Introducing One of The Ohio State University’s Best Kept Secrets

Participants in a leadership development program

      Alice Hutzel-Bateson, MA, Communications-Marketing Coordinator

For more than 22 years, The Ohio State University has operated an earnings center under the CFAES umbrella, partially funding that center through the Ohio State University Extension Community Development program.  Located on the Ohio State Marion campus, Alber Enterprise Center has customized training programs for hundreds of Ohio employers during those 22 years; in fact, since 2012, the Center has delivered 300 programs to 100 employers (from 20+ counties in Ohio) and thousands of their employees. This value-added service to the broader communities sets The Ohio State University above other land-grant universities, according to anecdotal comments we hear at national conferences. 

Through a small team (5 full-time staff + one student employee) and a group of vetted industry experts, Alber Enterprise Center provides customized organization development programs for small to mid-size organizations. Ohio small businesses (in general, 500 or fewer employees) employed 2.2 million people, or 46% of the private workforce, in 2015 (source: U.S. Census Bureau).  A good portion of those small businesses are located in rural communities – making this work very relevant to the Extension mission.

Our clients often share how the Center has helped move their organization toward greater success. Recently, our director, Myra Wilson, received an email from a retired Human Resources director of a long-time client, stating how much he appreciated “…the professionalism, partnership and valued support provided by you…and the entire Alber team over the past 20 years. The collaborative training accomplishments are too numerous to mention. All helped our manufacturing company sustain and improve our competitiveness.”

What makes Alber Enterprise Center distinctive is that we listen to employers; we assist them in uncovering their challenges and deliver creative solutions that impact their bottom lines, which, in turn, boosts the economy. And because we’re about building lasting relationships and making long-term impact, we continue our services to the company after the training, to support their efforts to change behaviors.

University departments, colleges and units are welcome to contact the Center to discuss staff/team development when the need arises. Recently, Ashley Gorden, director of student enrollment at Ohio State Marion, contacted Alber Enterprise Center and, in partnership with Shellie Shirk, who oversees Academic Advising, has scheduled a development workshop for the combined staff of 12 using the CliftonStrengths® assessment and follow-up program.

Client comments are really the best way to tell the Center’s story.  The human resources manager of a Marion manufacturing company spoke of his gratitude for the Center’s services. "The leadership development we went through with the Alber Enterprise

Center really opened our eyes on how to better lead our organization to success and why effective leadership is critical to the talent within our organization." 

Elder Care Certificate

One of the Center’s recent accomplishments is the development of the Elder Care Certificate program. after years of talking with people in the long-term services and supports industry about the critical challenges the industry faces, including a shortage of qualified employees. Another factor is that Ohio’s aging population is expected to increase from about 1.7 million today to over 2.7 million in 2032.

According to a recent report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation called Bridging the Soft Skills Gap, those skills include teamwork & collaboration; problem solving & critical thinking; organizational skills; interpersonal communication; leadership; work ethic & persistence; creativity; and relationship skills. To fill that soft skills gap, Alber Enterprise Center launched the non-credit Elder Care Certificate program with the topics of the basics of health and aging; personal effectiveness (work ethic and ethical behaviors); communication and quality care; working in teams; and personal leadership. This course is specifically aimed at upgrading these skills of the non-clinical staff, including activities coordinators, environmental services, maintenance, custodians, food service, van drivers, and others.  It would also benefit anyone who is working with elders for the first time.  We piloted the program with great success and many accolades, not only from the participants but also the sponsoring organizations.

For the 2019-2020 academic year, the Ohio Department of Education approved the Elder Care Certificate program for 4 points within the industry-recognized credential program for graduating seniors who may be interested in health care careers.

While the Center serves external clients throughout the state, perhaps your team has a need for a customized program to take you to the next level.  Our focus is on collaboration to uncover those areas for improvement, develop a solution that’s just the right fit, deliver that solution and follow up with your team for meaningful, long-term change.  Please contact us if you’d like to start a conversation. or 740-725-6325. Go Bucks!