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Want to advance? Take control of your training

Let's face it, no matter what profession you are in, technology is changing how we do our jobs and what skills we need. But our employer no longer feels like they have to give us ongoing training. Why should they when most of us change jobs on average of every four years.

But employers can be convinced to foot the bill and give time off -- if approached properly.

Teresa Guzman was out in the field, working as a Community Outreach Coordinator for Miami Bridge Youth Services, when realized she needed more schooling. To give the young people what they needed, counseloing, requires her to have a master’s degree in social work. Guzman asked her supervisor  for flexibility to take Tuesday and Thursday classes, and work the weekends. The ultimate benefit to the organization would be having licensed clinical social worker on staff -- even on weekends. Her boss saw the benefit. Guzman says it's going to be a tough year, balancing work and school, but it will pay off for her down the road when she is able to advance in her career.

The bottom line is we all have to take charge of our own professional development. I listed some helpful places to get training in today's column.



The Miami Herald

Posted on Wed, Mar. 02, 2011

Workers take control of training

Cindy Krischer Goodman

Three years after companies cut training to the bone, they are beginning to invest in workers again. But if there’s one thing employees have learned from the recession it is not to rely on the bosses to keep our skills sharp.

“It’s our responsibility now,” says Thomas H. Shea, CEO of Right Management Florida/Caribbean Region. “Learning needs to be continuous if we want to advance and stay marketable.”

Ask an employee what they expect of their employers and “opportunities for career advancement” are high on the list. However, we now know if we want to seize those opportunities — and take ownership of our own professional development — we need to figure out what training we need, where to go to get it, and, if appropriate, how to ask our employer to provide it to us.

Of course, squeezing skill building into your work life balance takes creativity, negotiation and self sacrifice.

Fortunately, there are many more ways to grow and advance one’s career outside the confines of work.


Some believe earning the right online degree could accelerate your corporate climb. Colleges reported the highest-ever annual increase in online enrollment in 2010: more than 21 percent.

Career experts suggest you read listings at sites like Monster and Yahoo! HotJobs to see what degrees your target position traditionally requires.

If your goal is to learn management principles, consider a master’s in business administration. If you’re working full time, start slowly with one online class that can be taken over 15 to 16 weeks. For an online education directory by state, click here.

There also are lots of free online college courses. Imagine a great lecture to help build your skills but with no tests, papers or deadlines. UC Berkeley Webcasts, offers a mix of video and audio lectures as do others.

Recognizing the flexibility of online training, some employers are going that route, too. Coastal Construction, a Miami general contractor, created its Training Institute five years ago as an initiative to hire, train and retain the best employees in the industry. It recently expanded the Institute to provide online courses for its employees. Read the full article to learn other great ways to get training.