Prince Agri Products and Continental Cement recognize opportunity when they see it.  The two regional manufacturers are working with John Wood Community College’s Workforce Development Center on a program to elevate promising employees currently in production roles to management positions within their companies.

“We are always looking for ways to provide training that helps employers develop and enhance the skills of their employees,” Dr. Ron Davis, JWCC vice president for instruction said. “When employers come to us with a need, we work with them to provide a training package to meet that need.”

In this particular case, Prince Agri Products and Continental Cement have identified talented employees that could fill management roles if provided the right training.

As a result, JWCC developed a business leadership certificate program designed for manufacturing supervisors in conjunction with manufacturers.  It provides students with the knowledge and technical skills for success in supervisory and managerial positions.  Instructors emphasize best practices and techniques used by industry-leading supervisors that include supply chain management, quality assurance, industrial safety and interpersonal communication.

Classes in the 16-credit hour program are a mix of six online and classroom courses that can be taken over three semesters.  The format allows students to maintain their current position while taking classes so new knowledge and skills can be integrated into daily work.  The program is slated to begin this fall.

“John Wood is helping us develop the skills of our manufacturing employees so they can better manage their production teams and drive process improvement,” Tim Costigan, Prince’s vice president for manufacturing, quality and regulatory affairs, said.  “We already have four employees who have committed to the program. I would suspect that other businesses have employees with the potential to become managers too, and John Wood can provide the training to make it happen.”

Jordan Lamm, production leadman for Prince Agri, is excited about the opportunity the program will provide.  “It demonstrates that the company is willing to put time and resources into investing in the future of their employees.  It expresses that the company cares about you as an individual and it’s a great opportunity to further my education and help out the company at the same time.”

Terry Bennett, plant manager for Continental Cement based in Hannibal, Mo., also recognizes the rewards of growing talent within the company.

“We have dedicated employees invested in our company and our community,” he said. “It makes perfect sense to provide the training to help them move up the ladder, which helps our company grow and helps the regional economy.  It’s a win-win-win.”

The business leadership program is just one of many customized training programs JWCC has developed in partnership with area manufacturers, the Workforce Investment Board of Western Illinois and Great River Economic Development Foundation.

“As our region continues to grow, we have seen a significant need for this type of educational offering. We are fortunate to be able to tell area employers that our community college is responding to their needs,” Jim Mentesti, president of GREDF said.

Regional employers or employees interested in the business leadership certificate program can contact Pam Foust, JWCC dean of career and technical education, at 217.641.4956 or for more information.