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Datamyne Blog

Covering trade & transport, with tips on using import-export data to advantage

Basking in the Glow

Category: Resources

When employees burnish credentials, employers can benefit

by Bill Armbruster, blog anchor

In my last column, I examined relatively low-cost ways to burnish trade credentials from the perspective of employees, focusing primarily on continuing education in the form of seminars and conferences.

In this column I’m going to look at education from the employers’ viewpoint.

Obviously, there’s a tremendous overlap. Everyone from billing clerks to chief executives can benefit from increased education, whether it’s a one-hour training session on new technology, an MBA program, an executive seminar, an online course, a trade association conference, a business club dinner, or a webinar. The latter events can help you stay abreast of industry developments and gain insights from the perspective of others at different points in the chain of relationships that make up import-export trade.

Drawing on the experience of its members and active engagement in industry issues, trade groups offer especially valuable education opportunities. One such is the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. Its annual global conference attracts more than 3,000 people and has two dozen tracks. Its CSCMP University lists 22 different course “bundles” in six major categories, with 9 to 18 courses within each bundle. In addition, CSCMP has more than 100 local roundtable groups around the world, including 10 in Asia.

There are also private companies that offer specialized training in trade and logistics. The World Academy, for example, offers an extensive array of courses around the country on topics such as C-TPAT security, customs valuation, trade compliance, and hazardous materials training. World Academy also offers on-site training where instructors will teach courses for a company’s employees at a location chosen by the company.

Many academic institutions, such as Baruch College, part of the City University of New York, offer continuing education courses in trade and logistics that may last six or eight weeks, as well as executive MBA programs for executives with full-time jobs.

An increasing number of programs at all levels are offered online, which can be cheaper and are certainly far less time-consuming.

Cost-benefit analysis

Many employers foot all or part of the bill for their employees’ job-related educational programs. Naturally, employers will want to weigh the costs of employee education against the potential return on investment. A chief benefit to employers would be more productive performance from more knowledgeable, better trained employees. Improved morale and stronger loyalty to the employer on the part of employees who appreciate the opportunity to advance their education are less tangible benefits, but they can contribute to measurable gains, such as reduced employee turnover. Visibility at trade group events and networking opportunities might also be counted as benefits to the employer as well as the employee.

The costs vary widely, depending on the nature of the program and the organization.

Webinars can offer the best value, both in terms of content and cost. Many of them are free, at least for organization members, or if you do have to pay, the fee is generally under $100.

CSCMP University courses are $950 for members and $1,095 for non-members.

The registration fee for the American Association of Exporters and Importers Annual Conference and Expo in New York (* coming up June 6-7) ranges from $700 to $925, depending on whether you a member or non-member, whether you signed up for early-bird registration, and how many people from your company are attending. If you’re from out of town, you can easily be looking at two or three times that amount, depending on your travel and hotel costs – and New York hotels aren’t cheap.

On the other hand, a business club dinner meeting may cost no more than $50. Is it worth it? It all depends. If you’re paying for one of these events out of your own pocket, you will be more conscious of the cost. But if you’re looking for a job, it may be a very worthwhile investment in making contacts and turning up fresh leads.

The bottom line from my perspective is that continuing education, whatever the form, offers great benefits for both employers and employees. Sure, a cost-benefit analysis is in order when selecting the form – but there are more than enough low- to moderate-cost options to enable just about anyone employed in import-export trade to burnish their credentials.

About Bill Armbruster

Bill Armbruster, the anchor for the Datamyne Blog has covered shipping and trade for 30 years as a reporter and editor with The Journal of Commerce and Shipping Digest. “I’ll be blogging on headline news and current issues in oceangoing commerce, trying to shed some light on the backstories and, wherever I can, supply some sound advice for shippers.” Write Bill care of [email protected].

The opinions expressed in this article are those of its author and do not purport to reflect the opinions or views or Descartes Datamyne. In addition, this article is for general information purposes only and it’s not intended to provide legal advice or opinions of any kind and my not be used for professional or commercial purposes. No one should act, or refrain from acting, based solely on this article without first seeking appropriate legal or other professional advice.

Date posted: May 19, 2011

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