Investment Versus Expense

Kara HabrockI recently went to an excellent seminar. I belong to a CEO peer group, and we meet once a month. Regular attendance is encouraged if you want to stay in the group, and I really enjoy this peer group, so I always try to go. The speakers are lined up way in advance and I must admit, I went in with low expectations for a presentation on “creating a company culture that is customer focused versus product focused.” Once again, I thought, these speakers just don’t get my “sales model,” or my “clients.”

But I was pleasantly surprised when the focus of this seminar was about human capital, strategic versus tactical human resources and bringing value to my employees. I came back to my office re-energized about workforce development, education and training. I concluded that if I can get a better handle on this in my company, a lot of other issues will work themselves out! We need to stop thinking of workforce development, education and training as only an expense, and start thinking of them as an investment as well. Sure, investments can be risky. But as the seminar speaker said,

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“Do you train them and take the risk they quit, or not train them and take the risk they stay?”

On behalf of its members, NUCA is heavily investing in both workforce development and education. Both initiatives are on the three-year strategic plan. Workforce Development and Education are also both standing committees that are doing fantastic work. I’ve participated in conference calls for both committees and have been very impressed with the enthusiasm, ideas and discussion.

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So, make an investment in your company’s leaders and send them to the NUCA Fall Leadership Conference (FLC) Oct. 17-19 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It’s an ideal opportunity to learn about workforce development, education and training. The Workforce Development Committee will be holding its meeting. The luncheon keynote speaker Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Marianne Watson, who represents Center for America, will discuss the organization’s American Jobs for American Heroes (AJAH) program, which, among many things, helps match skills of unemployed National Guard members, veterans and spouses to skilled jobs in the private sector.

At the FLC, you will have the opportunity to meet Jim Stepahin, who has joined the NUCA national office as director of Education and Training. Jim has significant experience in association management and in identifying opportunities in education and training programs. He is working to expand NUCA’s educational programs based on member needs. Jim is the NUCA staff liaison for the Education Committee, which will also meet during the FLC.

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And, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Government Relations Committee will also be meeting at the FLC and that workforce development, education and training are a primary focus of NUCA’s advocacy efforts. NUCA’s calls for less regulation and more support for career and technical education are being heard! There has been movement on legislation in the House and an Executive Order from the President regarding career and technical education. You’ll want to attend this meeting, get an update and get briefed on what you can do to help!

The committee meetings I have mentioned above meet at different times during the FLC, so you can attend all three! These are open meetings and you do not have to be a member of a committee to attend any national committee meeting. Several other NUCA committees will also meet. See the full schedule on the NUCA website at

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Looking beyond the FLC, don’t forget the investment opportunity coming up Nov. 1-2 in St. Louis. The NUCA Safety Directors Forum will cover topics such as training non-English-speaking workers, one-call/damage prevention, evaluating effectiveness of training, distracted driving liability and what to do from a legal perspective when things go wrong. Investing in the education of the person/people who keep your employees and operations safe is without a doubt the wisest investment you can make.

In the words of my fellow Nebraskan, investor Warren Buffet, “price is what you pay, value is what you get.” Pursue the value from workforce development, education and training, and always be #NUCAproud.

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Kara Habrock
NUCA Chairwoman of the Board
L.G. Roloff Construction Co. Inc. | Twitter: @KaraHabrock | LinkedIn: Kara Habrock Tags: ,