Brandman in the Community

Premier Partners and university learn from each other

March 23, 2016 by Cindy O'Dell
Premier Partners Council meeting

Tracy Price of QMerit talks with Brandman University’s Premier Partners Advisory Council about workforce trends.

When Brandman University partners with a business or organization, it looks for ones which share the university’s values, most importantly the importance of higher education and lifelong learning. Some of those partners form Irvine’s Premier Partners Advisory Council and they offer their organizations’ feedback about what they need from university graduates.

This week they gathered on the Irvine campus to hear from Tracy Price and Greg Lush of QMerit, about workforces in transition. QMerit is an offshoot of another Premier Partner, ABM Services.

Attendees answered questions from Carol Howard, director of the School of Extended Education, about the gaps in their organization’s talent development and how they solve the problem.

Dr. Loren O’Connor, assistant vice chancellor for Accessible Education and Counseling Services, explained Brandman’s approach to accessible education and how it could impact those employees with disabilities and in need of counseling services through education.

And they heard from Katy Curameng, director of Career Services, who showed them how they can connect with Brandman students and alumni through the Career Services portal.

Timothy Chaplin from Big Brothers, Big Sisters (center) asks a question during the Premier Partners Advisory Council meeting in Irvine.

Timothy Chaplin from Big Brothers, Big Sisters (center) asks a question during the Premier Partners Advisory Council meeting in Irvine.

Price explained how his QMerit’s algorithmic approach when working with point-of-service employees helps those employees improve. A point system provides continuous feedback and helps the company “match” employees to the right jobs.

Today’s workforce, said Price, wants to do better, they want to know how to do better and they want fairness. Once-a-year reviews do not provide that information needed by both those assigning work and those providing services to clients. It’s particularly critical in home healthcare setting but he thinks it’s a trend that can personalized to a variety of industries.

Howard highlighted a variety of statistics that showed the disconnect between what employers want in new hires – soft skills such as both written and verbal communication skills, emotional intelligence and critical thinking – and what they think they’re getting.

That can lead to high turnover rates, and she touted the value of training existing employees to reduce turnover and ultimately save money. Among the gaps in training mentioned by the advisory group were skills needed by technically proficient workers moving into management positions, communication skills for coping with difficult situations, coaching skills and developing in-house coaches.

Brandman’s Premiere Partners represent a variety of organizations, said Matt Venegas, assistant vice chancellor of Corporate Relations and Strategic Business Development for the Southern California. Those include nonprofits, government agencies and financial institutions as well as representatives from the auto industry, food and entertainment and healthcare.

Diana Cabori-Strain, senior manager of Community and Corporate Relations, said the partnership program is one of the ways the university invests in the community.

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