Innovative Partnership Wins Award
Innovative Partnership Receives National Recognition
Jessica M.L. Thompson, Communications Director
Stacey Biggs, Western Kentucky University
BOWLING GREEN, KY--An innovative partnership between Western Kentucky University, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, and several partner companies has brought recognition for excellence from across the southeastern United States.
Uniting Industries, Sharing Costs, Building Successes — A Training Consortium Project was awarded the 2009 ACHE South Distinguished Non-Credit Program Award by the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) South Region. The Consortium provides effective training for Warren County industries at a nominal cost and holds training locally with minimal interruption to the work schedule. Local industries maintain a minimal investment to gain access to valuable training for their employees.
According to the ACHE criteria for the award, winning programs are judged on innovation, creativity, success, impact, and adaptability. “The committee was very impressed with the quality and scope of the project and we are pleased to recognize its excellence,” according to Dan Connell, chair of the awards committee.
The prestigious award, given to one college or university annually, was presented to representatives of WKU on April 28, at the ACHE South Awards luncheon in Baton Rouge, La. Manon Pardue, director of the Center for Training & Development, and Sharon Woodward, director of Continuing Education, accepted the award on behalf of WKU and the numerous partners involved.
The project began in 2004 with three companies joining together to provide training for their employees. Through the Bluegrass State Skills Corporation (BSSC), the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development made training affordable with grant funding, offsetting approximately 50 percent of training costs. Through the persistent efforts of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce economic development staff, the consortium has been able to secure grant funds on an annual basis. “We’re proud to have been a long-term supporter of this project,” said Dan Preston, Chamber vice president of economic development, “because of the cost-effective training and support Consortium member employees receive. By supporting the Consortium, we are supporting workforce skill enhancement for existing industries in our region.”
“I’ve been a part of a lot of good programs that provided great service for a period of time,” said Pardue. “This program is sustainable because of the strong partnerships. Of those partners, Bando, NASCO, and Sumitomo and their representatives are instrumental in the success and longevity of the program.”
In 2008, the consortium began offering non-credit online training courses to its members through Continuing Education at WKU. The online format provides added appeal, allowing the flexibility needed in today's changing workforce. Courses are offered on a quarterly basis and range in scope from accounting principles to customer service to management and supervision.
“This program is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished using a team approach," Woodward said. “In fact, colleagues are asking for advice about how to replicate the program in their areas.”
According to Dr. Don Swoboda, dean of the Division of Extended Learning and Outreach, “The award for this innovative partnership is one example of the value DELO brings to WKU. Partnerships are the key to our success.”
The ACHE South Region has member institutions in 10 states as well as Jamaica and Puerto Rico. For information on ACHE, go to www.acheinc.org.
For information about the Industrial Training Consortium, contact Manon Pardue at 270-745-1919. For more on Continuing Education, contact Sharon Woodward at 270-745-1910.
Center for Training & Development and Continuing Education are units of the Division of Extended Learning & Outreach (DELO).
About the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce
Incorporated in 1935, the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce is the driving force for economic development in South Central Kentucky. As one of only 336 chambers nationwide to be accredited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the fourth largest chamber in Kentucky, the Chamber serves as a premier business advocate for its more than 1,300 partners. Its primary goals are to promote growth and success in the business community, reaching its small business partners and those in large industries alike. With leadership programs, governmental relations projects, educational initiatives and involvement opportunities, the Chamber aims to support the community and its neighbors in order to enhance the business climate and continue to grow the region.