Ohio opening skills centers online
- By Brian Robinson
- Apr 26, 2002
Ohio's expected launch of its pilot SkillsMax centers in May will mark the
beginning of one of the most extensive uses of the Web to offer workers
and college students a way to make sure their skills meet employers' demands.
The SkillsMax centers are the latest addition to the EnterpriseOhio
Network (www.enterpriseohio.org), a 16-year-old
network of public two-year colleges.
Individuals will use the centers to help them with career decisions,
perform job searches and find appropriate education, while employers can
use them to help with recruiting, hiring, training and promotion.
This kind of skills training and development has been used by larger
companies for some time, said Matt Stencil, director of the network's SkillsMax
Resource Centers, but has typically been out of the reach of the small and
medium-size companies that make up the vast majority of Ohio's businesses.
"So, to help their workforce development, we decided to bring this in
at a [state] programmatic level," he said. "It's the use of the Web that
makes the delivery of these services to these small and medium-size companies
much more effective."
For example, he said, a company's human resources staff will be able
to go to a SkillsMax site to monitor how their employees are doing in their
training, and employees will be able to use the Web to manage their own
skill competencies, to better target the kind of education and training
they need, and to update and write resumes.
Ohio is one of only a few states that have considered this kind of Web-based
service, said Kim Woodward, vice president of strategic marketing for Saba
Software Inc., which provided the integrated Internet-based learning platform
for the SkillsMax centers. It's the company's first statewide implementation,
although it has provided similar solutions for federal agencies and for
foreign governments in Norway, Scotland and the Netherlands.
In the United States, "there's not really been a focus yet on this kind
of application, though there's a basic understanding of their need," she
The first 10 SkillsMax centers will open in May and June, and then EnterpriseOhio
Network officials will see what is needed to expand centers to the rest
of the network's 55 college campuses, Stencil said.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.