IU Northwest’s Center for Professional Development delivers in-demand business skills to employers and employees

By: Indiana University Northwest Last Updated: February 5, 2020

Gary, Ind. – Problem-solvers. Relationship-builders. Project management pros.

These are the experts the business community needs in Northwest Indiana. These are the experts that professionals in the region need to be in order to land jobs and advance their careers.

The Center for Professional Development at Indiana University Northwest is the answer to fulfilling those needs on both sides of the desk.

Through its independent certification programs and training programs, the Center provides an additional option for career training for those not currently enrolled in a four-year or graduate degree program, or for others looking to further tailor their degree. Depending on the course, the duration ranges anywhere from a few hours to 15 weeks.

The Center is part of IU Northwest’s School of Business and Economics, and thus, taps into the world-renowned resources of the School, which is accredited by AACSB International, a credential held by only 15 percent of business schools in the nation.

The region’s employers readily report the value of the Center’s training programs and appreciate the skills that their employees ultimately bring to their respective workforces. Area professionals tout the benefits of the programs and share how their careers have been transformed.

The fast skills solution

The Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO), for instance, recommends the affordable. high-quality programs to its employees.

“The availability of training like this is a win-win for both the employer and the employee,” said Michael Suggs, director of Integration Planning and Corporate Engagement. “Our professionals come back to work equipped with additional skills that contribute to the overall efficiency of the company.”

Others, like Wayne Kolweier, appreciate the merits of learning from others’ experience, rather than trial-and-error.

When Kolweier first started his sales career, he was making calls while riding in a car with his district supervisor. After listening to a couple of failed calls, the seasoned manager asked Kolweier to pull over. He explained that his approach needed to focus more on the customer than the product, a common pitfall for new salespeople.

This nuance stuck with Kolweier, who is now a senior sales consultant with Dale Carnegie of Chicago, architect of one of the Center’s offerings, “Winning with Relationship Selling.”

Small business savvy

Versie McClay Chatman is a master’s-prepared social worker who moved to Gary six years ago to work for a social service agency. She yearned to do more for her Gary clients than she could in her role there.

She launched Garyside.com, an online community resource for Gary residents. But before diving into entrepreneurship, Chatman wanted to become as educated as she could be about what it takes to succeed. She enrolled in the Small Business Academy (SBA) offered by the Center each year because she wanted to learn all the aspects of starting a business first, as opposed to leaping right in.

“The academy taught me the importance of having a business plan and how to create one,” she said. “The program’s mentors coached me through stumbling blocks as I was experiencing them. Best of all, the SBA instructors give you the tools and know-how you need to avoid costly mistakes and head in a profitable direction from the start.”

Problem-solvers needed? Center for Professional Development training delivers

Lean Six Sigma (LSS) is a methodology that provides the strategy, tools and techniques to significantly improve the performance of an organization relative to processes, services, employees, customer satisfaction and the business bottom line. It combines the concept of Lean, which focuses on the elimination of waste and non-value added activities, with the structured, data-driven analytical tools of Six Sigma.

Jim Waters learned about the Lean Six Sigma approach as part of the Weekend MBA program at IU Northwest. Since then, the LSS methodology has been added as one of the independent certifications offered by the CPD.

“Six Sigma provides a systematic approach to problem identification and solving. Because my career relies heavily on problem solving, having a structured tool is invaluable,” said Waters. “It provides me with a competitive advantage over my peers in that I have applied a world-renowned discipline to my work.”

Project management training is also offered through the Center this spring.

“The Foundations of Project Management course is ideal for professionals who hope to become involved in planning, executing and controlling projects for their companies. It’s a great first step toward securing that first project management role with any company,” said Jana Szostek, director of the CPD. “I find that companies looking to hire project managers are impressed with applicants who have had formal training in the topics we cover. It is even better if the employee takes the next step and passes the Certified Assistant in Project Management (CAPD) certification exam, because that is a credential which definitely gets the attention of hiring managers.”

A subject for every business need

Additional programs on a variety of subjects are available throughout the year. The CPD also offers courses in Microsoft Office, Sexual Harassment Prevention and Investigations, Foundations of Finance, data analytics, and more.

To learn more about the Center for Professional Development at IU Northwest, including the spring 2020 certifications, visit iun.edu/center-for-management-development.

About the School of Business and Economics
The region’s longest-running AASCB-accredited public business school, the School of Business and Economics initially earned this certification in 2004. AACSB Accreditation is widely regarded as the highest level of accreditation for business schools. Only 15 percent of business schools domestically and less than 5 percent of business schools internationally earn this prestigious certification of quality. Because of its AACSB International accreditation, the School offers its high achieving students membership in Beta Gamma Sigma, the International Business Honor Society.