As workforce development and training in Southwest Florida continue to appear in headlines throughout our region, the need for answers and solutions grows more urgent each day.
The need is continually articulated ranging from the narrow context of an employer’s access to suitable skilled labor to close a specific employment gap, to the broad context of enhanced regional economic development.
Hodges University has been and remains a key player in the discussion surrounding workforce development and training. Hodges has collaborated with Florida Gulf Coast University(FGCU) and Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW) as part of the regional Workforce Now research initiative to identify critical employment gaps and alignment between jobs and professional degrees offered.
One thing we discovered is a core need identified by many employers in the region for foundational skills training, and Hodges is directly addressing this training deficiency with our Professional Effectiveness Certificate (PEC) program.
Launching in fall 2018, the program is a competency-based certificate that prepares individuals with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to be successful in today’s workplaces. Hodges University faculty has developed this program to address this issue by working with major regional employers and workforce agencies, including Arthrex, Chico’s, and Lee Health, as well as with the FutureMakers Coalition, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, CareerSource of Southwest Florida, FSW, and the Lee County School District.
The curriculum development was funded by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and Hodges University.
Using employer input as well as information gathered from the Department of Labor (DOL) and O*Net online to serve as a guide, PEC is designed to improve an individual’s marketable skills and workforce competencies that are essential to even the fastest growing occupations. The PEC program serves as a market for individuals seeking employment and who want to improve their opportunity for an interview and success on the job, as well as employers in need of retraining their employees.
Students who enroll in the program complete five courses and can earn up to nine digital badges while mastering more than 40 competencies, which were defined and articulated by local employers. Once the individual demonstrates mastery of a specific competency and creates an e-portfolio upon successful completion of a hands-on designed assessment, he or she will earn a digital badge.
The program is fully customizable based on the needs of the employer or individual pursuing the certificate.
PEC program completers:
- Demonstrate the ability to give full attention to what others are saying through active listening skills.
- Use high-quality, professional written skills to project a positive image of the business.
- Demonstrate the importance of immediately acknowledging every customer in a friendly manner.
- Effectively handle unpleasant or angry customers.
- Consider culture when communicating with others.
- Demonstrate the ability to foresee problems, resolve conflicts, and prevent them from happening (problem-solving).
- Balance conflicting priorities in order to manage workflows, ensure the completion of essential projects, and meet critical deadlines (task management).
- Exhibit the ability to arrive on time (punctuality).
It may seem as if many of the above skills are elementary; however, employers in Southwest Florida – and indeed worldwide– continually report applicants lack some or all of these skills, making it difficult for their business or organization to thrive and succeed.
Hodges University is thrilled to be able to offer this truly first in the world educational product to the direct benefit of the Southwest Florida economy.
As a member of the Southwest Florida community, Hodges University will continue to play an integral role in providing opportunities and services to our local workforce. As we continue to work alongside higher education institutions and local employers, we believe collaboration is a key component of our region’s workforce development and economic opportunities.
To learn more about the PEC program, contact Hodges’ Office of Admissions at 800.466.0019.