Riverland helps develop skilled workforce

Published 6:36 pm Saturday, October 13, 2012

Column: President’s Column

A region’s economic vitality is directly tied to the availability of a skilled workforce. Riverland Community College is part of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. This system plays an essential role in developing workforce through:

1. Traditional, credit-based programs.

Kent Hanson

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2. Training for transitional, entrepreneurial and incumbent workers.

Within MnSCU, the name for the latter unit is Continuing Education/Customized Training, or CE/CT. Our college’s name for the unit is Riverland Training and Development.

Riverland Training and Development strengthens business, industry and public safety organizations through consultation, program development and customized training solutions. This rapid-response division works directly with employers and employees to develop and reinforce the existing workforce. Annually, we work with more than 450 companies and organizations across our region and online, serving more than 5,700 workers.

Riverland Training and Development comprises representatives who specialize in a number of industry sectors. These representatives collaborate with nearly 40 faculty and trainers in the areas of business and management development, health care, fire and emergency medical services, computer technology, industrial safety, transportation, trade and industry and community enrichment. Solutions often focus on efficient training on-site or at a college campus, according to the company’s schedule; continuing education units for employee professional development; skills competency and certification training; credit- or non-credit-based programming.

Because the Riverland Training and Development division is designed to be agile enough to respond quickly to market needs, business solutions can be developed for any type of industry. Extensive partnerships with nonprofit and government organizations, as well as other higher education entities, add to our ability to respond creatively and effectively.

Hallmarks of the Riverland Training and Development “formula” are to provide cost-effective services and solutions, grounded in real-world learning that are customized for the specific needs of an individual organization or an entire industry.

Recently, we hired Matt Bissonette as the new director of Riverland Training and Development. Matt has experience at Walt Disney and Jostens, in the nonprofit sector, as well as his own consulting practice working with executives and organizations. The unit has a renewed vision under his leadership. Matt is committed to bringing value directly to our communities by helping employers stay competitive and workers advance their skills and manage career changes.

Riverland Training and Development and the other CE/CT entities in the MnSCU system bring significant value to Minnesota. A MnSCU study in 2009 showed that while CE/CT, as a whole, consumes less than 1 percent of the system’s annual budget, they leverage revenue of more than $3.50 for every dollar invested — a great return!

For more information about Riverland Training and Development, you can contact Matt Bissonette by email at matt.bisonnette@riverland.edu or by phone at 800-247-5039.

Kent Hanson, Riverland Community College interim president, holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and a Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of North Dakota, and a Master of Science degree in Human Resource Administration from Central Michigan University.