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Need Skilled Workers?
Tap the Global Training Gold Mine

What’s your key to productive, profitable manufacturing, office or distribution facilities?

Chances are, it’s skilled workers. Without top-notch, skilled employees out on the factory floor or in front of a computer, the best-run business topples like a house of cards.

That’s made evaluating pre-employment worker training a crucial consideration in choosing new facility locations. Quality programs offer fully customized training that turns out workers with the precise skills companies need -- often at little or no cost to the firm.

“Going into the next century, I think work-force training will become more important to companies than it’s ever been,” says Scott Ralls, Raleigh, N.C.-based director of economic development for the North Carolina Community College System. Indeed, training quality “can make or break a project,” steering facilities to areas with better programs, says Martin Neary, consultant with Atlanta-based The Walker Cos.

Classroom instruction

Training programs are widely available across the United States, Canada and Europe, though procedures and quality vary dramatically.

“In some form or another, training is available in all U.S. states,” Chicago-based Deloitte & Touche Senior Manager Phil Schneider says. “But some states are very good at it, while others have programs but really only contribute a small amount of resources to them.”

As in the USA, Canada offers a smorgasbord of training resources, though training is done differently.

“In the United States, you have work-force training built into the legislative system, but we don’t have that in Canada,” says Kris Gataveckas, business development vice president for Toronto-based Humber College. “But learning service providers specializing in customized worker training are available.”

There’s less demand for pre-employment work-force training in Europe, consultants say, because of less necessity. But when it’s needed, especially to retrain adults, it’s there -- and it’s heavily subsidized.

According to Richard Greene, Utrecht, Netherlands-based managing consultant with Moret Ernst & Young international location advisory services, training is also available across Asia and even in such nontraditional locales as Kenya and Namibia. “But there aren’t a lot of financial incentives for training in Asia because the economies there are pretty strong,” he says.

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