When she was approached about applying for a grant, Paula Eckel, Vice President of Human Resources at Chase Corporation, a global manufacturer of protective materials for high-reliability applications based in Westwood, Massachusetts, was hesitant.
She knew there was usually a lot of paperwork and that the process could be cumbersome and complicated. That is when she was connected with AIM HR Solutions grant expert Kathleen Worthington. “Kathleen was honest with me,” says Paula. “She acknowledged that there were a lot of steps but said that she would help me all along the way.”
Kathleen and Paula held a strategy session. Armed with loads of data and knowledge about her organization along with whiteboard markers, Paula described the who, the what, the how, and when of her organization’s training needs. Kathleen helped her sort through the data and identify what was truly needed. “Kathleen and I just clicked,” says Paula. “I instantly connected with her. We spoke the same language.”
Then, effective on September 1, 2020, eligible Massachusetts businesses of any size became eligible to apply for the Express Grant administered by the Commonwealth Corporation’s Workforce Training Fund Programs. (The Express Grant was previously only available to small businesses with 100 or fewer employees.) *The Express Grant offers cash grants to businesses to cover up to 50% of the cost of training employees, to a maximum of $3,000 per employee per course. The Express grant program meant that it was possible to proceed with quicker and more comprehensive training for their supervisors and managers.
The application process took 10 minutes and approval happened quickly. When Paula opened up the training for registration, about 60 employees came to her saying they wanted to take the AIM HR Solutions Front-Line Leader Certificate series. “That’s three times more than I expected,” Paula acknowledges. Kathleen helped Paula identify how much training was required and the two programs that would best meet their needs (Front-Line Leader and Management Series). In fact, Chase Corporation has had a long-standing member relationship with AIM, so this was not the first-time employees had joined the Front-Line Leader Certificate Series.
“When I started here, there was unanimous feedback that AIM HR Solutions Front-Line Leader training was really good. Because of that employee feedback, I was comfortable signing up for more sessions. I have been around a while, and supervisory training is really varied. Usually, people do not come back from supervisory training saying it was good, to be honest! So, when people sought me out I knew there was something more and special there,” says Paula.
Chase Corporation is now finalizing the first of three privately held programs. Without the Express grant, Paula says the current level of training would not be possible. Progress is now being made on a larger global scale.