Creasy to help future workers
by DELANEY WALKER, Banner Staff Writer
Sep 20, 2012 | 3138 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The National Association of Manufacturers recently reported 82 percent of manufacturers cannot find qualified workers. Cleveland State Community College is determined to lower the number in Bradley County and surrounding areas.

Rick Creasy, director of Workforce Development, was recently hired with 32 years of sales and marketing under his belt. The ex-Philadelphia resident said he wants to make a difference at Cleveland State.

“There is an opportunity here to work with employers. I am kind of switching sides in a way. I hired in my previous job, so now I am going to help students become employed,” Creasy said. “I was working within the private sector before and am now in the public domain.”

The first step in making marketable employees is identifying what industries in the area require from students, Creasy said. He will perform a needs analysis on the industries in Bradley County and surrounding areas.

“We want to know specifically where the gaps are in a student’s education. Then we want to develop specific training that is tied into the industry’s standards,” Creasy said. “We want employers to tell us what competencies are needed for their jobs.”

A needs analysis will reveal the overall knowledge needed for a particular industry. Creasy and his team will then develop a module designed to educate students in a particular subject area. These lessons could range from the highly technical to soft skills like proper communication in the workplace.

“We want to equip and prepare student with the higher level skills and education requirements that employers now demand,” Creasy said. “... What they are finding is when students leave college, they are unable to go in and start doing their job on day one.”

Students will be able to see the areas they are lacking in by taking their own assessment. Their answers will be analyzed and their results will correlate to specific skill areas. Lessons will potentially be available via online lessons, paper-based instruction, and individual training.

“This is a value-added program at Cleveland State that we want to use to enhance our students’ chances of receiving a job,” Creasy said.

According to recent polls, unemployment rates are 2 percentage points higher in large metro areas with a shortage of educated workers. The American Hospital Association estimates a need for 126,000 nurses nationwide. Creasy said Cleveland State is determined to find the needs and provide the subsequent education for students.

“I think this will be successful if we can accurately determine what the learning gaps are and which competencies we are missing,” Creasy said. “We need to really do a thorough job of the needs analysis to understand the employer’s job.”

Creasy is working hard to move the project from speculation to results, an online platform, and perhaps, a student assessment center. He will put together a team in time and hopes portions of the online platform will be up by spring semester 2013. Updates will be made to the program as new components become available.

“The full product that we want will probably not be ready until next semester. It should definitely be complete by the fall semester. As soon as we understand what the employer specifically wants, then we will be able to start adding to the program,” Creasy said.

According to Creasy, Cleveland State is leaning toward calling the program OneSource Workforce Readiness Center, at this time. Creasy has been working with the marketing department and the academic team to make sure the program is seamless and integrated into all CSCC does.

The center will be open to all students on the Cleveland State campus, regardless of major. Creasy is looking to encourage alliances, partnerships, and relationship linkages between CSCC and surrounding employers. These include Amazon and Volkswagen, as well as local employers like hospitals.

Creasy is currently busy scheduling interviews with local employers, in addition to shaping the program. It is likely he will find the time to answer any of the questions the Board of Regents may have for the new director while members are in town.

“If the employers look favorably on Cleveland State, then that is going to help the students when they apply for jobs,” Creasy said. “Employers will know we prepare quality students.”