UAW Certification Graduation Tomorrow
The first graduation ceremony for Michigan Tech employees enrolled in a program conducted by Michigan Tech and Gogebic Community College will be held Friday.
The ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. Friday in the Wadsworth Hall Annex. Twenty-four members of UAW Local 5,000 at Michigan Tech participated in the two-year program and will be awarded certificates.
The program was established in March of 2014 when Tech President Glenn Mroz along with the UAW University Negotiation Team and Local 5,000 leadership, worked collaboratively to establish a UAW certification program to support professional development of University staff, one of the goals of Tech’s Strategic Plan.
Mroz says the University Senate takes an annual survey to evaluate the president and the general climate of the University. “The idea for the program was born when the results of the 2013 survey showed many staff felt they needed more education to be promoted in their jobs,” Morz said.
In that survey, nearly 80 percent of UAW members indicated interest in taking an education course specific to the UAW and Michigan Tech and said they would be interested in a Michigan Tech-specific master certification program to help improve their work and job opportunities on campus.
Mroz said a small group representing Human Resources and the UAW got together. “They did some additional survey work of UAW members and their supervisors to identify needs, and worked with both people on our campus as well as faculty at Gogebic to put together the course sequence,” he said.
Dawn Pichette, administrative aide in University Marketing and Communications, is among the first graduates. She said the program was worthwhile, especially for those employees who were relatively new to Michigan Tech.
“The material that was covered, and the way in which it was presented was very useful to professional development. The material was Michigan Tech specific but was presented in a context from outside the University, which was interesting and helpful,” Pichette said.
The four course offerings were Microsoft Suite, Social Media, Business Communication and a Michigan Tech-specific course.
UAW Locall 5,000 President Amanda Cadwell said she is pleased with the way the program has developed.
“I think this has been a wonderful chance for UAW employees to sharpen their skills and learn some new things,” she said.
Cadwell said in addition to the specific skills taught in the program, the overall experience was beneficial on several levels.
“This was a chance for us to get to know each other. Many of us work together through email or on the phone, and this program gave us a change to but a face to the voice. It has also built great and stronger working relationships.”
Cadwell said the program is ongoing with strong numbers in classes. “In the fall of 2014 there were 76 employees enrolled in courses. Last spring there were 62, last fall there were 65 and currently 60 employees are enrolled. Those are pretty good numbers. “
Mroz said the collaboration between a community college and a university was successful. "Its the kind of cooperation that is unique to our area, and we are thankful for and proud of the people who have been the pioneers in the program."
GCC President James Lorenson said collaboration between the two institutions is not something new.
"We have collaborated for years, especially in ensuring the successful transfer of students and curriculum alignment," Lorenson said.
"The UAW Certification Project is another example of how two institutions can work together to strengthen our employee skills, create new opportunities and share resources. We are all stronger by working together, and we better serve our respective constituents and the Upper Peninsula by doing so."