According to Statista, in 2019, North American corporations spent an estimated $169.4 billion on corporate training initiatives. In the United States alone, $82.5 billion was spent in 2020 on corporate training, despite the enormous limitations in travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every successful company needs training to evolve, improve performance and to embrace best practices that are happening around the globe. Corporate stagnation is a death knell, even for the smallest of small businesses. Knowledge, agility, and innovation are the fundamentals of survival.

In January 2020, the United Way of Northern New York opened our center of excellence, which offered affordable, professional training workshops and seminars to community organizations that recognized the need for basic and continuing education to improve their effectiveness and efficiency. Surprisingly for us, local companies and school districts also saw the value in this training, and sent their people, too.

Prior to the pandemic, we hosted four in-person symposiums: leadership and management; basic grant writing; corporate financial management; and media training. Like most educational institutions, we paused briefly during the initial phases of COVID-19 to transform our curriculum from an in-person learning environment, to an effective, virtual learning format. We then held on-line training sessions for organizational management, advanced grant writing, project management, strategic planning, conflict resolution, legal compliancy, self-care, and a nonprofit board member bootcamp.

Our curriculum for 2021 embraces a host of seminars that are applicable to many different professional industries: vicarious trauma training; succession planning; Microsoft Excel; media relations; supervision and employee performance plans; leadership and conflict management; annual operating planning; communications planning; Microsoft Word; using social media to maximize your company’s visibility; emotional intelligence and much more. Our instructors are best-in-class: local, vibrant, and successful professionals who stand out amongst their peers for excellence in their field of expertise, and nation-wide subject matter experts that bring a wealth of knowledge and experience into our businesses. The virtual training world has considerably lowered the bar of access for big and small companies to attain top-notch training. And the United Way’s center of excellence is making these offerings at a lower cost than larger training companies with all net proceeds going toward community impact. It’s a business model where everyone wins!

As the United Way has continually grown our courseware and educational offerings, we’ve had workshop participants from around New York state all the way to California. We’re planning future leadership cohorts and synchronous, asynchronous, and hybrid classes. Our goal is to integrate schools, industry, local government, and community stakeholders in an environment where the best ideas are embraced by the medical, environmental, business, educational and nonprofit sectors. Where community-level activities are collaborative and aimed at the highest return on investment for the entire group.

The United Way’s Community Impact Program facilitates an intimate understanding of each town’s, village’s, and school district’s challenges, and presents holistic solutions that encompass the entire community ecosystem. A healthy community is one where the economy, crime rate, school systems, arts, environment, and youth, senior and family activities provide a high quality of life for every resident. The United Way is committed to our role in achieving this goal through our community investments, center of excellence, and by bringing leadership and critical thought to the table without bias.

You can learn more about the United Way’s center of excellence and register for classes by going to www.nccne.org.

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