Continuing in-house training and education needed to create and maintain competitive edge

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20 Under 40: JenniferDessoye

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Dr. Jennifer Dessoye is assistant professor of occupational therapy at Misericordia University and owner of Bright Beginnings Early Learning Academy (BBELA). Discontent with the early education curriculum and understanding of human development and neurolo (read more)

20 Under 40: Amy Hlavaty Belcher

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Amy Hlavaty Belcher, 39, owner and artistic director of Abrabesque Academy of Dancing, believes that for those who have been given much, much is expected. “I just try hard to do my best,” she said. I have been blessed with many opportunities and many gift (read more)

20 Under 40: Christopher Hetro

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Chris Hetro, 33, works hard and plays hard. “A strong work ethic is important, but finding balance outside of work is important because life is too short and you need to enjoy it,” he explained. As an electrical engineer and project manager at Borton-Laws (read more)

20 Under 40: C. David Pedri

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For attorney C. David Pedri, 37, it’s all about a combination of qualities that contribute to success. “My philosophy is simple: be open and honest, treat people the way you would want to be treated, with respect, and work hard to attain your dreams. The (read more)

20 Under 40: Ed Frable

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Ed Frable, 28, believes “if I work hard and stick to my word, good things will happen. My crew will not be deterred. We will re-evaluate our game plan and not give up until the job is complete,” explained Frable, the owner/operator of Ed Frable Constructi (read more)

20 Under 40: William H. Bender II

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William H. Bender II, CFP, CIMA, CRPC, loves what he does. “I’m lucky. I come to work every day excited to help the people and institutions we work with,” explained Bender, 34, first vice president at Bender Wealth Management Group, Merrill Lynch. The fam (read more)

20 Under 40: Angelo Venditti

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Angelo Venditti, 38, heard a call to the helping professions early on. Geisinger Northeast’s chief nursing officer answer was to volunteer for his local fire company. After high school, he became a paramedic, then enrolled in nursing school. Three years a (read more)

20 Under 40: Donald Mammano

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At 20, Donald Mammano began his own company, while attending the University of Scranton. Mammano, now 33, and president of DFM Properties, recalls, as a youngster, holding a flashlight while his father fixed the kitchen sink. “From that point on I was fas (read more)

20 Under 40: William J. Fennie III

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William J. Fennie III, 27, is always knocking on the proverbial door, because he knows one day, one will open. As an investment specialist with Integrated Capital Management (iCM) he cannot take “no” for an answer. “I make cold calls every day to invite f (read more)

20 Under 40: Marcus Magyar

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As an advisor at CAPTRUST Financial Advisors, Marcus N. Magyar, CFP, 30, provides comprehensive wealth management and investment portfolio services to business owners, executives, families and high-net worth individuals. His multi-disciplinary team of pro (read more)

20 Under 40: Heather Davis

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Heather M. Davis, 33, director of marketing and communication, is responsible for creating, overseeing and implementing a strategic marketing and comprehensive communications plan for The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC). She is also responsible for pr (read more)

20 Under 40: Alexandria Duffney

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Alexandria Duffney, 30, is competitive by nature and loves a good challenge. These qualities have led her to her position as associate director of graduate admission at Wilkes University. Here she works with prospective students interested in enrolling in (read more)

20 Under 40: John Culkin

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John Culkin’s tenets inform: “Less haste equal more speed; the same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg, it is all about what you are made of, not the circumstances surrounding you; and don’t ask someone to walk a mile in your shoes, bef (read more)

20 Under 40: Conor O'Brien

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“What could be worse than getting to the end of your life and realizing you hadn’t lived it,” mused Conor O’Brien.” As co-founder and executive director of the Scranton Fringe Festival, O’Brien, 25, is responsible for leading the development of the overal (read more)

20 Under 40: Jessica Siegfried

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Jessica Siegfried, 38, is senior designer with BlackOut Design Inc., where she is responsible for all creative design at the full-service agency, from traditional branding and print to collateral and front end web design. “I’ve always had an interest in t (read more)

20 Under 40: David Johns

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David Johns’ career path has been shaped by his diverse experiences. As director of structural engineering at Greenman-Pedersen Inc., Moosic, Johns, 39, ensures that his engineering and consultant teams provide clients with their best effort. “We complete (read more)

20 Under 40: Robyn Jones

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Robyn Jones, 38, president of ReferLocal LLC, has learned just as many lessons from her business successes as she’s had from her failures — and she believes it’s important to share that knowledge with her employees. After graduating from American Universi (read more)

20 Under 40: Nisha Arora

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Nisha Arora, 36, tries to be the best version of herself every day. As general counsel for ERA One Source Realty Inc., she realized she cannot control other’s behavior so “I try to focus on myself and how I can be better,” she explained. Arora’s responsib (read more)

20 Under 40: Justin Sandy

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Starting at a young age in Hazleton, Justin C. Sandy, 33, found a passion for running. He became a member then a coach for Misericordia University’s cross country and track and field programs. “It was at Misericordia that I also garnered the profound sati (read more)

20 Under 40: Dr. Ariane Conaboy

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As a doctor of internal medicine at Physicians Health Alliance, Dr. Ariane M. Conaboy, 34, realizes the importance of human life and how fragile it can be at times. Conaboy graduated from Scranton Prep and the University of Scranton with a double major in (read more)

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Value of inherited Caddy is dubious

Q: I am now the owner of a 1978 Cadillac Seville Grand Opera Coupe. This was my grandmother’s car and one of a few hundred made of this model. It is not running, but I believe that is due to it sitting. It is all original and has very few miles. What is t (read more)

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By Dave Gardner

Employer-provided training has evolved into a window that seems to display the needs of American society at large.

Above all, in-house training surely is big business. According to the Association for Talent Development, workplace instruction is now costing employers more than $165 billion annually.

A consensus exists that a conservative approach to company balance sheets prevalent since the Great Recession remains the strongest inhibitor for training investment. The select companies who do invest in their workforce often have one key leader within the system who sees the value of training.

Nicole Darling, an educational consultant and career coach based in Dallas, explained that despite the conservative nature of most regional employers, shifts toward a training-friendly culture are occurring. Demand remains strong for on-site courses dealing with customer service, and employers are asking for instruction that will kindle supervisory and leadership skills in newly promoted staff members.

The demand for supervisory training also is being fueled by new employer awareness that a company’s top performer for tasks is not necessarily the best choice for a leadership position.

“Skill sets for a leader are quite different from that of a top solo performer,” said Darling. “The majority of employers have not yet figured this out, but more are learning every day.”

According to Darling, total employer investment in crucial soft-skill training has actually declined since 2008. This has occurred despite employer complaints about the need for employee soft skills, accompanied by a persistent belief that job applicants should walk through door at HR with these soft skills in place.

“The soft-skill problem then surfaces when the employee is hired and does not produce, creating a lot of trouble for the employer,” Darling said.

Millennial conflicts

A relatively new and popular facet of employee training involves generational adjustment. Employee behavior and belief systems are not always pure across generational lines, but generational members apart from the millennials often must be trained to address the needs of millennials if the organization is to attract the needed workforce talent, and then have these employees co-exist.

Work expectations also vary by generation, and Darling is firm in her assessment that the millennials are a product of their time. Most millennials want to play at work, have diverse duties, feel that they are contributing to the mission of the organization and demand work-life balance.

This is different from the generations before who often ignore balance and work solely to fully complete tasks. Mentoring is also vital to millennials, who often have no concepts within them of traditional values and work habits while also exhibiting verbal communications problems, particularly with face-to-face encounters.

Darling tells her business clients that, to a large degree, maturity and life experience will help to alleviate many of the problems the millennials deal with as professional pain creates growth. Yet, employers must also play a role and be consistent with training investment, which can’t be a one-time affair.

Purely emotional outreaches also don’t work as a conflict solution.

“Every employer must now project a learning culture and deliver a consistent training program, despite their individual workforce needs,” said Darling.

Skill infusion

Michael Novak, chief administrative officer with Johnson College, reported that many employers are now providing training money because they need an infusion of new employee skills. Retirements of many skilled people are underway as the baby boomers depart from the workforce, and an employer can suddenly find itself in deep internal trouble if it has not properly managed workforce talent succession.

“The fundamentals of training are also changing,” Novak said. “The instructors are finding that long lectures won’t work, and 20 to 25 minutes is the maximum you can hold a student’s attention. It’s interesting to me that this is the same within the public schools.”

Jane Ashton, director of continuing education office with Penn State University in Wilkes-Barre, has found that NEPA employers may still fear that employees will leave for a competitor once trained. Yet, large segments of business and industry do understand modern workforce needs, creating high demand for leadership and supervisory development with rookie managers.

Ashton’s office focuses on customized employer training in-house known as contract education. The university carefully hires quality instructors from the staff and community who undergo an intense approval process.

“We just love real-world experience in our trainers,” said Ashton.

She noted that training dollars flowing through Harrisburg still exist but are declining as government, which had been investing in targeted growth clusters such as health care and logistics, cuts back. Despite these cutbacks, federal EAP training funding is now being channeled to Penn State through the Earth Conservatory totaling $200,000 over three years.

The future of employer training, according to Ashton, is an unknown. Automation growth within business is a game-breaker, making employee adaptability to change essential. Technology, environments, and the need for new knowledge can all be expected to evolve at breathtaking speed as scientific breakthroughs are commercialized.

“What we will be teaching the kids who come after the millennials is a great question,” said Ashton. “We can be sure this will change as much as the basic delivery systems for education itself evolves.”

Relevance and vigor

Employee training has offered many transformative moments for Chris Whitney, director of the center for career development at University of Scranton, as barriers fall between schools, the community and business. She, therefore, is certain the effects of education flow in multiple directions, particularly if training is directly tied to specific career needs.

Her school, as part of its mission and outreach, offers faculty visits to workplaces, students working out in the field, and the award of selective advanced placement credits. This proven formula has the power to offer employers a well-trained candidate immediately upon hire, thereby making subsequent training a system for increased employee excellence.

“Training must include relevance and rigor if it is to be effective,” said Whitney.

Susan Shaffer, a workforce consultant based in Covington Township, added that the regional workforce is displaying literacy issues that appear across all racial and ethnic lines. In addition, problems exist with the ability to focus so that students can gain needed skills, with critical thinking and interpersonal abilities topping the list.

Employers are also reporting to Shaffer that the manpower excess created by the Great Recession is ending as shortages of quality and trainable job applicants appear. The quality of training available for even the best applicant may also be questionable.

“As a rule, corporate trainers know their subject matter, but many are not effective with their delivery,” said Shaffer. “The business therefore has no choice but to spend and bring in outside trainers.”

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