[copperpress-advertserve-ad zone="3"]
ARCHIVED  November 1, 1996

LCCC promises grad guarantees for employers

CHEYENNE – Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne is offering a unique twist for employers seeking employees with basic skills in reading, writing and arithmetic required for many of today’s jobs – a guarantee.At a time when employers along the Northern Front Range are complaining about a lack of skilled workers, LCCC is telling employers that if they hire an LCCC vocational-technical graduate who doesn’t have the basic skills taught by the college, then LCCC will retrain that graduate for free.
“Laramie County Community College, as part of its commitment to quality instruction and continuous improvement, guarantees that students graduating from its vocational/technical programs with an Associate of Applied Science Degree or Certificate demonstrate competency in the skills represented in the degree or certificate,” the guarantee reads. “The guarantee is designed to strengthen the partnership among the college, employers and graduates of the college.”
The guarantee further provides that should an LCCC graduate not be able to demonstrate the skills taught by the college, he or she will be offered up to 12 credit hours of retraining or equivalent continuing education for a degree, or nine credit hours for a certificate.
“We’ve received very positive response from employers,” says LCCC president Chuck Bohlen of the program. “I’m glad we’re doing this for employers.”
“We’re willing to put everything up front, even if it costs us some money to do it,” added LCCC dean of instruction Ron Wood.
Complaints about employee skills earlier this year prompted Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer to call a Governor’s Conference on the Workforce. Cheyenne’s community college had already announced its guarantee program, but Bohlen, who chaired a workshop, said the conference reinforced the decision.
Bohlen said there’s a growing mood among employers that today’s beginning workers often aren’t good enough for many technical jobs and sometimes lack basic skills for any job. “I think they have some real concerns … that we don’t produce people with applied skills,” he said.
However, he said, the problem may be more “perception than reality” when it comes to LCCC graduates.
“We frankly did this as a preemptive strike to help maintain the confidence (of employers),” he explained. “We wouldn’t have done this if we weren’t feeling pretty good about our graduates.”
LCCC’s guarantee applies to about two-thirds of the school’s students who are in 18 vocational/technical programs. The school has an average enrollment of around 3,700 students a semester.
The guarantee is not unconditional. For example, it applies only when a student took 85 percent of his or her coursework at LCCC and earned grades of C or better on each course and only to graduates who start a full-time job in their field of study within a year of graduation. And it doesn’t cover traits such as attitude, judgment or interpersonal behavior.
“We do not guarantee attitude,” Bohlen emphasized. “That is very important for employers, and I know we’re going to continue to work harder and harder on that, but that’s a difficult thing to teach.
“If you come to us with a really crappy attitude, there is a strong possibility, you might still have that crappy attitude. So we’re saying in our guarantee, “Employers, you have some responsibility in hiring to determine if somebody has a crappy attitude about work.’ But when it comes to the technical skills and those reading, writing, arithmetic, critical thinking skills, we’ll stand behind those.”
LCCC’s degree program also puts some responsibility on the graduate, forcing them to consider things such as attitude if they’re going to be successful in a job and prompting them to apply what they learned at LCCC in their job performance.
So far, the college has not had to honor its guarantee, and Bohlen and Wood frankly think they won’t have too many students returning.
“To me, it’s in their best interest not to have to come back for training,” Bohlen said, noting that it would be humiliating and they likely would not be paid by their employer during retraining.
“I would hope we don’t have any come back,” Wood said. “I would hope that if our programs are of high enough standard and quality, we shouldn’t have many come back.
And if many do come back, LCCC will learn from the experience and modify courses or course content, Wood added.
ÿ

CHEYENNE – Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne is offering a unique twist for employers seeking employees with basic skills in reading, writing and arithmetic required for many of today’s jobs – a guarantee.At a time when employers along the Northern Front Range are complaining about a lack of skilled workers, LCCC is telling employers that if they hire an LCCC vocational-technical graduate who doesn’t have the basic skills taught by the college, then LCCC will retrain that graduate for free.
“Laramie County Community College, as part of its commitment to quality instruction and continuous improvement, guarantees that students graduating…

[copperpress-advertserve-ad zone="3"]

Related Content