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Richland College Awarded $707,000 Grant to Train 549 New and Current Associa Employees

Seven people posing with a giant check.

Richland College, Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), the City of Richardson and Associa representatives participated in a check-signing ceremony Thursday afternoon at the Associa Shared Services Center in Richardson to award Richland College with a $707,696 Skills Development Fund Grant by the TWC.

The grant will be used by Richland College to train 549 new and current Associa employees that will advance their skills and improve the North Texas workforce.

From left to right: Chelle O’Keefe, executive vice president and CHRO, Associa, Inc.; Paul Voelker, mayor of Richardson; Texas State Rep. Linda Koop; Kathryn K. Eggleston, Ph.D., Richland College president; John Carona, chairman of the board and CEO, Associa, Inc.; Ruth R. Hughs, commissioner representing employers, Texas Workforce Commission; Shellie Heard, dean of resource development, Richland College; and Ron Clark, vice president for business services, Richland College. Photo by Paul Knudsen.


Associa Partners with Richland College to Receive Company’s Largest Texas Workforce Commission Grant

Associa, the industry’s largest community management company, in partnership with Richland College, is proud to accept its largest educational grant from the Texas Workforce Commission.

The $707,000 training grant will provide the unique job training opportunity for more than 500 employees from the company’s north Texas region, including its Client Shared Services Center, home office and local management affiliate. The resources will be used to expand Associa’s employee education programs and specific job training that will advance employees’ skills and improve the North Texas workforce.

The courses are scheduled to begin this month and will continue throughout 2018. The curriculum will cover many facets of Associa’s core business, including accounting and financials, customer service and business communications.

“We are excited to accept this generous grant from the Texas Workforce Commission as it will provide our employees the opportunity to improve their skillset, advance their knowledge base and complete their jobs to the very best of their abilities,” stated Chelle O’Keefe, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Associa. “We are focused on providing a positive employee experience at Associa so that our employees choose to build their careers with us. By using this grant to expand our current educational programs, it will not only help strengthen Associa but also contribute to the continued success of the Richardson business community and local economy.”

“Richland College is pleased to partner again with Associa in advancing the skills of its workforce and the economic base of Richardson and North Texas,” stated Dr. Kathryn K. Eggleston, Richland College president. “Richland College appreciates the ongoing confidence that the Texas Workforce Commission and Associa place in us as an experienced, high-quality, results-focused training provider.”

Associa and Richland College will be holding a check ceremony in honor of receiving the grant. The ceremony will be held at Associa’s Client Shared Service Center in Richardson, Texas, on June 15 at 3 p.m.

(Courtesy of Associa)


Richland College Selected for 2015 Richardson ‘EDGE’ Award
Woman talking at a podium.

Richland College President Kay Eggleston speaks at the check-signing ceremony at the Associa Shared Services Center in October, 2014.

Richland College was the recipient of the 2015 Richardson EDGE Public/Non-Profit/Education Award, recognizing the college’s success at securing a $450,000 Skills Development grant from the Texas Workforce Commission to train employees of Associa, the largest homeowner association management firm in the U.S., which moved its operations to Richardson in 2014.

In October 2014, 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 trained 60% of the Associa workforce in customer service, supervisor leadership, Lean office processes, Microsoft Excel and accounting classes.

Sheridan Nixon, a Richland College program services specialist for workforce development, has coordinated the training, working closely with Associa to schedule classes and ensure the company’s training needs are being met.

Several people posing with the award“Meeting with stakeholders and learning the culture of Associa enabled me to provide the highest level of customer service,” said Nixon. “This built trust and produced success.”

The training provided by Richland College has allowed Associa employees the opportunity to learn new skills that can be translated into their jobs and allowed them to advance their dreams and career goals. This aligns with Associa’s commitment to employee training and Richland College’s commitment to providing quality, customized workforce education, thus integrating business prosperity for Associa, individual achievement for its employees and community success for Richardson.
“EDGE is an acronym for Economic Development, Growth and Expansion,” said Richardson chamber president and CEO Bill Sproull. “The Richardson Chamber of Commerce and the City of Richardson have been recognizing companies with EDGE awards for 30 years as a way of thanking them for their contributions to the local economy. When companies make an investment in our community, and they are successful, we all benefit. We want these businesses to know how much we appreciate the impact they have on our city.”

EDGE is an initiative of the Richardson Economic Development Partnership (REDP), a joint effort between the Richardson Chamber of Commerce and the City of Richardson. Each year the REDP, chamber of commerce and the Richardson rotaries recognize Richardson companies and organizations that have achieved extraordinary success or made a significant investment in Richardson.

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 Offers On-Site Training and Potential for Advancement to Associa Employees
JJ Moreno poses in a cubicle with his three certificates.

JJ Moreno, lead accountant at Associa, posts on his cubicle his three certificates of completion for on-site training from Richland College. Photograph by Paul Knudsen.

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 Receives $449,988 Skills Development Fund Grant to Train Associa Employees in Richardson

Representatives from Richland College, the Texas Workforce Commission, Associa and the City of Richardson pose with a check for a grant intended to train Associa employees. From left: Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar; Richland College Garland Campus Dean of Resource Development Shellie Heard; Texas State Senator and Associa President; CEO and Chairman John Carona; Richland College President Kay Eggleston; and Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka.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.