Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

April 19, 2014

WKU-Glasgow, SiTEL partnership could help students, employees

By JAMES BROWN
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — Western Kentucky University-Glasgow and SiTEL could soon enter into an agreement to aid employees of the call center who are WKU students.

Glasgow campus Regional Chancellor Sally Ray presented a plan to the Glasgow-Barren County Industrial Development Economic Authority Board on Wednesday about the proposed partnership between the entities, which are both on Hilltopper Way in southern Glasgow.

Ray told IDEA board members that a conversation with SiTEL began about a year ago about ways to improve employee education and retention.

“A little over a year ago, SiTEL officials approached us at WKU-Glasgow seeking assistance in some of their workforce challenges,” Ray said. “We met with them ... and we identified some short-term efforts to address the workforce challenges, but we knew that ... we needed something longer term.”

They found a model for such a solution at Metropolitan College in Louisville, Ray said.

Metropolitan College developed as a partnership with United Parcel Service in Louisville to help that company find, train and retain employees for the third shift at the overnight air operation, according to the program’s website. Employees attend the University of Louisville or Jefferson Community and Technical College.

“We have come up with a program that we refer to as SEED – SiTEL Employee Education Development,” Ray said.

Ray presented a slide show to the board that outlined how the program in Louisville began and how it works, and what the plans are for the local program.

“Metropolitan College is really not a college. It was established as a joint workforce and economic development initiative,” she said. “It’s more of a concept and Metropolitan College is more of a mechanism that pulls the students in, develops them, supports them in their efforts with UPS and their educational pursuit.”

Ray worked through a slide show, then answered questions.

She explained that WKU-Glasgow and SiTEL officials have met and that the program is being reviewed by SiTEL at the corporate level.

“What’s left to get this implemented?” IDEA board chair Owen Lambert asked.

“We need a solid commitment from SiTEL to get this moving,” Ray said. “We are waiting for the thumbs up. We believe to get it started, we have what we need.”

“What do you need from us?” asked board member Patrick Gaunce.

Ray said she was there Wednesday to explain the program and seek support.

“If you need for us to push the envelope harder, we’d be at your service,” Lambert said.

“Love for you to push the envelope harder,” Ray said.

“I would encourage you to ask SiTEL what they need from you,” Bill Walter, vice regional chancellor for WKU-Glasgow, told IDEA board members.

Ray said the program, once established, could be expanded to include other area businesses.

“We want to make sure we do this right, starting out small and ramping this up,” she said.