We're Education, You're Semi-Conductors

David Gruber
January 1, 2000

We’re education…
you’re semiconductors
Improving worker
skills through
David Gruber
A P U B L I C A T I O N O F P U B L I C / P R I V A T E V E N T U R E S

We’re education…
you’re semiconductors
Improving worker
skills through
David Gruber
2 Working Ventures
The author would like to thank a number
of people who contributed generously
of their time and patience to
help make this report possible. Holly
Moore, Brian Bosworth, Carol Clymer
and Brandon Roberts generously
shared their insights and national
experience in pointing the way to
effective collaborations. Don Schultz,
Cindy Geise, Regina Stanback-
Stroud, Ingrid Thompson and Wilfred
Saunders contributed valuable perspective
on their individual partnerships
and on the role of community
colleges in general, in offering education
and training services.
Gary Sivertson, Dave Yulans, C.
Johnson, Cindy Campbell and
Lawrence Gladstone took time from
their corporate and professional
responsibilities to describe how they
and their colleagues approached
development and operation of partnerships
from a corporate perspective.
Julian Alssid contributed his expertise,
research and reporting skills,
broadening the scope and comprehensiveness
of the work presented
here. Yet again, Natalie Jaffe’s sharply
honed editing skills helped to clarify
and refine the text. Sheila Maguire
and Mark Elliott played a critical role
in shaping the report throughout;
sharing their wide-ranging experience,
questioning assumptions, and
offering sure-handed guidance and
I would also like to thank The Ford
Foundation and Charles Stewart Mott
Foundation for their support of
Working Ventures and this report.
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 3
As Alan Greenspan recently testified,
sustaining today’s growing
economy will require finding some
way to ensure that everyone—both current
and potential workers—gets the training they
need to keep pace with rapidly changing technology.
While much national attention has
focused on ways to include those outside the
workforce in the economic boom, many of the
same issues apply to those on the inside. To
remain competitive in today’s economy, companies
need to adopt new technologies and
train current workers to use them.
4 Working Ventures
This, in turn, means that companies will
need to devote greater resources to training.
Some of this training will be provided
by the company itself. Yet, in many cases—
where training is large-scale, complex,
technologically advanced or can simply be
completed more cheaply elsewhere—companies
will need to create an effective partnership
with an outside provider—a private
training organization, nonprofit or
public institution.
It is likely that many of these new training
partnerships will be formed with community
colleges. Once largely offering preparation
for four-year colleges, community colleges
have increasingly become training
institutions in their own right—in fact, the
largest local delivery system for training in
the United States. Formerly academic campuses
have seen vocational enrollments
double in the last few years and contract
training become a major revenue source.
New community colleges have been created
with the primary aim of serving industry.
For some states, community and technical
colleges, with their capacity for large-scale
advanced training, have become economic
development tools to lure major employers.
Community colleges have also become a
major resource for employers seeking to
upgrade the skills of current workers. From
small manufacturers like Sequins
International in Queens, New York, to industry
leaders like Boeing, Intel and Daimler-
Chrysler, community colleges are seen by a
number of employers as the provider of
choice for training, ranging from teaching a
single computer program to consolidating
all the work tasks in a large factory.
Of course, for all their success as training
institutions, community colleges vary widely
in their ability and interest in performing
the role of corporate trainer. Many community
colleges continue to view themselves
primarily as academic institutions—“junior
colleges” to prepare students for transfer to
four-year institutions. These colleges may
disdain the training role or perform it in
only a very limited way. Other institutions
have accepted or embraced a training role,
but have yet to develop the capacity necessary
to meet large, diverse or advanced
training needs.
Yet, some community colleges have
emerged as “stars”—institutions with the
capacity, resources, flexibility and interest to
develop effective training partnerships with
business. As corporate spending for training
grows, we believe employers will need to
seek out these leading-edge institutions to
meet their own expanding training needs.
This paper is intended as a guide—for
employers, training providers and others—
to developing effective partnerships with
leading-edge community colleges. It recognizes
that corporations are large and growing
training consumers, with the potential,
at least, to shape the way community colleges
respond to their needs. It also recognizes
that planning, developing and operating
a training program involving two partners
is a difficult proposition, and that
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 5
seemingly simple training questions—who
provides it, where it is delivered, how it is
delivered, how much it costs—do not seem
to have correspondingly simple answers.
While there is, of course, no one model for
building a successful partnership, this
paper highlights some of the best practices
in developing, planning and operating
community college training partnerships by
reviewing the strategies employed by four
effective training initiatives:
Community College
With the aim of improving the competitiveness
of a relatively small manufacturer, this
partnership assists a Queens, New York
sequins manufacturer to implement a quality
management program. Designed to
teach more efficient production techniques
to all 250 employees, the ongoing Quality
Manufacturing program began in 1996.
LaGuardia management training provides
strategic assistance to Sequins workers in
areas including production planning and
control, strategic decision-making, using a
computer database, benchmarking, costing,
process control, team development, activitybased
accounting and ergonomic training.
Training has been delivered to workers over
the course of three years. In addition to the
technical assistance provided to Sequins
workers, LaGuardia has also enrolled participants
in its extensive English as a Second
Language (ESL) program.
Community College
A large-scale partnership, this training program
for auto workers reflects continuing
modernization in the auto industry.
Working with both company and union representatives,
Macomb is providing extensive
retraining to the workers at Chrysler’s
Jefferson North Macomb County, Michigan
Assembly plant, consolidating 23 traditional
skills/trades classifications into eight.
Training, begun in 1990, initially focused
on 350 workers, and has continued to serve
new employees.
The Chrysler-Macomb partnership provides
a broad range of skills training at both
basic and advanced levels in professional
areas including electrician, toolmaker, pipefitter,
millwright, machine repair, mechanic-
gas and electric jitney, carpenter/painter
and energy center operator. Each of the
professional areas encompasses seven classes
per trade. To fully ready workers for
meeting new employment classifications,
basic and advanced training includes 69
individual courses ranging from math and
computer drafting to advanced hydraulics,
computerized numerical control and mainframe
computer network applications.
Intel/Mission College
This partnership provides postsecondary
training to Intel employees through an onsite
college campus in Santa Clara, California.
Recognizing that many employees hired
during the company’s early days now lack
the skills needed for a more competitive
6 Working Ventures
environment, the Adxpress program, which
serves approximately 100 to 150 students at
any given time, is intended to lead to an
AA degree and other certification now
required for many Intel jobs. Designed to
provide all the skills needed for a degree,
the program begins with pre-enrollment
assessment in English and math and
includes English fundamentals and effective
writing, arithmetic functions, elementary
algebra, chemistry, macroeconomics,
technical writing, physics, and even courses
such as music.
The Intel program is also intended to ready
participants to move into training in the
semi-conductor manufacturing program.
More advanced courses offered to Intel
workers include digital principles, introduction
to semiconductor manufacturing,
electromechanical systems, robotics and
statistical process control.
Boeing/Shoreline Community
This partnership to train Boeing workers in
the use of a specific manufacturing software
program operates in Seattle, Washington.
Emblematic of continuing advances in
manufacturing and expanding use of computerized
production techniques, Shoreline’s
Smart CAM training enrolls 250 workers in
on-site training. The Smart CAM courses,
less extensive than the others profiled,
include training and competency testing in
all aspects of using the program software
and understanding how it relates to the
manufacturing process.
Drawing on the experience of these four
partnerships, this paper focuses on the key
issues and questions likely to be raised by
employers in considering community colleges
as training providers. These include:| Economic rationale: Why choose community
colleges over other training
providers?| Choosing the appropriate community
college.| Structuring the partnership.| Developing and delivering curriculum.| Budget.| Assessment.
This paper concludes with lessons learned
from the four programs and recommendations
based on their experiences.
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 7
Economic rationale :
Why invest in workers?
The choice of a community college as a
training provider has its roots in a company’s
larger decision to pursue additional
training and education for its current workforce.
When asked why they made this decision
to invest, staff from each of the companies
interviewed spoke of the economy and
its recent dramatic changes.
Underlying the establishment of each of
the partnerships we looked at is some combination
of higher levels of competition,
rapidly advancing technology and a tighter
labor market—conditions that translate
into a need for more training at reasonable
cost. This goal, in one form or another, is
at the center of each company’s training
program and in its choice of a community
college as a training provider.
Intel, a rapidly growing industry leader, has
seen the pace of technological change
advance faster than the skills of its original
workforce. As one company representative
noted, in those early days, the company
would “hire anyone” regardless of degree or
educational level. A number of these early
hires, now in jobs that have a threshold
standard of an AA degree (or higher), may
lack both the academic credentials and
needed English, math, communications,
SCANS and management skills to function
effectively in a changed environment. To
maintain its competitiveness, the company
sees the need to provide both basic and
applied education for these workers, and to
encourage the active pursuit of an AA
degree for anyone who does not have one
in designated job levels.
For Chrysler, technological change required
an ambitious makeover of an entire factory
model—from “low-tech to high-tech,” as one
involved staffer put it. One outcome of the
Modern Operating Agreement (MOA)
between the UAW and Chrysler, was that
Chrysler’s new Jefferson plant consolidated
23 traditional, highly defined classified job
titles into eight—creating an immediate
need to retrain a senior workforce with an
average age of 54. In addition to transforming
the jobs of every worker, the change
required many to learn new skills such as
computers and PLC robotics.
8 Working Ventures
For Boeing, another industry giant, training
needs have also been driven by advancing
technology, and the concomitant need to
train workers to operate new computerized
machining equipment at a reasonable cost.
As with most manufacturers, Boeing faces a
continuing challenge to find cost-effective
means to keep its workforce current with new
equipment and manufacturing techniques.
The pressures of meeting the dual requirements
of high quality and low cost are, if
anything, more intense at small manufacturers
such as Sequins, which confronts a
highly competitive environment without
the resources of a large or even mid-size
corporate base. Sequins is competing with
Chinese and Indian firms that have much
lower labor costs. The firm needs to lower
costs and raise product quality to meet customer
expectations and remain viable.
Why choose a community
For each of these employers, the economic
factors described here led to a choice of a
community college over other options
ranging from training companies to proprietary
schools to in-house training. How did
they come to a decision? For some of the
employers profiled here, there was no real
choice: training requirements were of a
scope or complexity that no other provider
could meet or meet easily.
For these employers, with large-scale and
intensive training requirements, community
colleges have the potential to offer, in one
place, a broad range of existing or easily
adapted courses; access to a pool of faculty
expertise; academic credit for training; and a
continuing educational resource for a company
and its employees—all attributes not
readily duplicated by other providers. As the
experience of these companies makes clear,
some community colleges are well-positioned
to meet ambitious training needs: particularly
those that require comprehensive, long-term
or complex training services.
For more narrow or limited training, however,
there is greater competition—from inhouse
providers, training firms and manufacturers.
For two companies profiled here,
however, community colleges are competitive
on services that other providers also offer.
These companies cite high flexibility and low
cost as reasons to use a community college
rather than a competitor organization.
In general, five key reasons for choosing
community colleges emerged from discussions
with these companies:
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 9
1 Continuing Connection
As a stable and accessible presence
in the community, community colleges can
provide continuing educational and training
benefits to workers.
Several employers cited this continuing
access to training, beyond the specific project
studied, as an important consideration
in developing a partnership with community
colleges. At a time when employers
increasingly see the need for continual
upgrade training to keep pace with technology,
creating personal connections for
employees with community colleges is naturally
viewed as an important outgrowth of a
training relationship. For Intel, of course,
creating this connection is at the center of
the training mission. Other employers also
see fostering ongoing individual connections
to colleges as a key long-term benefit
of a more limited training program. Of
course, part of this benefit derives from the
fact that community colleges, unlike private
providers, will always be there, “stable and
dependable,” as one Boeing staffer noted,
and thus accessible to employees who want
to continue their training.
The sense of community colleges as an
essential—and cost-effective—resource for
employees beyond the immediate training
program is shared by most of the employers.
At Sequins, the CEO views LaGuardia
Community College as a rich and underutilized
community educational opportunity
that could help his largely low-skilled, non-
English speaking workers in a broad array
of areas from language skills to personal
development to improved technical skills.
2 Scope and Capacity
Few other providers can match the
breadth of training offered at some community
colleges. With an established presence
in the community, a ready pool of
instructional staff, dedicated funding and
the ability to offer scores of courses, community
colleges provide a level of capacity
for large-scale or long-term training that is
difficult for other providers to duplicate.
Chrysler, for example, with a mandate to
provide extensive retraining for 350 workers
over a period of several years (and continuing
training for new workers), “never
considered” other vendors. Charged with
providing over 50 classes in eight separate
consolidated work areas, Chrysler’s training
partner, Macomb Community College, has
been able to draw on related curriculum,
assemble needed instructors and provide
required class and lab space. Faced with
demands of this magnitude, community
colleges are, as one Chrysler staffer noted,
“the natural” training provider. Few organizations
can compete on this scale.
While the other employers studied did not
reach the same scope in their training, they
too have drawn on the resources of community
colleges to create large-scale longterm
training. Intel’s on-site college campus,
for example, required Mission
Community College to provide instruction
and curriculum in seven subject areas at
Intel, while also offering access to a much
broader range of advanced and applied
training at its nearby campus.
10 Working Ventures
3 Academic Credit
Postsecondary institutions in general,
and community colleges in particular,
have a significant advantage over most
other vendors in that they can offer a full
range of academic services—a degree
and/or a wide spectrum of academically
certified programs and individual classes
earning academic credit. Perhaps the most
obvious reason to choose a community college
is the kind of academic accreditation
that most vendors or in-house providers
cannot offer. For Intel, for example, an
Associates degree has become a required
credential for many job titles. Intel’s goal in
contracting with a community college is
essentially to establish a college on-site as a
way to provide basic skills training and credentials
to its employees. Boeing, too, sees
the potential provision of credit for training
as an additional reason to seek a community
college as its primary training provider
(although Boeing students did not in fact
receive credit for the training provided).
4 Complementary Services
Community colleges provide a
range of services beyond the usual focus of
a training project, including counseling,
evaluation and testing. For several employers,
these ancillary services were an additional
benefit of their college partnership,
with counseling in particular seen as a
means to help students adjust to training
and benefit from the educational opportunities
5 Cost
For some kinds of training, community
colleges can provide low-cost services.
For two of the companies profiled,
cost has been the determining factor in
choosing the community college over competing
providers, where community college
advantages of scale and capacity are not a
major factor. For Boeing, for example,
Shoreline Community College has been
able to significantly undercut industry
providers in offering its training on adapting
a specific piece of equipment. This
advantage in cost over private providers is,
for Boeing, enhanced by the dependability
and stability of the community college.
Similarly, LaGuardia has provided its quality
management training at a large discount,
compared with the private management
consulting firm used previously. Interestingly,
lower costs in both these cases do not result
directly from any public sector subsidies
(beyond those that provide the foundation for
public education) but are based on the prevailing
fee structure at the community college.
Unlike the other factors, cost is not an
inherent advantage of community college
training, and may, in fact, be seen as an
issue when colleges are chosen for other
reasons. For Intel and Chrysler, for which
the community colleges are the logical, if
not the only provider, cost has been less of
a factor in selecting a training provider. For
Intel, in fact, community colleges are seen
as less competitive and less flexible in the
cost arena than are other providers. Intel
typically requires its contractors to reduce
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 11
costs from year to year. Due to state-fixed
charges for college credit, this has not been
possible in the on-site college project—
much to Intel’s chagrin. The unique nature
of Mission’s services, however, precludes
any other provider.
Choosing a community
college provider
Once companies recognize that their training
needs are best fulfilled by community
colleges, how do they choose a specific college
as the training provider?
The companies studied pursued a variety of
means to link their training needs to a
community college provider. Two of the
companies chose an RFP: a formal request
for proposals that looked at factors like
logistics, pricing, facilities and services. The
others selected providers based on more
informal contacts or a prior relationship. In
all cases however, selection (and the ongoing
relationship) depended on a sometimes
extensive series of meetings at which the
structure and fabric of the partnership
were negotiated. For the larger partnerships,
an established planning group
worked over a period of months to fully
define the training program.
While there is no single model, the experience
of these employers suggests a basic list
of objectives to be considered in selecting a
particular community college:| Faculty and academic capacity;| Flexibility in delivering training;| Ability to deliver other needed services
and supports;| Prior experience in the training area;| Prior contacts; and| Cost.
Beyond the basics, specific process and
selection requirements will naturally vary
across partnerships.
Employers with extensive training needs
will develop an elaborate bid process.
Chrysler, recognizing from the outset that
it needed the scale of a community college
to fulfill its complex and broad-ranging
training requirements, put together an
extended RFP/bid process that served as
the basis for discussion with three community
colleges. The Chrysler process began
with laying out the basics of the training
need—by far the largest and most comprehensive
of the partnerships studied. To
retrain all the workers at its Jefferson plant,
Chrysler required over 50 separate classes
across eight different professional fields
scheduled over a three-year period.
Moreover, classes needed to be offered
within a relatively tight time schedule—
7:00a.m. to 3:00p.m.—requiring the college
to have significant resources in terms of
both available faculty and space.
12 Working Ventures
To familiarize the colleges with the company’s
training needs, Chrysler union and
management representatives conducted
several meetings with each college. The
ultimate choice of Macomb was based on
logistics, pricing and facilities. Because of
its pool of faculty and experience in offering
similar courses, Macomb had the
broadest spectrum of training available—it
“could do all of it,” and at a reasonable
price. For Chrysler, however, selection of a
provider was only the first step in a process
that was still in a very formative stage. As
one college staff person noted, even after
initial selection, Chrysler’s objectives were
still vague. For its part, Macomb, while it
had experience in the required fields, did
not actually offer many of the needed
courses. The ultimate shape of the training
program was forged over a six-month planning
period featuring frequent meetings
between Chrysler union and management
representatives and Macomb staff.
The same pattern of a formal RFP followed
by extensive negotiation characterized the
other large-scale partnership, Intel and
Mission College. Intel’s RFP focused on
cost, capacity, flexibility and services. Intel
specifically looked for:| Capacity to provide a pool of faculty that
could deliver literacy, math, science and
communication courses;| Flexibility as to the time and place classes
could be delivered;| Services including counseling and
assessment;| Prior partnership history with Intel;| Ability and willingness of the community
college to assume complete responsibility
for administration, including enrollment,
continuing operation and counseling;
and| Credit for classes offered.
The choice of Mission among the three
community colleges that responded was
based on these factors, its experience in
offering the “corporate college” model to
other employers and on a prior training
relationship. Unlike Chrysler, Mission
offered many, if not all the courses
required by Intel. However, because the
program was to be offered on the Intel
campus and designed to meet the company’s
specific needs, creating the partnership
was not simply a matter of adding new
sections of existing courses. As with
Chrysler, an advisory council comprised of
Intel and Mission staff continue to shape
the program model.
Boeing’s requirements, for a much smaller
program, reflected, if in miniature, the
basic elements of other training frameworks.
Before finalizing its decision to work
with Shoreline, Boeing asked for:| Faculty who could assess needs and
develop and deliver the curriculum;| Delivery adapted to Boeing time and
place needs;| Connection to other Shoreline
courses; and
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 13| Credit for classes offered (ultimately not
granted for cost reasons—see below).
For Sequins, the partnership resulted from
a seminar sponsored by LaGuardia College
on quality management implementation in
small companies. Sequins management,
interested in introducing the training to
the company, agreed to contract with
LaGuardia as a training provider. At
Boeing, the process was similarly informal,
with Shoreline’s selection based primarily
on capacity and prior relationship.
One issue in choosing community colleges
is geography and designated “turf.” In some
cases, the most appropriate community college
to meet the training need is not the
closest to the employer. Because many community
colleges operate within designated
districts, crossing lines to seek another community
college provider becomes something
of a political concern. This is hardly
an insurmountable problem; companies are
generally free to work with any community
college they choose, and two of the partnerships
profiled here were able to overcome
the geography issue. Nevertheless, this
could be a concern in some community college
partnership decisions.
14 Working Ventures
Structuring the relationship:
roles and responsibilities
“We’re education…you’re semiconductors.”
Selection of a provider, of course, is just
the first step in developing a training program.
As discussed earlier, much of the
critical early work in developing an effective
program lies in defining how the
employer and community college will allocate
planning and implementing a complex
training program. Which partner is
responsible for program design? How do
partners divide responsibility for program
operation? How are issues that arise during
the partnership resolved?
In some of the partnerships, this division of
responsibilities is complex, due largely to the
scope of the effort. For Chrysler’s initial
wholesale factory retraining project, the partners
had to plan and develop curricula covering
two levels of training, create 402 class
sections, establish guidelines, orient employees,
find faculty, find space, monitor outcomes
and deal with inevitable conflicts. The
Boeing partnership is much smaller, but still
has required Boeing and Shoreline to develop
and operate a training program for 250
employees working on three different shifts.
Regardless of size, however, while each partnership
has handled these concerns somewhat
differently, all have pursued a similar
organizational framework. This strategy
combines a clearly defined division of
responsibilities between college and employer,
with a joint advisory group to govern the
partnership and resolve difficult issues.
The basic operating principle for all the
partnerships studied is probably best
expressed by a Mission College administrator
describing how Mission and Intel have
divided their respective responsibilities:
“We’re education…you’re semiconductors.”
While somewhat simplistic, this formula
reflects the fundamental line of demarcation
underlying the partnerships. On one
side of the line is the college faculty and
staff charged with developing, designing
and operating the educational program.
On the other is the employer, often in consultation
with union representatives,
responsible for internal management and
review of plans and progress. Typically, this
seemingly sharp divide is bridged by some
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 15
form of joint advisory committee that
reviews plans, formulates policy and
resolves issues.
In at least three of the partnerships studied,
it is this committee that has given shape to
the partnership through modifying the
plans and procedures initially proposed by
the community college, and infusing the
training model with the culture and practice
of the workplace. Committees have
included key employer and union representatives
who devote considerable time to program
planning and continue to meet regularly
throughout the period of operation. In
the early stages particularly, this planning or
advisory group has been the mechanism for
program design and development.
Four key steps
To structure and organize the training initiatives,
most partnerships have followed a
four-step process:
Step 1:
Employer lays out general training objectives,
scope, outcomes and budget.
Step 2:
Community college responds with a
model defining proposed classes, faculty
and logistics.
Step 3:
Advisory committee negotiates and agrees
on the training model.
Step 4:
Advisory committee provides implementation,
continued oversight and recommends
any necessary modifications through an
advisory committee.
Across the partnerships, this pattern has
led to a similar division of roles and responsibilities:
Employer role| Develop training plan. Employers need
to develop an internal consensus on the
objective, scope and direction of training.
In some projects, this may require
involving management, supervisors and
union representatives in a series of meetings
to develop agreements. In at least
one of the projects studied, management
has noted that insufficient attention
was paid to this step prior to the
start of training.| Set formal training objectives. Not surprisingly,
these partnerships had their
genesis in training needs evident to each
employer. In approaching community
colleges, the first, and perhaps most
important, employer responsibility is to
define, at least in broad terms, the training
required, and to set training objectives.
In the partnerships studied, this
training outline included the kinds of
training needed; the number to be
trained, the location of training, the
duration, outcomes and the ancillary
services required.
16 Working Ventures
One variant of this model, seen in the
Sequins example, occurs when the college
offers a specific kind of training—
such as quality management training—
and the employer responds, seeing a
chance to meet a clear need. As with the
other partnerships, however, the training
program as delivered is modified as a
result of a close collaboration between
the college and employer.| Set budget. Employers take final responsibility
for budgeting, of course, but
approach this role differently. In two of
the partnerships studied, employers
began with a set budget figure, which
provided a foundation for program
design. In the two other partnerships,
the community college first proposed a
budget, which was accepted by the
employer. In most cases, as above, budgeting
is a continuing process.| Review training model. One of the most
important employer roles is to provide
continuing guidance to the community
college as the training design is developed.
Across the partnerships, employer
roles have included participation in
areas like needs assessment, course selection,
approval of proposed faculty, testing
needs, and logistics and scheduling.| Recruit participants. Employers are
responsible for setting up a recruitment
mechanism, including developing standards
and policies for program participation,
selection and program outreach.
This effort includes establishing formal
guidelines as well as developing written
materials outlining program operations.
Operational decisions may also involve a
cross-section of the company. Supervisors
and others may need to be involved in
recommending recruits, in approving
company training practices and
monitoring outcomes. In some of the
partnerships studied, costs of participation
are billed to supervisory budgets
rather than to a central training account,
leading to continuing supervisor involvement
in training efforts.| Review operations. Employers play a
continuing role in reviewing training
implementation, monitoring outcomes
and modifying program design. In both
the Chrysler and Intel partnerships,
employer advisory committees have
reviewed individual class experiences,
resolving such issues as employee complaints
and problems with faculty.
Achieving these objectives requires a significant
time commitment. Chrysler management
and union representatives, for example,
reported that they worked nearly full
time for a year to develop the training program
and have been on site nearly every
day. In all the partnerships, staff from both
employer and college agree that an extensive
time commitment, particularly during
the planning period, is necessary to make
the program work.
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 17
Community college role| Develop training model. Based on the
objectives laid out by the partner
employer, community colleges have
taken responsibility for developing or
modifying curriculum and presenting a
detailed class plan to employers. This
can be a lengthy process and often
requires a good deal of interaction
between the college and the employer’s
advisory committee.| Select faculty pool. Based on articulated
needs of the employer, community colleges
select qualified faculty who can
also deliver courses at the time and place
chosen. In large partnerships, such as
the Chrysler-Macomb program, which
have required that colleges develop a
number of new courses taught during a
limited time window, this has proved to
be a significant challenge. Matching faculty
to employer culture and needs also
has proved to be an important, and at
times difficult, part of this responsibility.| Define logistics. Based on the framework
agreed to by the partners, community
colleges are responsible for establishing
and supporting a schedule of classes that
fit the needs of potential trainees. This,
too, can be a difficult task, particularly
when training is conducted at the community
college. In a partnership such as
that between Macomb and Chrysler, for
example, training segments for hundreds
of workers have had to be scheduled for
a seven-week period, with training delivered
in the space of a designated sevenand-
one-half-hour period each day.| Provide ancillary services. Some partnerships,
like that between Intel and
Mission, call for services beyond classroom
training, like counseling, testing
and evaluation, and links to other college
courses and services. This kind of
employer need requires colleges to
address issues of staffing, space and
access beyond the core training model.| Modify budget. Budgeting can be a continuing
issue, particularly in long-term
partnerships. Often, as in two of the
partnerships studied, the initial budget
proposed by employers serves as a guideline,
which is modified during the planning
process based on factors such as
fixed costs for courses, space and location
needs, faculty availability, added
materials and costs. Budgets are also
renegotiated as training is extended.| Manage operations. In general, colleges
are responsible for day-to-day program
administration to assure that classes and
other services run smoothly. Larger partnerships
tend to appoint a coordinator,
full- or part-time, who can serve as a single
point of contact with participants,
employer and college administration. In
some of the partnerships studied, the
coordinator is also responsible for monitoring
attendance and performance and
producing regular outcome information.
With partnerships such as Intel, though
the coordinator is a college employee,
the position is based on site at the
employer and reports to a joint advisory
council comprised of both employer and
college staff.
18 Working Ventures
This interactive partnership model requires
an even greater commitment of time on
the part of the community college. College
staff in one of the larger partnerships
report that they spent nearly 100 percent of
their time on the planning portion of the
program and 30 to 40 percent during
implementation. Larger partnerships may
also require separate day-to-day management.
Two of the colleges, Mission and
Macomb, have hired coordinators to
administer the program. At Mission, the
coordinator serves as a full-time contact,
manages scheduling, serves as a liaison
between participants, college and employer,
and collects data on program outcomes.
The Mission coordinator is a full-time position,
while at Macomb a half-time coordinator
is assigned to program operations.
Curriculum and delivery
Developing and delivering curriculum is at
the heart of any training partnership, and
presents two critical challenges to training
providers. First, how can a partnership
translate the sometimes vague objectives
contained in an RFP to a concrete course
or series of classes? Second, once developed,
what is the best way to deliver the
curriculum so employees learn?
These larger tasks in return raise a number
of practical concerns: To what degree
should training be customized? What is the
respective role of college and employer?
Should training be delivered on-site or at
the college? Should it be classroom or individualized?
Should it be after hours or during
the work day?
Clearly, the answers to these questions
depend on the particular context—the
employer’s and college’s needs, capacity
and resources. Yet the experience of these
very diverse training initiatives suggests that
successful development and delivery of
training depends primarily on the ability of
community college providers to perform
four critical tasks:| Draw on a strong foundation of existing
curriculum and faculty expertise;| Contextualize and relate curriculum
directly to the company environment
and needs;| Deliver the curriculum at a time and
place that best meet worker needs; and| Teach the curriculum in a way that fits
company culture and accounts for
employee learning styles and skill levels.
Although these seem to be obvious thresholds,
they are in practice sometimes difficult
to meet. The experience of these partnerships
suggests that in some ways, community
colleges are among the training providers
best suited to the task. Comprehensive and
diverse, the best of these institutions combine
the academic capacity required by
more extensive training designs with the
flexibility to deliver training customized to
company needs. Yet community colleges
also are institutions with their own traditions,
style and culture. Meshing these with
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 19
the corporate environment—a base
requirement of any successful training—is
often a struggle even for the most successful
of partnerships.
Developing curriculum
Building on a strong foundation
In developing a curriculum, the first step is
to look at the academic foundation already
present—the existing college courses and
the pool of faculty expertise. Each of these
colleges was able to draw on current
resources to adopt or develop the training
requested. This foundation is central to the
creation of an effective training program.
All the courses requested by Intel for example—
both general and technical—are part
of the Mission curriculum and offered on a
regular basis to other students. LaGuardia,
too, has previously offered its management
curriculum to other employers and needed
only to adopt it for Sequins.
Where courses did not exist, community
college partners had the capacity to develop
them. Macomb did not offer most of the
courses required by Chrysler, and needed to
design much of the 69-course curriculum
“from the ground up.” It is striking, however,
that this task, requiring six months of intensive
planning and continuing curriculum
development to complete the training
design, was not seen as particularly taxing
by college administrators. Macomb had
access to a pool of faculty familiar with the
general subject matter and has been able to
create the needed courses, through drawing
on faculty expertise and a related library of
classes. In fact, the largest concern for
Macomb administrators involved in the project
has not been in curriculum development
but logistics—scheduling the faculty
to deliver classes at the time required.
Shoreline, too, was able to find an instructor
with the requisite expertise to develop
the Smart CAM training program. Like the
other colleges, Shoreline has been able
also to draw upon a strong foundation of
related training.
For employers seeking college partners,
this depth of expertise and prior experience
should be viewed as a necessary prerequisite
in provider selection.
Adapting curriculum design
The experience of these partnerships suggests
that effective training requires colleges
to adapt pre-existing curriculum to
meet specific training requirements. Many
employers expect colleges to study their
training needs and worker abilities and create
customized training accordingly.
Colleges, too, recognize the need to ensure
that programs are fully responsive to the
company’s training needs, and perhaps
more importantly, that they use the company’s
business and product as an integral
part of the training offered.
An important element in the success of the
training programs studied has been this
flexibility in curriculum design—the willingness
and ability of selected community
20 Working Ventures
colleges to adopt, refine and in some cases
create curriculum and course material that
mirror the workplace.
Each of the colleges has worked to create
training that makes this kind of concrete
connection with work. Once the trainingaward
decision was made, colleges began the
process of developing a customized training
program. Typically, the first step was a factfinding
process that included visits and
meetings with company staff and potential
trainees to determine training needs.
Macomb, for example, sent instructors to
the plant to observe tasks and interview
supervisors. Instructors then developed a
prototype curriculum and brought it back
to the advisory group for review. Shoreline,
too, began the process with a needs analysis
that involved “lots of dialogue” with Boeing
supervisors and training staff, while Mission
drew upon the expertise and experience of
the advisory council for input. At Mission,
as at Macomb, the advisory group has
served both as a forum and review board
for curriculum decisions, a process that
included frequent meetings and resulted in
continuing program modification.
LaGuardia’s Quality Management Training
program has been adapted from previous
training provided by the college to other
manufacturers to suit Sequins’ operation.
LaGuardia had spent 10 months developing
the basic quality management model
that has now been used by the college at 14
companies (seven manufacturing firms and
seven service firms). Sequin’s director of
human resources has served as the in-house
point person for the program and has
worked with the LaGuardia consultant and
the project advisory group to customize the
existing curriculum.
All the colleges studied view the task of taking
a standard curriculum and adopting it
to the specific needs of the companies as a
fundamental part of a successful training
program. As one Mission administrator
commented: “If there is any way you can
Each of the partnerships followed this mandate,
looking for ways to bring business
into the classroom. Mission asked its
instructors to gear presentations to semiconductor
manufacturing if possible, and
to relate class discussions to the work
assignments of classroom participants. The
real life environment at Intel has been used
as a focus of classes from English to physics,
with homework specific to the industry and
problems and paperwork drawn from the
jobs of students.
At Macomb, where classes were developed
specifically to meet Chrysler requirements,
contextualization began with basic curriculum
planning; each class was designed to
conform to the framework set by Chrysler.
Because workers are being trained for new
Chrysler job classifications, tasks are immediately
relevant to jobs. Classes are built
around defined competencies that are measured
at the completion of training.
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 21
At Shoreline, too, training, by contract, has
been designed to connect to Boeing’s manufacturing
needs. Classes are built around
the computer software employed by
Boeing, and Boeing blueprints and parts
are integrated into classes. Class design is
based on achievement of defined competencies
as at Chrysler. Shoreline has also
trained a Boeing employee who is responsible
for continued employee training upon
completion of the project.
Delivering curriculum
After creating a curriculum, partnerships
must find a way to deliver it that fits the
company’s schedule, capacity and needs,
and resonates with the trainees. The first of
these tasks—fitting the company’s needs—
occurs in the planning period; the second
and harder task—teaching effectively—
occurs in implementation.
Meeting employer time and place
needs: wherever, whatever
All training programs must deal early on
with the question of where training should
be delivered—on campus or at the workplace;
and whether it should be conducted
during or after the normal working day.
Considerations include the number of
employees to be targeted; the kind of training
to be offered, the duration of the training,
whether training is voluntary or
mandatory, and the capacity of the company
training site and community college.
Three of the companies studied—Boeing,
Intel and Sequins—chose to provide training
on-site. This training is more convenient
for employees and does not disrupt
the overall operation of the plant.
Chrysler, by contrast, with the largest scale
training, chose the community college as
the training site.
At Boeing, Chrysler and Sequins training is
part of the working day. It is required and
workers are learning a specific task or tasks
that they immediately put to use. At Intel, by
contrast, training is after work. Intel training
is voluntary and unpaid, and focuses more
generally on individual career advancement
rather than work-specific training.
Regardless of the decisions made, it is clear
that the ability to adopt training to company
time and place needs is a third key element
of successful partnerships. Flexibility
of time and place is described by employers
as one of the most critical elements—
initially—in making the decision to work
with a training provider, as well as in subsequent
planning and operation. The community
colleges, too, value and sell their
ability to deliver “wherever, whenever”
training, seeing their ability to take training
elsewhere as an important part of the
package they offer employers.
For community colleges suffering the common
predicament of space limitations, providing
off-site training is also a vital part of
any business plan. The college’s chief
assets—curriculum, faculty and credit—are
all more or less portable; selling them off
22 Working Ventures
campus can add significantly to revenue
and capacity without imposing greatly
added costs. For this reason, several of the
community colleges studied see this as an
area of great potential and are actively moving
to market this capacity.
For all these reasons, flexibility in service
provision and the ability to meet employer
requirements is an important part of all the
training programs studied. Each of these
initiatives require community colleges to
adapt or change traditional class structures
and faculty schedules to meet the needs of
participating companies. Three of the partnerships
require community colleges to
deliver services at the workplace, while all
four require adaptation to the shift patterns
of the workers served.
For Boeing, the need has been to train all
workers who need Smart CAM during their
regular working shift on-site at the factory.
This has required Shoreline to offer its
one-week training during all three shifts,
though most classes have been scheduled
for the first and second shifts. Shoreline
has reported little difficulty in maintaining
this schedule.
Although Intel is located only a short distance
from Mission College, the company’s
goal has been to establish a college on-site
that could provide most of the general
requirements for an AA degree, and could
offer these classes at a time convenient for
workers. Based on the work of the planning
committee, Mission agreed to offer classes
on-site at Intel, after the close of the working
day. Most classes begin at 5:00 or 5:30
and are, unlike other programs, voluntary;
workers are not paid for attendance.
Mission has been able to offer most of the
classes required by Intel at the Intel site,
although some lab courses and other classes
requiring special equipment are provided
at the nearby Mission campus.
Chrysler training, located on the Macomb
campus, posed a different kind of challenge
than did the other programs. Rather
than adapting to a company worksite,
Macomb has had to adapt its own campus
to Chrysler’s large-scale training need.
Macomb’s training plan put some strain on
the college, particularly in finding and
retaining appropriate faculty who would
teach the designated classes during the designated
times. This kind of flexibility, however,
is necessary to meet the demands of
large-scale corporate training.
All Sequins training is provided on-site,
during the working day. Individual training
in areas like ESL is offered at the
LaGuardia campus.
Matching faculty and company
Developing curriculum and program delivery
that satisfies employers has been at
times a difficult challenge, but one that
falls well within the capacity of these community
colleges. A harder issue, however, is
teaching the curriculum in a way that
engages and benefits trainees, and that fits
the prevailing company culture.
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 23
One concern facing training providers is
the need to ensure that all students meet
the academic requirements of the classroom;
i.e., that they have the basic reading,
math and computer skills to succeed in the
training proposed.
Partnerships studied here have recognized
the skills issue and have responded by asking
instructors to gear training to prevailing
skills levels, and by providing individual
remedial instruction when needed. At
Mission and Macomb, for example, students
can receive individual tutoring and counseling,
while at Laguardia they can be referred
to ESL training. Shoreline requires that students
have some familiarization with PCs
prior to enrollment in training.
A second concern is to ensure that teaching
conforms to the culture of both the company
and its workers. As staff from several of
the colleges noted, many of the trainees, who
are long-time employees, have absorbed the
attitudes and style of their workplace. To
some extent, this means instructors can face
a classroom of students who share a way of
learning and responding that can be very
different from those in the average diverse
community college class. Lack of familiarity
or comfort with these kinds of corporate
cultures can create conflicts in a classroom
where faculty are used to setting the tone
and teaching environment.
Adapting teaching to company culture in
the classroom has been a difficult issue for
several of the partnerships, and is an
important factor to consider in developing
training relationships between community
colleges—or any outside provider—and
companies with a strongly established working
culture. This is particularly true in companies
where workers to be trained are less
educated, have been employed for a long
time, have received most of their training
through internal sources, and have not
developed a pattern of continuing education.
To some extent, these conditions
apply at all the partnerships studied and,
of course, at many industrial concerns
throughout the country.
At two of the partnerships, Intel/Mission
and Chrysler/Macomb, conflicts emerged
between one or two instructors and
trainees. Although the environment is very
different at the two firms, the cause—the
perception that instructors did not understand
or respect the company culture—has
been the same.
The Intel training program presents an
interesting study in contrasts. Although
workers are burdened with low basic skills,
they are also, by virtue of long service at
one of the world’s most successful companies,
well paid, often wealthy individuals,
with significant professional responsibilities.
Moreover, Intel students are part of an
aggressive company that encourages what
one Mission staffer calls “constructive confrontation.”
Facing a room that includes
sometimes aggressive and challenging students,
have been some community college
instructors who—both partners agree—are
not necessarily ready for such a competitive
environment. The result has been occasional
24 Working Ventures
classroom clashes and the belief on the
part of some students that some instructors
did not treat them like professionals. Intel
ultimately asked to pull two instructors,
while Mission recognized that instructors
who “pushed back” were more effective
with students.
At Chrysler, a different situation prevailed.
There, during initial training, Macomb
community college instructors, teaching an
older workforce with an average of 27 years
of seniority and job security, had to find a
way to motivate trainees in making a difficult
change in their working lives. Given
this challenge, Chrysler employer and
union representatives feel strongly that in
order to teach effectively, instructors need
to have a background in the industry and
an understanding of the labor force. In
practice there have been complaints that
some of the instructors did not relate well
to the trainees and that the teaching style
employed by one or two instructors is “too
directive” for the trainee group. As a result,
these instructors were taken off the training
project. As with Mission, Macomb has recognized
the importance of grounding instructors
in the industry and corporate culture
to as great a degree as possible, through
prior experience or intensive orientation.
It is significant that the question of how faculty
can effectively relate to corporate culture
arises even at institutions that are
among the more notable nationally in
developing successful partnerships with
business. The gulf between academic and
corporate culture is often a wide one, difficult
to bridge even for experienced faculty
and college administrators. In developing a
partnership, college administrators, even at
leading institutions, face the inherent challenge
that a great majority of their instructors
will not be steeped in the ways of their
partner’s businesses. This, combined with
issues of availability and competence in the
needed subject areas, highlights the need
for professional development and planning
as well as occasional on-the-job training.
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 25
Among the most important questions for
employers entering a training partnership
are those that relate to the cost of training.
What are actual costs? How negotiable are
costs? Are there opportunities for public
grants or discretionary funds? What about
tax benefits? In working with community
colleges, additional questions are naturally
raised: Are community colleges competitive
with other providers? Is there a potential
for college aid or other public subsidies
that might not otherwise be available?
Unlike the other key components of training
discussed here, there is no clear-cut
distinction between community colleges
and other training providers, at least as
seen in the partnerships studied here.
There are also no firm guidelines for
employers to follow, beyond the basics of
good negotiating and seeking whatever
accommodation is available. If any lesson
does emerge it is that colleges will be most
flexible on price in delivering the kind of
short-term, no-credit training also offered
by other providers. Where colleges offer a
unique service-credit, intensive or comprehensive
training, award of academic certificates,
or continuing training, costs are
more likely to be fixed.
All the companies studied here paid all or
most of the training costs, either directly or
through the participation of union training
funds. While some of the partnerships have
been able to attract some public subsidies,
others have not. Moreover, the subsidies
gained are not necessarily related to the
community college connection.
Similarly, there is no common experience
with costs as compared with those of other
training providers. Two of the partnerships
profiled here are seen by employers as
cheaper and more flexible than other kinds
of training providers. Two others are seen
as providing unique services that other
providers could not match, but are also
seen as largely inflexible in costs.
Training costs naturally varied with the
scope and intensity of training offered. The
88-hour quality management training at
LaGuardia cost $11,000 per semester
($22,000 per year) for the 250 participants,
26 Working Ventures
with eight semesters of training conducted
to date. Shoreline’s Smart CAM training,
priced at $40,000 for training 70 students
in one-week classes in its initial phase—the
same price structure remains in place—has
trained 250 workers.
From here, costs rise considerably. The
Intel community college training at Mission
costs approximately $200,000 for the 100 to
150 students served at any given time, while
the extensive Chrysler training at Macomb
was initially budgeted at $3 million for 350
Budgets at three of the partnerships—all
new training designs—were developed
through a process of negotiation between
the employer and college, while the fourth,
LaGuardia’s quality training, is fixed-price
based on similar training LaGuardia has
offered at other companies. Interestingly,
employer partners have found that the two
lower-cost training projects—those operated
by Shoreline and LaGuardia—which
both offer training that is available elsewhere,
are cheaper when offered by the
community college than by other providers,
or when provided internally.
Boeing, for example, has found that the
Shoreline cost of training—$16/hour for
each trainee—is far less than the $40/hour
budgeted for internal training. The management
consulting assistance provided to
Sequins by LaGuardia includes both indepth
analysis and continuing, hands-on
strategic assistance for $22,000 per year. A
major consulting firm offered Sequins a
somewhat more comprehensive assessment
service with no additional training for
$95,000—more than four times as much.
These same cost benefits do not hold true
in the larger and more unique training
models. At Intel, Mission College is tied to
a state-established cost structure for any
courses for which credit is awarded. This
has limited cost flexibility and the ability to
reduce expenses as the program evolves.
This in turn has caused the Mission partnership
to be an exception among Intel
subcontractors, who typically are required
to reduce costs from year to year. The issue
of fixed fee structures tied to credit extends
beyond the Intel partnership to other
states; in Washington for example,
Shoreline and Boeing ultimately decided
not to provide credit for Boeing students
since it would raise training costs. At
Macomb, where Chrysler training imposed
a significant burden both in faculty time
and overall capacity, the budget has been
developed on a cost-plus basis.
An important question for any employer to
consider is the potential for community college
help in subsidizing training costs. In a
number of states, public subsidies available
to community colleges working with
employers can pay for curriculum development
and instructional costs, and even provide
cash to companies in the form of wage
subsidies or direct cost reimbursement.
Other resources, such as foundation funding,
also sometimes support community college/
employer partnerships. The Alfred
Sloan Foundation, for example, supports
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 27
LaGuardia’s work with manufacturers, and
provides opportunities for workers to
receive additional management-related
training, conference fees and other services.
With the exception of the LaGuardia program,
however, community college subsidies
have played a relatively small role in these
partnerships, with Macomb drawing down
some state funding to assist in curriculum
development. Other colleges that have
explored state funding report that funding
options do not fit, for one reason or another,
the design of the training program.
Potentially at least, the availability of subsidies
for community college directed training
does provide a clear opportunity for
employers that is not available when working
with other training providers. However,
employers also need to consider that these
subsidies may carry restrictions with them,
such as the need to serve low-income workers
or to link subsidized training for current
employees with guarantees to hire
entry-level workers.
28 Working Ventures
Any look at larger lessons offered by community
college partnerships should begin
with an assessment of the training conducted
in these four initiatives. After three years
of training, how do the employers studied
view their partnerships? Are they seen as
effective? Did they lead to measurable
improvements? What are the benefits—and
costs—relative to other kinds of training?
Do companies plan to expand training?
What are the lessons for other employers?
All of the companies interviewed believe
that training to date has been a success. By
and large, the measures they used have not
been global ones, such as improved productivity
or market share, difficult to measure
or attribute in the context of industry leaders
like Intel, Boeing and Chrysler. Rather,
the focus has been more immediate, particularly
on measures like successful completion
of training provided. In all cases this
has been high. This relatively short-term
view of training impact may also reflect the
fact that these programs are continuing.
At Intel, the company estimates that 80 to
87 percent of enrolled students complete
individual courses. The college’s minimum
standard of academic progress requires students
to maintain a grade point average of
2.0 and complete 50 percent of the overall
credits in which the student has enrolled.
The larger impact of training on degrees
earned—the ultimate goal of the Intel program—
has not been assessed due to varying
progress rates and the relatively long
time needed to complete all requirements.
Intel initially sought to get grade reports as
a measure of progress, but this was turned
down by Mission as violating student confidentiality.
Intel reports it has done no
internal competency assessments beyond
course completion.
At Chrysler, success is measured through
pre- and post-tests, based on the defined
competencies to be delivered in classes.
Classes are tested as a group, with success
defined as all members achieving competencies.
For the first 350 workers through
the program, the partnership rates 99.7
percent of trainees as completing Level 1—
the basic level of skills upgrade—and “99
A s s e s s i n g
P a r t n e r s h i p s
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 29
percent plus” as completing the more
advanced Level 2. Chrysler has deliberately
avoided any individual testing of trainees
either in basic skills capability or achievement
of desired competencies, preferring
to focus on results by training class.
Shoreline’s program, also designed to aid
participants in meeting defined competencies,
has a similarly high success rate for the
250 employees who have entered training,
with only a few failing to complete the
required coursework. Again, training success
is measured by Boeing in terms of this completion
rate, rather than any larger impact.
Sequins, by far the smallest employer studied,
expects the most ambitious outcomes
from its program, believing that companywide
management training will improve
productivity and decrease costs. Although
all 250 of its workers are now participating
in the four-year-old training program,
quantifiable results have been limited due
to a longer than expected informationgathering
process. Sequins expects to have
a new information management system in
place by the end of 1999. The full impact
of the LaGuardia training cannot be realized
until these data are available.
More telling perhaps than individual outcomes
has been the decision of all the companies
participating either to continue
training or to enter into new training agreements
with community colleges. This decision
does not reflect any single advantage
offered by these community colleges over
other training providers, but rather the fact
that the colleges studied here have been
able to bring together a number of training
advantages in one place. If there is one
theme underlying all these partnerships, it
is that all the community colleges studied
here have been able to combine attributes
such as expertise, capacity and credit-bearing
courses in a well-established and easily
accessible institution. This has created, for
these companies, a training environment
that few other providers can duplicate.
30 Working Ventures
These four partnerships are in their way
exemplary, representing a successful match
between training need and provider. The
community colleges, too, are not representative
of all community colleges, nor may
other employers have the same training
opportunity afforded to Boeing, Intel,
Chrysler and Sequins. For employers
nationally, it is important to recognize that
many community colleges focus more on
academic than vocational preparation, and
that others are struggling to define their
mission in a rapidly changing educational
and economic environment.
Nevertheless, we believe that these examples
fairly represent the potential of these
institutions as training providers, and that
the issues raised here are reflective of
those likely to arise in partnerships established
between employers and colleges.
The experience of these partnerships
offers a number of lessons employers may
want to consider as they seek to meet their
own training needs, and to plan, structure
and operate programs.
Selecting a Provider
Community colleges can be wellpositioned
to meet critical training
needs in today’s economy.
The first lesson these partnerships offer the
larger community of employers is that
some community colleges are especially
well-suited to meet the diversity of training
needs likely to be faced by manufacturing
employers in a competitive environment.
As advancing technology increases the
need for continuing education and training,
community colleges are among the
training providers best positioned to meet
training requirements like:| A continuing connection to an educational
institution;| Large-scale, complex and/or long-term
training;| Accreditation for training or receipt of a
postsecondary degree; and| Ancillary services such as counseling and
L e s s o n s
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 31
Among the community of training providers,
community colleges have a clear advantage
in meeting the training requirements and
challenges raised by large employers like
Intel and Chrysler. For example, few other
training entities can offer, in one place,
degrees and transferable credits to other
institutions (important to Intel and of
interest to Boeing); the capacity to mobilize
faculty; established curriculum to train in
multiple subject areas (necessary for both
Chrysler and Intel); and the potential to
offer continuing training and education
extending beyond the initial training plan
(a virtue for all the companies studied).
With the ability to hire part-time instructors
and take advantage of existing faculty, community
colleges may also offer cost advantages
in smaller and less demanding training
programs that do not require a large
educational infrastructure.
Employers should seek community colleges
that combine capacity, area expertise
and flexibility.
Not all community colleges in a region
will be able to meet employer training
requirements. While, clearly, the appropriate
institutional choice will depend on a
great variety of factors, the experience of
these diverse training partnerships still
suggests a core list of characteristics that
employers should consider in any selection
process including:| Established curriculum and courses in
the training field;| A pool of experienced and available faculty;| Training delivery flexible enough to
meet employer time and place requirements;| Capacity to deliver training on-campus if
needed;| Willingness to engage in an intensive
curriculum development process;| Willingness to adapt curriculum to meet
employer needs;| Willingness to devote extensive staff time
to management and operation; and| Willingness to seek outside funding to
help support training.
In larger partnerships particularly, companies
should familiarize providers with training
needs through meetings prior to selection.
Companies should also be prepared for
extensive early planning to refine objectives,
structure and costs.
Realizing the advantages of community
college training can also mean additional
costs and program burdens.
The experience of these partnerships shows
that the advantages often sought by
employers in choosing community colleges
as providers are not always realized. These
advantages can also carry additional costs
and program requirements.
32 Working Ventures
Credit has been cited by several of these
employers as a reason to consider community
colleges. Pursuing accreditation, however,
raises training costs and may delay
program implementation. As described earlier,
state cost frameworks and requirements
for credit-bearing courses can result
in higher costs than noncredit training, as
well as limiting flexibility in negotiating
price. Creating new courses to meet company
needs can require time-consuming faculty
approval and may also impose individual
testing requirements that companies may
wish to avoid.
Similarly, employers cite the potential of
community colleges to offer life-long learning
for their employees. Community colleges
do provide these opportunities, but
the link with training programs is not automatic.
Ensuring a continuing connection to
community colleges requires that companies
commit themselves to programs
through efforts like individual education,
planning and counseling. Although training
is continuing, it is not clear that students in
these partnerships have taken full advantage
of continuing educational opportunities
offered by the community colleges.
Structuring Training
Employers and community colleges need
to take clearly defined roles.
Partners need to decide early on how roles
will be divided, and maintain a clear set of
responsibilities throughout the training
program. While this will likely vary depending
on the nature of training and many
other factors, the experience of the partners
studied suggests that employers should
take on a management and review role,
and leave planning and operational responsibilities
to colleges.
Specifically, employers should focus on
areas including:| Setting objectives;| Internal management;| Setting budget parameters;| Reviewing program organization and
design;| Recruitment and internal operations; and| Monitoring.
Community colleges should focus on
areas including:| Curriculum development;| Faculty selection;| Scheduling and logistics;| Training design;| Day-to-day operation; and| Outcomes and evaluation.
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 33
Partnerships should be managed jointly.
As partnerships evolve, it is a near certainty
that tensions will arise between employer
and training provider, that initial program
plans will be modified and that unexpected
developments will require changes and
quick decisions. All partners agree that in
the larger partnerships especially, the formal
division of responsibilities underlying
training structure should be accompanied
by a joint college-employer group to serve
as a vehicle for overall management, to
review key decisions, modify program
design and operation, and monitor program
results. This group should include
employer, union (if appropriate) and college
representatives. The advisory group
should meet regularly during planning
stages and periodically during the operational
Larger partnerships require a full-time
Even with an extensive commitment of time
by higher level employer and college representatives,
large training programs, such as
those sponsored by Boeing and Intel, need
a full-time administrator who can serve as a
single point of contact for program participants,
employer and college.
Developing and delivering
Partnerships should incorporate extensive
curriculum planning.
One of the strongest lessons to emerge
from discussions with college administrators
is the need to determine employer
needs and wants. Even where community
colleges have a strong pre-existing curriculum
base, program curriculum development
should begin with an extensive preparation
period—lasting several months or longer in
larger or more complex training designs—
when college staff meet with supervisors
and workers, visit the workplace, observe
tasks and needs, and review preliminary
designs with employers.
Curriculum should reflect the workplace.
College administrators agree that training
programs are most effective when they connect
in a concrete way with the workplace.
As part of the development process,
instructors should seek, to the greatest
degree possible, to incorporate real-life
work context, practices and products as an
integral part of classroom learning.
Program delivery and teaching should
reflect the workplace.
Different workplaces reflect different cultures
and ways of learning. Just as curriculum
needs to incorporate the real-life
workplace, so does the way in which the
curriculum is conveyed. Some administrators
feel that instructors should share
experience or background with workers
being trained, particularly in cases where
long-time older workers are being asked to
34 Working Ventures
develop new skills. In any case, all agreed
that selected instructors must understand
and feel comfortable with workplace culture
and practices so as to teach in a way
that resonates with trainees. This suggests
that instructors become familiar with corporate
culture prior to the beginning of
training through workplace visits and
meeting with corporate staff. As the experience
of even this very limited sample
shows, this can also mean encouraging
very different classroom styles—ranging
from supportive to challenging—depending
on the workers to be trained.
Program delivery should fit with time and
place needs of the employer and workers.
Effective training should fit as well as possible
into trainee schedules, reflecting
employer rather than college needs.
Partnerships should explore options that
include providing training at the worksite,
scheduling training to fit pre-existing worker
schedules (including all shifts), surveying
workers as to best available training times,
and delivering training in small groups.
Partnerships should incorporate
supportive services.
Trainees may require a variety of services
outside formal classroom training.
Partnerships should incorporate individual
tutoring for employees below the basic
skills threshold established for classroom
training. This availability is particularly
important for employers reluctant to individually
test basic skills prior to start of
training. To meet employer objectives of
expanding a worker’s access to the education
beyond formal training, partnerships
should incorporate a career and educational
counseling component.
Community colleges should explore public
grant resources to help support partnership
efforts. In a number of states, funds available
solely or primarily to community colleges
can help support curriculum development
and training efforts. While these resources
may carry restrictions that make them
impractical or irrelevant to employer needs,
consideration of these opportunities should
be part of the budget process. Community
colleges should also work to familiarize
employers with other resources that might
be available, including state and community
economic development funds, and—where
appropriate—should serve as a co-applicant
for these dollars.
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 35
The experience of these training programs
reflects both the importance of partnerships
between employers and training institutions
such as community colleges and the
difficulties inherent in making them work.
The pace of economic and technological
change has increasingly driven firms, large
and small, to become consumers of training,
often provided by outside entities.
Accustomed to setting high thresholds for
other suppliers, companies are proving to
be demanding and influential consumers
in the training marketplace as well.
To succeed, the ideal training provider
must be able to offer a great deal: in-depth
training across a wide range of skills and
knowledge; services delivered anytime and
anywhere; continuing presence and accessibility;
and competitive price.
As we have seen, few, if any, training
providers can meet all these conditions.
Yet, as publicly supported local institutions,
community colleges have the inherent
advantages of accessibility, capacity, continuity
and scope that few other trainers—
private, nonprofit or public—can match.
Employers should not expect that any or
every community college can deliver on
this promise. Many community colleges
have an academic mission, rejecting or
minimizing a vocational role. Others have
failed to develop the depth and breadth of
training services that can meet the needs of
industries where technology changes weekly.
Still others have yet to develop the market
perspective and flexibility to meet the
changing and often complex requirements
of corporate consumers.
One of the strongest, if least surprising,
lessons here is that a successful partnership
depends on the ability of the college—in
many ways a traditional educational institution—
to act in a nontraditional way. All the
colleges profiled here view their role less as
institutions than as corporate partners, with
curriculum, staffing and delivery treated as
flexible and negotiable services, rather
than fixed features. This kind of negotiation
and flexibility, is, of course, less of a
36 Working Ventures
departure for the corporate partners, used
to working with suppliers to get the services
they need. Yet, business partners must
consciously maintain flexibility in working
with community colleges, recognizing that
they, as large public entities, do have restrictions
that other service providers do not.
An equally powerful lesson is that the right
perspective is only the start. Each of these
partnerships—and they are among the
best—featured a long and at times difficult
negotiation process requiring a strong commitment
from both partners. Even with this
kind of accommodation, barriers, like those
of reconciling community college and corporate
cultures, will likely arise despite
good will and strong effort.
Accepting these difficulties and caveats,
inevitable in any kind of partnership, the
experience of these four programs shows
that for employers seeking to develop and
retain a competitive workforce, community
colleges can be an important—and perhaps
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 37
Contact Information
Boeing/Shoreline Community College
Seattle, Washington
Don Schultz
tel: 206-546-4513
Community College
Macomb County, Michigan
Cindy Geise
tel: 810-445-7348
Intel/Mission Community College
Santa Clara, California
Ingrid Thompson
tel: 408-567-2819
Sequins/LaGuardia Community
Long Island City, New York
Wilfred Saunders
tel: 718-482-5358
38 Working Ventures
We’re education…you’re semiconductors 39
Board of Directors
Siobhan Nicolau, Chair
Hispanic Policy Development Project
Amalia V. Betanzos
Wildcat Service Corporation
Yvonne Chan
Vaughn Learning Center
John J. DiIulio, Jr.
Fox Leadership Professor of Politics,
Religion and Civil Society
University of Pennsylvania
Alice F. Emerson
Senior Fellow
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Susan Fuhrman
Dean, Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania
Matthew McGuire
Director of Private Sector Initiatives
Wildcat Service Corporation
Michael P. Morley
Senior Vice President
Eastman Kodak Company
Jeremy Nowak
Chief Executive Officer
The Reinvestment Fund
Marion Pines
Senior Fellow
Institute for Policy Studies
Johns Hopkins University
Isabel Carter Stewart
National Executive Director
Girls Incorporated
Mitchell Sviridoff
Community Development Consultant
Marta Tienda
Professor of Sociology
Princeton University
Gary Walker
Public/Private Ventures
William Julius Wilson
Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser
University Professor
Harvard University
Public/Private Ventures is a
national nonprofit organization
whose mission is to
improve the effectiveness of
social policies, programs and
community initiatives, especially
as they affect youth and
young adults. In carrying out
this mission, P/PV works with
philanthropies, the public
and business sectors, and
nonprofit organizations.
We do our work in four basic
ways:| We develop or identify social
policies, strategies and practices
that promote individual
economic success and
citizenship, and stronger
families and communities.| We assess the effectiveness of
these promising approaches
and distill their critical elements
and benchmarks,
using rigorous field study
and research methods.| We mine evaluation results
and implementation experiences
for their policy and
practice implications, and
communicate the findings to
public and private decisionmakers,
and to
community leaders.| We create and field test the
building blocks—model policies,
financing approaches,
curricula and training
materials, communication
strategies and learning
processes—that are necessary
to implement effective
approaches more broadly. We
then work with leaders of the
various sectors to implement
these expansion tools, and to
improve their usefulness.
P/PV’s staff is composed of
policy leaders in various
fields; evaluators and
researchers in disciplines
ranging from economics to
ethnography; and experienced
practitioners from the
nonprofit, public, business
and philanthropic sectors.
Working Ventures seeks to
improve the performance of
the workforce development
field by providing practitioners
and policymakers with
the knowledge and tools
needed to operate effective
employment programs. We
support the field by documenting
effective employment
strategies and practices,
convening practitioner
workshops and providing
resources to encourage
program innovation.
40 Working Ventures
2 Working Ventures
Public/Private Ventures
The Chanin Building
122 East 42nd Street, 41st Floor
New York, NY 10168
Tel: (212) 822-2400
Fax: (212) 949-0439
For additional copies of reports
or for more information:
One Commerce Square
2005 Market Street, Suite 900
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Tel: (215) 557-4400
Fax: (215) 557-4469
Url: http://www.ppv.org
January 2000