Waubonsee Meets Local Workforce Training Needs

headshot of Lesa Norris
Lesa Norris, Dean for Workforce Development

Many employers in the Waubonsee Community College district rely on temporary workers to augment their workforce. In fact, with 17,000 openings this year, Waubonsee’s region is one of the state’s largest in terms of temporary workers.

Training temporary workers often poses a challenge for companies since, by the very nature of the labor need, they have pressing production demands. Still, employers do want to keep their workers safe, reduce worker’s compensation claims and limit their risk of citations or fines.

Recognizing this growing segment of the workforce and its unique training needs, Waubonsee’s Workforce Development Division applied for and received grant funding through the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The money has been used to provide free training to staffing agencies and their partnering employers to ensure that temporary workers receive vital information about safety in the workplace, including such topics as how to properly work around machines, chemicals and forklifts.

As a result of this funding opportunity, more than 400 temporary workers have received a four-hour basic safety training in either English or Spanish.

This safety training program is just one example of Waubonsee’s Workforce Development Department recognizing a local employer need and working to meet it. The department’s most popular training solutions include technical training such as welding, blueprint reading, and pneumatics; skill-based training such as phlebotomy, CPR, and computer software; and leadership development for new or more seasoned supervisors and managers.

Just as a training’s subject matter and content can be customized for a particular company’s needs and situation, so too can the training’s time and place. For example, Workforce Development conducted some of the safety training for temporary workers before or after their shift, or for alternating groups of workers, so that production was not negatively impacted. With those companies, we often delivered the training on-site, while other companies preferred to train at one of Waubonsee’s campuses.

Our team of staff and trainers can provide a wealth of knowledge and services, but we also pride ourselves on being able to put our businesses in touch with broader regional resources. It’s just one of the many benefits we are able to deliver, thanks to the vibrant role we play in the local business community.

If your company is in need of a specialized business solution or resource, please contact the Workforce Development Department at Waubonsee Community College. Email us at wfd@waubonsee.edu or call (630) 906-4152.

Lesa Norris is Waubonsee’s Dean for Workforce Development.