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Partnership streamlines TriMet training
Photos and Story by James Hill
by Chris MooreTriMet has expanded educational options for employees, reduced paperwork, and best of all, saved money, thanks to a new partnership between the agency and PCC’s Institute for Management and Professional Development (IMPD).For years, PCC has been one of several training providers at TriMet U, the agency’s management training program. In the past, the contract had to go through a tedious and time-consuming bid process. But the terms of a new intergovernmental agreement dramatically streamlined the process. PCC now provides about 70 percent of the offerings at TriMet U (the agency customizes or teaches the rest internally). Current courses range from business writing and conflict resolution to team building and customer service. TriMet U enrolls about 375 employees in 22 courses this term, which runs from February through June. Managers and administrative staff take the majority of the classes, but drivers and maintenance crew members also are welcome, as space permits. PCC teaches most classes on site for TriMet at their training facility on S.E. 17th Avenue, although some classes are set at the college’s Central Workforce Training Center near OMSI."It’s more cost-effective overall for us to do business with PCC,"says Shawna Woodall, TriMet employee programs coordinator. "PCC does most of the scheduling of instructors, and the classes and instructors receive high evaluations from participants. PCC offers a wide range of courses, too. We were able to offer 10 new titles through PCC this term."On-the-job training and college credit In addition to getting job-related training, employees receive an added benefit – college credit. Most classes are one-day, one-credit courses that can be applied toward state-recognized professional program awards, one-year certificates, or associate degrees. TriMet provides courses at no cost to employees, and content is identical to the institute’s on-campus offerings."Once they’ve earned some college credit, employees may decide to go on for more training,"says Sue Stephanson, IMPD corporate training specialist. "We can help them find the right career pathways and explain how many credits they need to reach their goals.""By having PCC provide classes at TriMet, we are offering our employees a great opportunity,"Woodall says. "They’re building their professional skills and earning credit toward a degree, all for no out-of-pocket cost."A closer look at TriMet UIn mid-April, a group of TriMet employees gathered at the agency’s training facility for a one-day class entitled, "Coping with Angry Feelings and Angry People."PCC’s Institute for Management and Professional Development offered the course. Taught by IMPD faculty member Linda Paulson, it focuses on how to cope effectively and constructively with anger. For people who deal with the public on a daily basis, this is essential training.To promote active involvement, Paulson breaks the day into short segments. Lectures are followed by small group discussions and hands-on-projects. Participants learn to identify what triggers anger, how to control it, and how to turn angry feelings into positive action."This is exactly the same class I teach at the PCC training center,"Paulson says. "By offering it at TriMet’s facility, it gives employees a chance to connect with one another and build relationships. It breaks down communication barriers and allows people to hear what’s going on in other departments."