Benefits of Encouraging a Culture of Continued Education

By: Thomas Carson
Founder & CEO
Sospes, LLC

Last week two of our employees continued their quests for life-long learning by completing OSHA 30 Hour General Industry courses. I am proud of both Stacey and Jason for making this commitment to our industry and their own professional development.

Stacey Godbold (Marketing), Jason Russin (VP of Sales)

My youngest daughter is about to complete a four-year degree largely for the specific purpose of landing a job. My Aunt Gladys years ago took art classes because she had always wanted to paint for sheer pleasure. The son of a friend enrolled in motorcycle classes to fulfill a licensing requirement. I used to work for a company in which all employees – from the owner to the receptionist – took HIPAA training as a condition of employment. Several folks I know have seemingly been in school non-stop for the last thirty years.

The point is that people pursue education for lots of different reasons ranging from personal pleasure to fulfilling legal requirements. The value of education is that you get to learn things you didn’t know. The value of credentials is that they are a handy way of summarizing to others what you are interested in and what you have accomplished.

Regardless of your motivation, continuous learning carries lasting benefits, many of which should be apparent in the context of the last six months. We have seen first hand that even in the best of times, stuff happens, situations change and our ability to survive and thrive may depend on how quickly we can learn to adapt to our new circumstances. We don’t have hard data on this yet, but workers who I know, for whom regular learning is a habit, have bounced back into new, and sometimes unexpected, situations pretty quickly.

Credentials that demonstrate regular learning can be helpful for landing on your feet. Dr. Roy Swift, the Executive Director of the American National Standards (ANSI) affiliate Workcred wrote last year that credentials accomplish two goals: they help businesses fill skills gaps and workers learn skills they need for today’s labor market. In manufacturing 69 percent of employers said credentials helped them identify qualified people. Fifty-two percent of employers believed employees with credentials required less on-the-job training, had a better work ethic, and had longer employment terms.

On a more personal level, when I interview prospective employees, I am always keen to know how candidates have arrived at our door. Do we represent just another job or is Sospes an exciting step in their own journeys of living? How far will that excitement take them in preparing for a career in a profession they may not have considered before finding us? Neither Stacey nor Jason had extensive prior experience with EHS before joining Sospes. But both brought habits of learning, interest in people and passion for our mission of making workplaces safer and more productive. Both are determined to excel in their contributions to our customer’s success. And those are not traits you can teach – they are part of your character that you demonstrate in part by habits of eagerness to learn.

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