SLU opens new workforce training center to provide continuing education for professionals | St. Louis Public Radio

SLU opens new workforce training center to provide continuing education for professionals

Apr 11, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 11, 2013 - The executive director of Saint Louis University’s new state-of-the-art Center for Workforce and Organizational Development understands that the world of information technology stands still for no one. 

So even as she’s hosting an open house at her new training facility Thursday afternoon, Katherine Cain is already talking about the agility of the curriculum and how it will be evolving in the months ahead.

The center, located on the second floor of the university’s Wool Center at 3545 Lindell Blvd., offers a mix of professional development coursework, with a focus on IT.

“IT is in everything we do. It’s not a static environment," said Cain, who has worked in the IT education field for 20 years. "That’s what’s so fun about this industry. Where we are today is not where we’re going to be in six months or 12 months.’’ 

The center is part of SLU’s School for Professional Studies and will provide non-credit training and continuing education for busy professionals, said Cain who was hired by the university last fall. Certificates are offered in some subjects. Topics range from application development and project management to mobile development and cyber-security.

The facility features training rooms and computer labs -- both Windows and Mac – and a network lab. But instructors from the SLU center will also train workers onsite at their companies, a service that began in March, Cain said.

Among the center’s clients: Boeing, Ameren, Wells Fargo, SSM Health Care and Enterprise Holdings.

The center targets the area’s current workforce, not displaced workers, although the courses are open to the public, Cain said. For the most part, corporations pay the cost for students through tuition reimbursement. Day and evening courses will be offered, and the staff will work with companies to provide online classes for employees not in St. Louis.

The SLU center has partnered with the Roth Group, a computer training company that specializes in IT training.

“Our instructors are our product,’’ Cain said. “They are the best in the industry. They have a niche. They have real-life experience. Their skills are being challenged and they are always finding new and innovative ways in their expert area.’’

Cain said it is important to meet with local companies frequently to determine their ongoing needs.

“We want to hear what’s going on. That’s why we’re very involved in different organizations and user groups to find out about the hot topics. We ask. What are you looking for? Is there something missing that you don’t see on our schedule? We can develop that class,’’ she said.