Workforce Training and Development Center
The Workforce Training and Development Center (located in Hafer-Gibson) to support a workforce (faculty, staff, and students) training and development curriculum that includes:
- Orientation (e.g. new workers – staff or students);
- Technology (e.g. TRACY, SmartEvals (GAP), Labor Status Form Site, SOAR (Gradleaders);
- Professional Development (e.g. leadership, customer service, diversity...);
- Evaluation and Assessment (Supervisor level, Department level, Program level…).
In addition, supervisors, programs and departments can also utilize the center for training, webinars, or other venues that supports the workforce model.
New Supervisor Orientation
Human Resources work with the Labor Program to identify new hires/supervisors on campus. Likewise, departments should notify the Labor Program and Student Payments Office if a new labor supervisor is hired or if the responsibility is reassigned. Once identified, new faculty and staff supervisors- even if they are seasoned workers- are invited to participate in an orientation process. Using a variety of Labor Orientation materials, supervisors are provided an overview of the Labor Program, including the Labor Enrollment Agreement, Status Form – Position Participation Agreement, student placement, position descriptions, and labor program policies, as well as other pertinent information for those who are new to student supervision. In addition, an overview of the scholarship payment process is presented along with relevant handouts. This orientation is also open to faculty and staff who are not supervisors, and to students who will participate in student supervision through their labor positions.
A variety of development opportunities are available to supervisors throughout the year. A luncheon series known as Lunch and Learn Training Series invites supervisors and others to learn about best practices in student labor, to discuss common issues related to student development, and to highlight programs that support learning, labor and service on campus and beyond. In addition, Coffee & Cream Chats are held monthly with labor supervisors across campus.
The Labor Program Office partners periodically with other campus organizations, including Human Resources and the Career Development Office. Development activities can be tailored to individual or department needs. Contact the Training and Learning Assessment Specialist in the Labor Program ext. 3032 for more information.
During the 2018-19 Academic year, several training opportunities will be available to support continued development projects in the Labor Program such as the transition of S.O.A.R. from the CSO system to GradLeaders. Details will be announced to the campus community periodically.
First year students are provided a general overview of the Labor Program during summer orientations known as "Summer Connections" and again during the Fall Orientation that includes labor related topics. The last day of Fall Orientation (typically the Tuesday before classes begin on Wednesday) includes a Labor Program mandatory training session and time is allotted for labor departmental orientation and/or training. As well, Labor Departments are encouraged to utilize this last day of fall orientation to require continuing students to attend department orientation and/or training sessions which includes using the department controlled afternoon session to introduce the 1st year student to the other student workers and begin the process of integrating the new members into the department’s workforce. In addition, the labor program may offers several afternoon training sessions that can be utilized by labor departments. Notification will be sent to supervisors through campus e-mail.
Important to Note: Continuing students can be scheduled to work and attend department orientation or training sessions on the “Continuing Students Arrive” day. This day falls on the last day of fall orientation, which is the day before the start of classes
In subsequent weeks after the start of the term or summer period, supervisors should establish clear expectations for the workplace and for the specific positions- including not only position responsibilities and the evaluation process, but topics such as scheduling, timekeeping, absence reporting, etc. Some methods of addressing these issues include a department flyer or handbook, a signed agreement (especially if confidentiality is a factor), a presentation, or a poster displayed in the workplace.
Labor supervisors should not expect students to arrive on the position with all pertinent knowledge and professional skills, but should take an active role in developing their abilities and integrating them into the workforce. Setting clear expectations is critical to good communication and creates a foundation that can be used to assess student progress throughout the year.
Departmental Labor Meetings
The purpose of the departmental labor meeting is to provide dedicated time for planning, reflection, team-building, and training. It is also a forum for students to learn more about the Labor Program and about their specific labor assignments. Departmental labor meetings are generally led by supervisors, mentors, or invited guests. The Labor Program Office can assist by facilitating activities and discussion on general topics such as team-building, communication, conflict resolution, ethics, delegation, and leadership, as well as topics specific to individual labor departments (e.g., customer service). In addition, the Labor Program Office can coordinate training efforts so that departments who have similar needs are able to share in joint training experiences.A list of departments willing to present at labor meetings is available on the Labor Office website. The Labor Program Office also provides supervisors with calendars focusing on soft skills that can be emphasized at labor meetings.
Each Tuesday from 4:00pm – 5:00pm is reserved for departmental labor meetings and no other academic, athletic, or College requirements should be scheduled at that time. While departments may elect to hold meetings at alternate times, this is the only hour that is reserved campus-wide for this purpose and to avoid any conflicts that may arise. Students should not be penalized if they aren't able to attend a departmental meeting outside the protected Tuesday hour from 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
On-the-job training is provided by the labor supervisors and mentors, as they are the experts in the work of the department. Even so, the Labor Program Office is happy to consult with department leaders to improve or enhance internal training programs and to connect departments for exploration of best practices.
The Labor Program Resource Library contains a variety of useful materials and resources for personal and group development. Subject categories include: teambuilding, worker training, professional development, communication, diversity in the workplace, conflict resolution, leadership, customer service, meeting facilitation, time management, and ethics, as well as a variety of activity books that stimulate ideas for presentation. The Labor Program Office utilizes a computerized check-out process and invites interested persons to request specific materials or to browse the titles in Hafer-Gibson - Workforce Training and Development Center. For more information about the resource library please contact the Training and Learning Assessment Specialist ext. 3032.
Mediation and Conflict Management
Conflict occurs when individuals or groups are not obtaining what they need or want or are seeking their own self-interests. Sometimes, the individual is not aware of his/her need. Other times, the individual is very aware of what he/she needs and actively works at achieving a goal. Many cycles are involved in conflict and not all conflict is bad. Conflict is essential to change.
Mediation occurs when there is an inability to achieve some type of resolution without assistance from a neutral individual. Typically, individuals in conflict agree that mediation is necessary. The Labor Program Office encourages labor supervisors and students to resolve conflicts internally, but offers to serve as a resource if resolution isn’t obtainable. The Five Step Mediation Process is more widely used than other processes due to its simplicity.
The process is listed as follows:
- Introductions and Opening Conversations;
- Telling Their Stories;
- Parties Communicate;
- Brainstorming and Decision Making; and
- Agreement Writing/Closing.
Whenever a conflict is presented to the Labor Program Office, we will consider both sides of the situation and determine what type of resolution is appropriate based upon expressed needs and desires. This process may include individual or group consultations and will emphasize the development of positive conflict management techniques. Contact the Director of Labor or the Student Labor Specialist to arrange meetings with appropriate Labor Program Staff.
Websites and Other Resources
A complete list of resources pertinent to Berea College's Labor Program is available on the labor program website.