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SL CGCC serves up lunch classes Unique classes offer workforce development for businesses, employees


by Laurie Fagen


It’s one of the SanTan Sun area’s best-kept secrets. But if two female executives have their way, Chandler- Gilbert Community College’s Sun Lakes Center will soon become more well known in the area of workforce development for businesses and employees, career changes for individuals and providing new “green” classes not found elsewhere.


Dr. Ruth Romano, director of CGCC’s Workforce Development and Charlotte Hodel, Workforce Development coordinator, along with the Workforce Development team, are launching a new Lunch & Learn educational program that companies can offer onsite to their employees and leaders during their lunch hours or times that work best for them. A diverse array of topics, tailored to each company and their employees’ professional and personal interests, are available including information on workforce readiness and assistance, fi nance, health and wellness, languages, marketing, technology, diversity, energy and environment.


“In talking to area business owners, we fi nd in the current economy, they are concerned about the limited resources they can offer their workers,” says Romano.


“There are fewer bonuses, raises aren’t there, there’s climbing absenteeism and moral is down,” adds Hodel, who notes the pair visited some 40 companies in the past 90 days. “People are happy to have jobs, but many are hanging on for dear life, and not necessarily in the places they want to be. We can help them build new skill sets and boost moral so they become more competitive. Meanwhile, companies are jumping out


STSN photo


CGCC LUNCH BUNCH: Dr. Ruth Romano, left, director of Chandler- Gilbert Community College’s Workforce Development located at the Sun Lakes Center, presents the first Lunch & Learn information brown bags to Kovach, Inc’s President Stephen E. Kovach IV, center; his son, Stephen Kovach V, project manager, second from right; along with Scott Armstrong of Geyser Stop, far right, and Ken Smerz of Precision 3D Scanning, second from left, both associated companies of Kovach’s. CGCC is launching a customized educational program that companies can offer onsite to their employees and leaders during their lunch hours on a diverse array of topics.


of the box, asking ‘What can we do to build moral, self- esteem and keep people competitive?’” “They look at this program as a gift to employees, to let them know how important they are,” Romano notes.


Lunch & Learn noncredit sessions are customized to the business and employee needs and can be held monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. CGCC provides support and promotional materials, and schedules onsite experts to explain the benefi ts of social media, teach yoga exercises to do at a desk to release stress or to discuss the warning signs of diabetes. Companies pay $250 per session, regardless of the number of employees attending, and provide lunch or snacks, depending on the time of day.


“We want to help lift their spirits, help them make it through each day, whatever their different goals are in life,” Hodel adds, saying reaction has been very positive. “At every business we visited, everyone got excited.”


On-going classes focus on ‘green,’ health care Romano was brought to the Sun Lakes Center


specifi cally to provide workforce development, highlighting the “green” movement of sustainability, solar power, etc., a priority for Gov. Jan Brewer and the new Arizona Commerce Authority to bring those types of businesses to the state. Romano works closely with economic development directors in the area to make sure class offerings are in line with the businesses they’re courting.


“We want a trained workforce so when a business is invited, whether it’s from out of state or out of country, they see a trained workforce already here,” explains Romano.


One of the programs only offered at CGCC in Sun Lakes is “Photovoltaic System Installation,” which trains workers in installing solar panels and includes an externship with a local company and a national certifi cation test.


Romano also works with the Maricopa County and Phoenix Workforce Connections to offer some 130 online classes approved by the State of Arizona so students can get some of the millions in federal funding from the Sustainable Energy Green Component (SESP)


See SL CGCC Page 6


May 7 - 20, 2011


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