Business, college benefit from partnership

Editor's note: This is the third in a series of articles recognizing National Community College Month.

The story about local organizations facing a shortage of skilled employees continues to repeat itself. While this challenge remains constant, what differs is how organizations face this challenge.

With a facility in Carson City, Harley-Davidson Financial Services also faces the challenge of attracting, retaining and developing a strong base of talented employees. One way HDFS addresses this challenge is by partnering with local academic institutions such as Western Nevada Community College.

For example, HDFS in Carson City partners with WNCC to offer a customized Financial Operations Management Certificate of Achievement program to employees of HDFS. The certificate program includes WNCC and HDFS courses and is designed to meet the professional development needs of HDFS' employees as well as the organization's business requirements.

This partnership is beneficial to both HDFS and WNCC. As far as the effect of the partnership on WNCC enrollment goes, there have been nearly 150 class registrations in the financial management certificate program since its inception in the fall of 2001.

HDFS benefits from the partnership in a variety of ways. For example, HDFS employees gain from having the opportunity and financial support to pursue their academic and professional development goals while maintaining employment.

The financial support comes from HDFS' tuition reimbursement program. HDFS reimburses the tuition and book costs its employees incur from completing courses that are work-related or required for a business-related degree program. Community colleges are known for providing students open access to higher education through convenient delivery options. WNCC does their part by offering classes in the certificate program through a variety of delivery options including on-site, Internet, and traditional campus classes.

One of HDFS' employees recently said, "With the affordability and convenience of on-site classes, I would be crazy not to continue my education through WNCC."

How does HDFS as an organization gain from this partnership? The most significant benefit might also be the most obvious. Having HDFS employees grow their knowledge and skills adds value to the business and better equips HDFS to meet the needs of its customers.

The HDFS partnership with WNCC also provides benefits from a staffing perspective. Working with WNCC offers HDFS the chance to tap into a pool of prospective employees that, as students, have already met part of their selection criteria: the willingness and ability to learn. Additionally, partnering with the local community college is another way to fulfill HDFS' philosophy of being a good corporate citizen and giving back to the communities in which it operates.

As an organization, HDFS recognizes its employees as their greatest assets. Providing employees with opportunities for personal and professional development is a natural way to support and maximize their learning and growth potential. HDFS truly values their partnership with WNCC and the support, flexibility, and quality programs they provide.

With increasing competition, turbulent economic times, and a growing need to upgrade the job skills of current and prospective employees, HDFS is pleased to have Western Nevada Community College as an academic partner.

Craig Crick is university curriculum specialist for Harley-Davidson Financial Services in Carson City.


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