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Management training critical for employers as baby boomers retire


Phil Leslie, Writer
University of Missouri Extension

Monday, October 06, 2014

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Source: Dewey Thompson, 573-882-2861

COLUMBIA, Mo.—Business management ranks are thinning across the country as the initial wave of baby boomers leaves the workforce. Consequently, U.S. employers are boosting training efforts to fill the management gaps left as boomers retire, according to human resource management groups.

An ongoing program with University of Missouri Extension helps private companies and public agencies address this impending management vacuum. The Missouri Training Institute’s four-day Supervisory Certificate Series introduces new and prospective managers to the fundamentals of supervising employees.

“We are seeing a growing demand for our services,” says Dewey Thompson, trainer and assistant director of MTI, a continuing education effort.

Thompson foresees employers competing more for management talent within their organizations as a result of generational transitions.

“There’s going to be a changing of the guard,” Thompson notes. “What are organizations doing to develop the leadership skills that are necessary for continued growth?”

During the 32-hour basic management class, Thompson focuses the attention of participants on such critical management techniques as coaching employees, building effective manager-employee relationships and developing solid communication skills.

Darcie Rehagen, a newly appointed manager in the Missouri Division of Professional Registration in Jefferson City, was one of the students in a supervisory certificate class that met on four successive Tuesdays in September.

“I’ve never been a supervisor before. This is a whole new roller coaster for me,” says Rehagen. “The training is very important. It gives me the tools that I know I need to address everything, from rewards to conflict resolution to just keeping the machine going.”

Thompson offers the Supervisory Certificate Series three times a year on campus at Cornell Hall, home of MU’s Trulaske College of Business. He also takes “the show on the road” when asked by employers and regional business groups throughout the state. Later in October, Thompson will head to West Plains to train a class of rookie managers from a variety of ventures in south-central Missouri. The request came from the Ozarks Small Business Incubator.

MTI also receives requests for return training engagements with repeat customers. One such firm is the Columbia-based Missouri Employers Mutual (MEM), a provider of workers’ compensation insurance to firms throughout the state.

Shann Sievers, MEM’s vice president of administration, took MTI’s supervisor training several years ago. He says MEM’s approach to management development focuses on finding potential managers within the company and then “giving them the tool belt” they need to perform well. Sievers and his staff rely on MTI to serve much of his firm’s fundamental management training needs.

“I feel the Missouri Training Institute has been very instrumental in training our supervisors and managers and giving them the ability to effectively lead and communicate,” says Sievers.

The human resources manager at MEM, Debbra Keener, notes her company has a young workforce. Keener’s office keeps MEM employees challenged with professional development opportunities, many of which come from MU Extension’s MTI training program.

MTI Supervisory Certificate Series Description

For 100 years, MU Extension has engaged Missourians in relevant programs based on University of Missouri research. The year 2014 marks the centennial of the Smith-Lever Act, which formalized the Cooperative Agricultural Extension Service, a national network whose purpose is to extend university-based knowledge beyond the campus.

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