors to learn immediately, and we will customize a curriculum that makes sense to them and their businesses. The classes are also more relevant to the adult learner."
The office of corporate learning at MATC already offers workshops for individual businesses that can afford to send between 10 and 15 employees to attend.
The classes and workshops offered this fall are called learning academies and will be available to smaller businesses, and only one to three employees will be required to be in attendance. The workshops are taught by MATC faculty and vary in length from four to 24 hours.
McClary said the MATC office of corporate learning is developing the workshops with individual companies but also by studying industry needs and popular classes taken at MATC.
According to McClary, MATC already is focused on customer service, supervisory development, health, command-Spanish, blueprinting, Lean and Six Sigma.
The office of corporate learning looked to the U.S. Department of Commerce top 10 industry clusters to determine which industries to focus on to offer needed classes for next year as well. McClary said the college plans to hold focus forums throughout the year to study skill trends and needs within the manufacturing, health care, travel and tourism and financial industries.
"We will hold a forum for each industry this year to determine skill level problems," McClary said. "In the next 18 months, we will develop workshops and training components to help solve these issues."
Many other local colleges offer classes, workshops and certificate programs for business people who want to further develop their commercial, communication or time management skills.
Local colleges such as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Alverno College, Concordia University and the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) release booklets seasonally as business resource guides.
Most are affordable and cost under $100, depending on the amount of hours required or the level of specialization.
Alverno College has both a business resource list of classes, workshops and certificate programs and a school of continuing education called the Telesis Institute. Because they are non-credit classes, they are open for both women and men to benefit from.
Businesspeople can find value in a professional writing workshop, gaining a management certificate and attending a workshop on motivation or conflict management.
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Concordia University have foreign language classes for beginning to advanced speakers that only require a one-day-a-week commitment for eight weeks. The catalog lists management courses, public speaking and grammar workshops. UW-M also has certificate programs in designing with plastics and mechanical engineering workshops in skills such as geometric dimensioning or design fundamentals.
Concordia also offers basic computer workshops for software programs such as Microsoft Word, an introduction to Microsoft Excel and an introduction to Microsoft PowerPoint.
The Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) teaches certificate courses for Microsoft certification, Novell certification, Java server pages and Web site design, short courses such as the fundamentals of engineering and seminars such as an introduction to hydraulics.
The Business Excellence Consortium at MSOE consists of a series of courses for businesses such as team building, presentation skills, lean accounting, and error proofing.
McClary said many businesspeople are looking to gain knowledge on a subject or master a skill either for their own development or for an added value to their employer or business.
"We wanted to have a more strategic approach to provide education and training to our businesses," McClary said. "Because Milwaukee is so large, we felt we were only touching the tip of the constituency and the learning academies are one way that we felt we could strategically help them."
August 20, 2004, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI