Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

UCCS executive training program ready to broaden its reach

by WAYNE HEILMAN wayneh@gazette.com -by name the gazette - Published: October 14, 2013

It's time for a coming-out party.

For two years, an executive training program in the College of Business at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs has been quietly offering its services to a limited number of leaders in the health care and financial services industries.

Now, the Office of Professional and Executive Development is ready to market its training and development services to a wider audience, and is publicizing two upcoming events: a four-day workshop on "Managing and Writing Federal Proposals" and a two-day program on "Financial Reporting and Analysis for Commercial Lending Professionals."

The OPED office is helmed by Shawna Rogers, who was promoted in July to become its full-time director. For two years, Rogers had split her time between two jobs, working as project manager for OPED and a similar post at the El Pomar Institute for Innovation and Commercialization.

Before her shared roles at the two programs, Rogers was assistant to the director of the Colorado Springs Small Business Development Center from August 2009 to December 2011 and interim director in 2012. She supervised the day-to-day operations of the center, including support services, event planning and the coordination of training workshops for small business owners.

Rogers also serves as the staff adviser for the UCCS business school's Center for Entrepreneurship.

Rogers, 32, received a bachelor's degree in business administration in management from New Mexico Highlands University in 2006. She began the master's degree in business administration program in innovation management and marketing at UCCS a year ago and hopes to complete her degree in 2015. Before moving to the Springs in 2009, Rogers spent eight years as office manager for Bonham & Associates, a Farmington, N.M., drug and alcohol counseling center.

Rogers recently answered a few questions about the program in an email interview with The Gazette.

Question: What is the Office of Professional and Executive Development program?

Answer: OPED is an initiative of the UCCS College of Business to offer noncredit professional development and continuing education programs. Through this unit, the college can further support local organizations and develop the regional work force. OPED develops training programs specifically to meet the needs of the health care, finance-banking and defense-aerospace industries. We work with industry professionals and local organizations to research industry needs and to learn what topics would have immediate value and impact. Equally important, we believe, is that we provide opportunity for high-level training programs close to home, eliminating the substantial cost of travel and additional days away from the office.

Q. Why was the office started?

A. The dean of the UCCS College of Business, Venkat Reddy, has long had the vision for noncredit, executive education program offerings. In mid-2011, he had a conversation with Debbie Chandler, CEO of Colorado Springs Health Partners, who was looking for employee leadership training. She wanted high-level training programs, but did not want to absorb the cost of sending employees out of state.

In response, the college hosted a health care industry focus group of CEOs and leaders from area hospitals and health care organizations to discuss the specific needs of the industry.

A team of college faculty and industry leaders developed a training program specifically for the industry called "Leadership Development for Emerging Healthcare Leaders." The program began in September 2011, and the three-month training has since been offered six times with participants from Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Ca?n City.

In late 2011, OPED was formally launched to develop and execute continuing education and professional development programs.

Q. What types of training programs are offered?

A. Each program is tailored to a specific industry, and each incorporates project-based learning so participants can immediately apply what they have learned. OPED offers training for the public and custom programs.

The public training programs are offered on the UCCS campus and developed with local CEOs, human resource professionals and industry leaders to meet the needs of multiple organizations in the same industry. For example, OPED worked with several local banks and financial institutions to develop an accounting-based financial reporting training program specifically for commercial lenders and bankers.

Local leaders had input on training topics, timing and desired outcomes. The program began earlier this year.

For organizations that want an internal-only, customized training program, OPED helps them design such programs in consultation with an organization's leaders and key employees who identify topics, delivery format and program length.

Custom training programs can be offered in-house, at UCCS, or at another location. Programs can be offered companywide - with all staff and leadership involved - or only to a handful of employees or leaders.

Q. How do you see OPED evolving?

A. We envision working with other industries to develop targeted training, including the manufacturing, information technology-software and nonprofit sectors.

We are working on partnerships to offer targeted training internationally. We also plan to offer online training courses. During the next few years, we also envision becoming a destination for specialized training, where out-of-state professionals come for continuing education and professional development.

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Questions and answers are edited for clarity and brevity.

Contact Wayne Heilman: 636-0234 Twitter @wayneheilman

Facebook Wayne Heilman

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