Category Archives: Garland Campus
At the Associa Shared Services Center in Richardson, Tex., many of the cubicles in the open concept office are adorned with certificates of completion from Richland College. They serve as points of pride, showcasing that the holders are furthering their education. The certificates and the training completion they represent provide the potential for career advancement for the several hundred people who show up for work each day at this Associa location.
Last October, The Texas Workforce Commission presented Richland College with a $449,988 Skills Development Fund grant to train 222 new hires and 79 incumbent workers at the Associa Shared Services Center. Since then, Richland College has been providing the workers with classes on customer service, supervisor leadership, Lean office processes, Microsoft Excel and accounting.
“Overall, everyone is very happy with it. They take pride in the fact they’ve gone, post the certificate on their board, discuss who goes next and what sessions are available,” said Eric Blanchard, director of client accounts payable for Associa. “On the job side, they’re looking for ways to apply their learning. I get folks who have attended the Lean session and are trying to figure out how they can apply it to a project they’re working on. They don’t just want to take the course. They want to take it to that next step.”
Stephanie Taylor, director of data management organization at Associa, agreed. “[The employees] have been excited about the fact that they can see we’re investing in them, and that’s always a big bonus in regards to morale and building that sense of support and team spirit for them,” she said.
From the employees’ perspective, the training has not only allowed them the opportunity to learn new skills that can then be translated back to their jobs, but it has also provided them a way to further their dreams and career goals.
JJ Moreno, a lead accountant with Associa, said it felt good to be getting continuing education credit with Richland College because it’s helping him achieve his goals. With the training, Moreno is hoping to build his career with Associa and move up within the company. So far, the classes have helped him not only polish his skills, but they have also allowed him to approach problem solving from new angles.
“The classes have been a lot of help because they definitely make me think twice before I act in a certain way,” said Moreno. “I now try to always approach things in a different way so that I can get a better outcome.”
Debbie Simpson, the tax and banking manager, might be Associa’s biggest advocate for the training provided by Richland College. Not only has she completed multiple sessions herself, but she was also instrumental in ensuring her employees were the first group to complete the customer service training.
“I haven’t heard anything negative about the training,” said Simpson. “I’ve heard them say, ‘oh, I want to take that class!’ or ‘I want to do this!’ It’s very valuable to the company and the team.”
“I think it’s a great opportunity we have as a company to have this training available,” Simpson continued. “If we’re having this training offered to us, we need to utilize it.”
Simpson places a priority on ensuring her staff has opportunities to grow in their careers and hopes the training will allow her to promote more employees from within her department.
“You want the success of your staff so they can move up and do better things,” Simpson said.
Overall, the management team at the Associa Shared Services Center echoes Simpson’s sentiments on the training and how it has affected not only the skillsets of their employees, but the morale of the company as a whole.
“To me, it’s been exciting,” said Blanchard. “That’s a good word for it. As a manager, seeing employees excited about attending a course and figuring out how they can leverage that going forward is great.”
Associa was founded in 1979 by Texas State Senator John Carona and is North America’s largest community association management firm with more than 150 branch offices worldwide. The company serves homeowner associations of all types, including condo, mixed-use, master-planned, luxury high-rise, active-adult, resort and golf communities.
Richland College, Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association (DCMA), Garland Chamber of Commerce and local business representatives were present at a check-signing ceremony Friday morning at Richland College Garland Campus to award Richland College with a $629,602 Skills Development Fund Grant from the TWC.
The grant will be used by Richland College Garland Campus to train 334 employees at DCMA member companies including Ecolab, General Dynamics, J&A Manufacturing, Kraft Foods, Karlee, Marlow Industries and Micropac Industries, Inc., equating to a total of 12,320 training hours.
“Richland College Garland Campus appreciates the ongoing confidence that the Texas Workforce Commission and area manufacturers place in us as a dependable, experienced high-quality, results-focused skills training partner,” said Richland College President Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D. “We always remain ready and willing to serve.”
Event speakers included Eggleston, Richland College Garland Campus Director of Community and Chamber Relations Tandy Dollar, TWC Commissioner Ronald G. Congleton, Micropac Industries CEO/President Mark King and Garland Chamber and DCMA CEO Paul Mayer.
When Congleton addressed the audience, he cited recent unemployment facts, including that Texas has added 457,000 new jobs in the last year, resulting in an unemployment rate of just 4.6 percent. He also mentioned how a skilled workforce receiving higher wages would ultimately help the state economy.
“I’m proud that this grant, that the great work that Richland College has done to put this all together and the consortium of employers here today that are partnering in the grant,” said Congleton. “These are good jobs in which 334 workers will be trained, and they will see an average wage increase of 2 percent upon completion of training.”
Richland College Garland Campus is an award-winning Dallas County Community College District community campus focused on workforce training and development. Training is provided for individuals who are entering the workforce for the first time and for those currently employed who want to enhance their skillsets.
Richland College Garland Campus is offering night and weekend classes for the spring semester in the areas of AutoCAD, SolidWorks, machine operator, welding and IC3 certification. Classes begin Jan. 3.
“Richland College Garland Campus has recognized a need in our community to offer additional night and weekend classes for working adults and those with less flexible schedules,” said Kimberly Wilkins, Richland College Garland Campus workforce training coordinator. “These classes are perfect for anyone looking to upgrade their skills or even change careers. The Garland Campus is local, tuition is reasonable and we provide quality training with quality instructors.”
Registration for classes at Richland College Garland Campus begins Nov. 18. Prospective students can register online at richlandcollege.edu/schedules or by phone at 972-238-6146.
Richland College Garland Campus is located at 675 W. Walnut Street, across the street from the downtown Garland DART station on the blue line.
Richland College, Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), the City of Richardson and Associa representatives were present at a check-signing ceremony Wednesday morning at the Associa Shared Services Center in Richardson to award Richland College with a $449,988 Skills Development Fund Grant by the TWC.
The grant will be used by the Richland College Garland Campus to train 222 new hires and 79 incumbent workers at Associa’s Shared Services Center. Employees will begin their training next week.
“Richland College Garland Campus appreciates the ongoing confidence that the Texas Workforce Commission and area businesses and industries place in us as an experienced, dependable, high-quality and results-focused skills and workforce training provider,” said Richland College President Kay Eggleston. “We continue to remain ready and willing to serve the training and education needs of our community, and we look forward to meeting and exceeding your expectations for workforce training with Richardson businesses and industry partners such as Associa.”
Event speakers included Eggleston; Richland College Garland Campus Dean of Resource Development Shellie Heard; TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar; Texas State Senator and Associa Shared Services Center President, CEO and Chairman John Carona; and Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka.
More than 300 of Associa’s Shared Services Center employees also attended the ceremony, where they learned more about how the grant would affect them and their employer.
“It helps you acquire the skills that are going to be necessary to do a job that is needed in the facility right behind us and allow this company to continue to create opportunities for the new people that will be coming in next week and next month,” Alcantar said to the Associa employees in attendance. “Go out there and get the job done.”
“This generous grant from the Texas Workforce Commission will give our employees the skills they need to provide unsurpassed service, as well as to help strengthen the Richardson business community, said Carona. “We are grateful—very grateful—for this unprecedented opportunity, the first of its kind not only for Associa, but for our industry as a whole.”
“On behalf of the entire Associa family this morning, I would sincerely like to thank the Texas Workforce Commission, Richland College and of course the City of Richardson for this unique opportunity,” said Carona. “Thank you all so much.”
Associa is North America’s largest community association management firm with more than 150 branch offices in the United States, Mexico and Canada. The company serves homeowner associations of all types, including condo, mixed-use, master-planned, luxury high-rise, active-adult, resort and golf communities.
As Richland College instructor Angie Whitney began to wrap up her customer service class at the City of Garland Unified Learning Center, she asked each of the 25 students in her class that day to tell her what each took away from the session.
Answers ranged from better ways to phrase questions to customers, to nonverbal cues to look for, to even that common sense is not universal.
“Common sense only makes sense to whom it is common to,” Whitney replied to the student.
Whitney is one of several Richland College corporate trainers participating in a collaborative effort between the college and the City of Garland. The end goal is to provide comprehensive, real-world training to city employees that will equip them to serve more efficiently the surrounding community and Garland residents.
“Richland College Garland Campus has become a full-service training provider for several area cities and many corporate clients, and we go to great lengths to make sure we provide the highest quality instructors to our clients,” said Konley Kelley, assistant dean of corporate services at Richland College Garland Campus.
The City of Garland’s relationship with Richland College is based on an expectation that the college will offer the top-level instruction upon which it has built a reputation, and as such Richland College has become the city’s “go-to” resource for training on a variety of subjects. According to Susan Fair, City of Garland’s workforce engagement and development administrator, students have also come to expect a high level of training and mutual understanding with Richland College instructors.
“Students look at the instructors as if they’re city employees, which in a way they are,” said Fair. “And there is a camaraderie and trust factor that goes with that.”
Richland College courses offered to City of Garland employees include Ethics for Municipal Government, Business Writing, Command Spanish, Computer Skills, Managing to Lead and Customer Service. Richland corporate trainers Elke Brautigam; Tim Colman; Hamaria Crockett, Ph.D.; Karen Hettish and Whitney teach these classes.
“All of our instructors are contributing to the success of this partnership,” said Kelley. “They all have huge, well-attended classes and are creating an impact with the different topics they are teaching.”
Whitney and the other instructors often receive feedback from students about how much they are learning in the classes taught by Richland College instructors and that word is spreading among employees that the training is truly valuable in the workforce. For instance, some employees with the Garland Senior Center realized that some of the paperwork was not serving the seniors very well. Because of the customer service training they attended, the employees worked to modify the paperwork in a way that made it better and easier for their clients, the seniors, to understand.
“By going through the customer service class, the impact was they modified their data to better suit the customer, which in the end is who the data are for,” Whitney said.
Over the past few years, the partnership between Richland College and the City of Garland has seen tremendous growth, with four to six classes each month serving City of Garland employees.
“We have to keep training real, relevant and fun in order for it to stick,” said Fair. “This isn’t old school anymore. My job with the City of Garland is to make sure people are prepared in their roles. Everyone is a leader in his or her job. We make decisions, and we need outcomes every day.”
“This has been a deep, solid partnership, and I love that this training is a priority for this city. This is what the City of Garland is all about,” Konley concluded.
Richland College Garland Campus is an award-winning community campus focused on workforce training and development. Training is provided for individuals who are entering the workforce for the first time or for those currently employed who want to enhance their skill sets. For more information, visit richlandcollege.edu/garlandcampus.
Richland College Garland Campus and Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association received a $358,246 check on Jan. 24 from the Texas Workforce Commission. Commissioner Hope Andrade presented the funds to Richland College and five Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association companies for workforce skills training. Companies included in the grant are Atlas Copco Drilling Solutions, RHE Hatco Inc., Sherwin Williams (Garland, Arlington, Ennis and Waco plants), Unity Mfg. and Work Area Protection. The grant provides funding for Richland College to instruct 345 employees for a more than 9,250 training hours. Training under the grant includes “Lean Manufacturing,” programmable logic controls fundamentals, CPR/first aid, Six Sigma Green Belt, Microsoft Office, welding and forklift certification.
Who: Richland College Garland Campus and Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association
What: Commissioner Hope Andrade from the Texas Workforce Commission will present a $358,246 check to Richland College and five Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association companies for workforce skills training. The grant provides funding for Richland College to instruct 345 employees for a more than 9,250 training hours.
When: 2 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2014
Where: Richland College Garland Campus, 675 W. Walnut Street in Garland
For more information, contact Tandy Dollar at email@example.com or 214-360-1221.
Richland College Garland Campus is offering new night and weekend classes in Precision Machine Operator and Computer Aided Design. Enrollment is open now. For more information, visit www.richlandcollege.edu/garlandcampus or call 214-360-1200. Richland College Garland Campus, an equal opportunity institution, is located at 675 W. Walnut Street in Garland.
Richland College Corporate Services’ track record of providing exceptional training for area businesses has resulted in the opportunity to work with some of Dallas’ most prestigious institutions.
Training offered by Richland College came highly recommended to leaders of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, so they contacted Konley Kelley, assistant dean of corporate services, in fall 2012. Richland College provided training for the museum’s new employees.
Richland College’s successful relationship with the Perot Museum, which opened in December 2012, opened the door a few months later to work with another high-profile client – the George W. Bush Presidential Center which opened in May 2013.
“The Perot Museum referred us to the George W. Bush Presidential Center,” Mr. Kelley said. “Our partnership with the Bush Center has been phenomenal. It is a an excellent story about quality training, local collaboration and making a difference with great customer service.”
Angie Whitney, an energetic, savvy corporate trainer for Richland College, has been teaching the customer service classes for the Perot Museum and the Bush Center. She said Richland College was in the running with other top, national, professional development organizations including the Disney Institute.
“Working with the Perot Museum and the Bush Center is a big deal,” Ms. Whitney said. “These are marquee clients. They bring a ‘celebrity’ factor. We have had and will continue to have business from doing this training.”
Every employee and volunteer at the Bush Center, which houses the Bush Presidential Library, Museum and Bush Institute, will complete Ms. Whitney’s customized, introductory-level customer service program.
“That’s nearly 450 participants at the Bush Center,” Mr. Kelley said. “Ultimately, I anticipate Angie will have led classes for nearly 1,000 employees and volunteers at the two institutions.”
At the Bush Center, Ms. Whitney’s “Customer Service 100 – First Impressions” class teaches participants how to communicate with the center’s guests and create a welcoming atmosphere.
In a recent training class, Ms. Whitney educated participants about the various ways Bush Center patrons will experience the museum (through sight, sound and touch) and how to effectively use communications styles – verbal (actual words used), vocal (tone of voice) and non-verbal (body language).
In her training, Ms. Whitney stresses the importance of remaining culturally neutral as visitors to the museum come from many backgrounds and beliefs.
“We’re here to meet their needs at the museum,” she said. “That means communicating well, but it also means knowing when to step back and let them just experience it for themselves.”
One area of the museum that is better experienced with less guidance is the September 11 exhibit. This section includes a multimedia display of images, the iconic bullhorn Mr. Bush used when addressing the crowd at Ground Zero and a twisted piece of steel from one of the World Trade Center buildings.
“Unless visitors engage you, you should avoid interaction in the 9/11 area,” she said. “It’s very emotional for some people. It brings back memories and I’ve seen people fighting back tears. So hang back, but be ready if people want to talk to you.”
Part of Ms. Whitney’s training addresses how employees should to respond to controversial statements or provocative questions from patrons. All presidents have critics and that doesn’t change once they leave office, Ms. Whitney told the class.
The highest priority for Bush Center employees and volunteers is to be professional, courteous and neutral. She taught the class not to engage in political conversations. Neutrality is important even when patrons have positive comments.
“The biggest compliment you can receive is for people not to know your political views,” Ms. Whitney encouraged. “It’s not your job to agree, argue or apologize. You can simply say that the Bush Center is a federal, non-partisan facility, and we don’t discuss politics.”
Class participants ran through some scenarios to practice remaining neutral, and many members of the class found that aspect of the training helpful.
“We really learned how to handle sticky situations. We have to be professional at all times,” said Sandra Clark, a Bush Center employee. “Angie had lots of visuals and she’s outgoing and friendly. She was very thorough.”
Walking through the museum lobby after the class, a bubbly docent reached out with a bright smile to shake hands with Ms. Whitney.
“Your class was great!” said Cindy Belisle, Bush Center volunteer. “It made me think. I have to anticipate what the people coming here are thinking. We learned so much. Thank you!”
It’s no wonder that Ms. Whitney has been nominated for a 2013 Excellence in Teaching award, one of Richland College’s highest honors. Recipients of the awards, given in full-time, adjunct, continuing education and associate faculty categories, will be announced in August at Richland College’s Fall Convocation.