News Cewd Workforce Summit Brings Local Business Leaders And Professionals Together To Discuss Employee Retention And More - Garrett College
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Campus News

November 1st, 2022

CEWD Workforce Summit brings local business leaders and professionals together to discuss employee retention and more

CEWD Summit

Garrett College hosted and co-sponsored with the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce a Continuing Education and Workforce Development (CEWD) Workforce Summit last Tuesday.

It’s no secret that companies have faced numerous workplace challenges, which include staffing shortages, employee retention, and generational differences, to name a few. Due to these issues, business leaders and professionals scramble to find solutions.

Garrett College’s Continuing Education & Workforce Development division, in partnership with the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, took initiative to start a conversation about these issues.

More than 50 human resources and management professionals from around the County came together last Tuesday at Garrett College for a Continuing Education and Workforce Development (CEWD) Workforce Summit. Participants discussed the internal challenges, successes and collaborative strategies that could address workforce issues.

Will Wrobleski, president of Garrett County Chamber of Commerce, introduced and welcomed guests to the summit.

"The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce appreciates the opportunity to partner with Garrett College for this Workforce Summit," said Wrobleski. "From Rod Bourn, the insightful keynote speaker, to presentations from local agencies, and a panel discussion with local business leaders, the summit provides a wealth of information and strategies to address the workforce issues facing our County.

"We look forward to future partnerships with Garrett College," continued Wrobleski. "I know that with collaboration with our community partners, we will continue to make progress for the betterment of our County’s employers and employees."

Julie Yoder, Garrett College’s CEWD dean, continued the opening by touching on a new scholarship opportunity available for non-traditional students. The GC Stars Scholarship is available to individuals interested in beginning or continuing their education via one of CEWD’s programs.

"Workforce shortages have emphasized the importance of employee retention for businesses in Garrett County and across the nation," said Yoder. "The Workforce Summit provides the opportunity for employers to learn about national and local trends, hear from their peers about best practices in retention efforts, and discover local resources to assist them and their employees.

"We were thrilled to offer this program in collaboration with the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce," added Yoder, "and look forward to providing additional programming to support employee retention."

Paul Edwards, chair of the Garrett County Commissioners, spoke about the importance of partnership and cooperation needed within the community to navigate these issues.

"We are fortunate enough, here in Garrett County," stated Edwards, "that our strength is being a community that works very well together, regardless of all the things that may try to divide us. We have always come together in Garrett County to do what’s best for Garrett County."

Keynote speaker Rod Bourn spoke from his perspective as founder and lead Ninja of Down, Set, Lead, a strategic consulting group focused on helping organizations grow their business and people through coaching. Bourn shared his wisdom and knowledge gained from working in organizational development and leadership programming positions in industries which include manufacturing, services, and higher education.

Bourn’s presentation covered generational differences in the workplace, employee retention, hiring, and more. He touched on everything from employee happiness and the importance of mentor programs to taking the time to carefully select the right member for your team when hiring.

A panel of local businesses and their representatives discussed their successes and challenges within the workplace, retention strategies, and shared resources they provide to their employees to help them prosper within their fields. Members of the panel included Brenda McDonnell and Jeany Blamble of Ace’s Run, Brenda’s Pizzeria, and Firewater & Traders; Hannah Laffin of Garrett Regional Medical Center; Chuck Olson of First United Bank & Trust; and Melissa Johnson of Beitzel Corporation.

Kurt Lear, director of Workforce Development within Garrett College’s CEWD office, shared insights on CEWD programming, and how CEWD aids in employee retention by providing businesses the opportunity to continue educating and developing their employees. Lear also announced two new programs coming to the Workforce Development division of CEWD, Electrical Apprentice and HVAC Apprentice programs.

Sprinkled within the presentation, local agencies provided insight on the services they provide to the community and how to navigate current issues within industries. Those included Western Maryland Consortium, Garrett County Department of Social Services, ACT Personnel Services, American Job Center - MD Department of Labor, and Garrett County Health Department. Each agency provided awareness on how their services can help local businesses with hiring, employee retention, and workplace challenges.

To learn more about classes being offered by CEWD to support employee retention efforts, as well as the new GC Stars Scholarship, please call Kaitlyn Glotfelty at 301-387-3770 or Kim Govi at 301-387-3084.