NJIT’s Continuing and Distance Education unit has trained 69,000 employees at 600 corporations
NJIT, a university known for crafting corporate training programs, is offering classes to some 600 Dow Jones employees who work at the company’s South Brunswick office. NJIT instructors are traveling to that office to teach 23 classes in an array of subjects including leadership development, project management and effective business communication. Since the instructors teach the classes in Dow Jones offices, employees take classes around their workday schedules.
The training will continue through April of 2009.
The NJ Department of Labor & Workforce Development awarded Dow Jones a grant for the NJIT training. Such grants help New Jersey companies train their employees and remain competitive in the state.
“Dow Jones contacted us and we helped them apply for the workforce grant,” said Gale Spak, associate vice president for Continuing and Distance Education at NJIT. “Then, after Dow Jones chose us as their educational provider, we customized a training program for its employees – a program that is aligned with the company’s goals.”
It’s part of NJIT’s mission to promote economic development in the state, added Spak. And educating in-state employees in the latest managerial and technological skills is just one of the ways that NJIT contributes to the state’s economy.
In picking NJIT, Dow Jones joins a long list of major corporations that have chosen the university to train employees. Since 1990, NJIT’s Continuing and Distance Education unit has trained 69,000 employees at 600 corporations. NJIT has trained employees at firms such as AT&T, Lockheed Martin, Bloomberg Financial, Ford Motors and Mobil Chemical. NJIT is also creating a Virtual Academy for NJ Transit that includes an online education and training program.
Corporations are increasingly turning to universities for workforce development, Spak said. Top-rated universities such as NJIT have instructors who, along with being excellent teachers and researchers, possess practical industry experience: They are teacher-practitioners. With that combination of skills, the instructors are suited to teach corporate employees, said Spak. And when appropriate, the instructors can also teach effectively online.
Training employees in today’s difficult economic times is essential, said Joel Bloom, a vice president at NJIT.
Employers must ensure that employees can negotiate business and technological changes. As companies downsize, added Bloom, employees are being asked to perform tasks that go beyond their usual responsibilities. Continued training is thus more important now than ever. Quicksilver changes in technology and global relationships combined with an economic slowdown have made it so that employers are asking employees to assume ever-changing duties.
“The classes that we offer to Dow Jones employees,” said Spak, “will help them improve their communication skills, work better in teams, and improve their leadership and project management skills. We expect to have 1,640 enrollments in our classes, which will be filled with a great mix of Dow Jones employees.”
A business communication workshop recently offered at Dow Jones attracted just such a mix of employees. NJIT instructor Paul Anovick, an engaging teacher with 30 years experience in broadcast reporting and effective communication, said it was a delight to teach adults who are eager to improve their skills.
“It was a varied class filled with Dow Jones employees from the information technology unit, the marketing division, as well as others from journalism and business news publishing,” said Anovick. “They all learned to work better with each other better and got a lot out of the class.”
The partnership between Dow Jones and NJIT is doubly beneficial, said Spak. During slow economic times, Dow Jones benefits by investing in the professional growth of its employees, who learn cutting-edge skills that enhance their careers. And the state benefits from helping to ensure that Dow Jones & Company stays competitive and remains in its New Jersey offices.
“It’s a winning partnership for Dow Jones, the state of New Jersey and for NJIT,” said NJIT Vice President Bloom. “And we at NJIT are honored to help train employees at Dow Jones, a company whose reputation for business news and stock market analysis is known around the globe.”
(By Robert Florida, University Web Services)