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SEMO Regional Industrial Training Group helps businesses work together to improve workforce

Monday, July 16, 2012

Through the SEMO Regional Industrial Training Group, local businesses are sharing the cost of improving their workforce.

Coordinated by the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center and Mineral Area College, the group includes more than 20 companies that send employees to various training programs throughout the year.

The Training Group is funded in part by a grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the participating businesses, explained Rich Payne, director of the Cape Girardeau Career & Technology Center. In some situations, businesses will write their own grant applications for specific training programs conducted by the Training Group.

"Everybody talks about getting new businesses in the community as something that drives the economy, but at the same time, keeping your established businesses operational and productive is another key component in keeping the economy going," Payne said.

The reason existing companies are thriving in this area is because of the region's trainable labor force, he said.

Annually 300 to 600 workers take part in training courses that are tailored to suit business' specific needs, he said.

Some training programs last for years, while others may be just one day or one week. Often workers from multiple companies will take part in the same training course. In other cases, trainings will be held for one specific business.

The group conducted several training sessions for new employees at Nordenia USA, Payne said, which recently opened a new packaging facility in the Jackson Industrial Park off US 61.

In addition to teaching valuable manufacturing and leadership skills, the courses help the participants earn credits toward certificates or associate's degrees.

Typically, the cost of the training is covered 50 percent by Department of Economic Development grant funds and 50 percent by the business sending workers to the training, Payne said.

In many cases, this allows companies to provide training to their employees they wouldn't be able to afford on their own.

Alan Kertz of Jackson Machine & Manufacturing Inc. said his company sends a few people each year to training courses offered by the group, but wouldn't be able to provide this kind of training without being part of the group.

"Without it we probably couldn't send individuals for training. We would have to force them to pay for the training on their own and then reimburse them if they passed the course, but many of our employees are not in a position to do that," he said.

The program helps both the business and the individual employee.

"This provides a worker already employed by them an opportunity to gain skills and elevate themselves within the company. The company's benefit for investing money in the worker is a more productive and higher skilled employee, which in turn makes them more productive," Payne said.

For more information on the SEMO Regional Industrial Training Group, contact Bev Hickam, bhickam@mineralarea.edu or 573-270-3542.

Companies that participate in the SEMO Regional Industrial Training Group:

Artisan Contracting Inc.

BioKyowa Inc.

Botkin Lumber Co. Inc.

Buzzi Unicem USA

Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis

Delta Companies

Erlbacher Gear & Machine Works Inc.

HAVCO Wood Products

Jackson Machine & Manufacturing Inc.

Leggett & Platt

Nestle Purina Petcare

Nordenia USA

Pavestone

Procter & Gamble Paper Products

Rubbermaid Closet & Organizational Products

SEMO Milling LLC

Spartech

S&W Cabinets

Ameren

Cape Area Magnet

Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce

Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center

Jackson Chamber of Commerce

Mineral Area College


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