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Amanda J. Billings
Executive Director of Marketing and Communications
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This Story is provided by The Herald Times

Workforce grants help Ivy Tech launch Bloom Marketing training program

Partnership will provide development courses to about 500 workers

By Mercedes Rodriguez 331-4370 |
March 21, 2008

Roughly 500 Bloom Marketing employees will take professional development courses under a new partnership with Bloom, Ivy Tech and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

At a news conference Friday at Ivy Tech, Ron Walker of the Bloomington Economic Development Corp. called the partnership “an investment in people.”

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development is providing two grants, totaling almost $400,000, to Bloom, which the company will match with its own funds. In turn, Ivy Tech and Bloom formulated a comprehensive training program for its managers and associates.

It’s a move that is helping WorkOne and the department of workforce development in “expanding as far as reaching out to the existing workforce and improving their skills,” said Richard Rampley, business services director of WorkOne. Rampley hopes that this initiative will not only benefit Bloom by improving employee performance and helping the company expand, but by hopefully increasing wages and helping workers move forward in their careers.

“Indiana Workforce Development is recognizing the value to the state of incumbent worker training,” Ivy Tech Chancellor John Whikehart said.

Walker also noted that Bloom’s presence brings to the community $21 million per year in personal income.

The workers, who will be taught by Ivy Tech faculty at Bloom’s facilities or at the school’s Liberty Drive branch, will receive credentials — Career Development Certificates and Bloom Services Associates Certificates. Classes begin in April.

According to Katrina Jones, Ivy Tech program manager, the associates will take classes in personal and professional development, customer service, computer skills, sales training and health insurance basics. Managers enrolled in Ivy Tech’s Management and Supervisory Institute will learn about conflict resolution, communication and other areas.

The school has offered smaller training program for Bloom before, and this program has been in the works for some time.

“In the spring of 2007, it was just an idea based on the understanding that there were several grants to apply for. ... (Ivy Tech’s) offerings and the state’s offerings just all blended together,” said Kathy Shepley, vice president of Human Resources for Bloom Marketing. It is unclear if the training program will mean more hiring at Bloom, with Shepley saying that hiring is performance and sales driven.

In addition to having more knowledgeable and efficient workers, Bloom hopes to improve employee retention with this move.

“We invest in them and hopefully, they’ll invest back in our company with a longer stay,” said Derek Foreman, Bloom’s vice president of operations.