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Issue Date: October 2005 Issue


Building a Better Community

Cuyahoga Community College


Myra Orenstein

As Cuyahoga Community College’s Corporate College launches new programs on both sides of town, its buzzwords are “leadership,” “entrepreneurship” and “increasing productivity.”

The Entrepreneurs on the Cuyahoga program targets college students and recent graduates. The Health and Productivity Institute at Corporate College, a partnership with Oswald Cos., is designed for employers; while Leadership Boot Camp, a coordinated program offered by the YWCA of Greater Cleveland and Corporate College, is designed to prepare women for executive-level leadership.

Waging its own battle against brain drain, Entrepreneurs on the Cuyahoga will be the first program of its kind in the nation to be dedicated to a region rather than a specific field, according to Anne Blum Hach, director of the Key Entrepreneur Development Center of Corporate College. “We’re not concerned where you came from, but we want to make sure you stay here,” she says.

The program incorporates a course designed to help participants explore the makings of a successful entrepreneur, workshops focusing on developing a personal business vision, an entrepreneur boot camp encouraging students to come home to start their businesses by exposing them to the entrepreneurial opportunities in the community, and a summer intensive workshop open to college-aged juniors.

“Many recent college graduates are starting their own businesses,” says Dr. Denise Reading, Corporate College president. “Corporate College and the Key Entrepreneur Development Center decided to focus on this trend to encourage young students to work toward their dream of owning their own business in the Cleveland area. This program will provide training, resources and contacts to students that they otherwise may not have known existed.”

For those already in business, Corporate College and Oswald Cos., a pioneer for integrated, strategic benefits and health-management solutions, offer employers new approaches to contain their rising health-related costs and strategies designed to engage employees in “win-win” health solutions.

“This will result in significant increased value in their total investment for employee health,” says Reading.

During the past three years, this information hit home for the college. Its own health-management initiatives saved more than $325,000 in medical claims. “The institute’s model capitalizes on the strengths of Tri-C’s program by blending it with the uniquely integrated strategic benefits and health-management solutions provided by Oswald Cos.,” says Debra Dailey, executive director of the Health & Productivity Institute.

“Employers can ill afford to view health-related expenses as simply ‘the cost of doing business.’ To do so in today’s economy is a critical mistake. It ignores our most fundamental asset — our people — and the remarkable benefit that a sustained commitment to health management can have on our productivity and prosperity of our organizations,” says Eric Krieg, senior vice president of group benefits at Oswald Cos.

Employers will also take note of Leadership Boot Camp, the first structured leadership program designed especially for women. A nine-month program designed to prepare women for executive-level leadership through position-appropriate developmental education, it is designed for women with two to 10 years of career experience who have been identified as potential leaders by their employers. Fifty participants were chosen for the program.

Meeting once a month for half-day sessions at the Corporate College’s East Campus, they will learn about leadership styles and skills and create strategic life and career plans. The course runs from Sept. 16 through May. Program topics include developing an individual strategic life and career plan, presenting with confidence, understanding the bottom line, entrepreneurial skills and the importance of ethics and trust.

“The Leadership Boot Camp is a great way for executives to invest in their employees and company,” says Barbara Danforth, executive director of the YWCA of Greater Cleveland. “By training women for executive leadership positions, companies can develop balanced management teams capable of understanding the advantages of gender differences and leadership styles — all skills necessary to run an efficient organization in today’s business world.”

 


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