TEDCenter Helps Retrain Individuals to Compete in Job Market

Michael Prockup stands in front of M.S. Kennedy.

Michael Prockup stands in front of M.S. Kennedy.

Stephanie Mayne is the human resource manager at M.S. Kennedy, a Liverpool company that has been designing and producing high-performance analog microelectronics for 40 years. She receives a flood of resumes for every job opening.

It’s easy for Mayne to determine what type of work ethic potential candidates possess; however, finding workers with the specific skills that will fit well with M.S. Kennedy’s requirements is sometimes a challenge.

“We can assess whether or not a candidate has the basic capability to do the job,” says Mayne. “But it’s harder to gauge whether or not a person is going to be able to expand on those basic skills and adapt them to our unique processes.”

The Talent and Education Development Center (TEDCenter) at University College (UC) helps M.S. Kennedy and many other businesses in the Central New York region match qualified workers with job openings.

The TEDCenter is dedicated to improving the quality of the existing and emerging workforce in the Central New York region by bringing regional education, economic development and workforce development sectors into closer alignment. Its goal is to ensure that the education and training delivered to students, incumbent workers and career changers provides them with the skills they need to achieve economic self-sufficiency.

Michael Prockup was an unemployed worker over the age of 50 who knew he needed to sharpen his skills to compete in a struggling job market. Prockup heard about the Unemployed Worker Training Program being offered at UC and was anxious to have his skills assessed. The Certificate of Workplace Competency tested Prockup in three key areas: reading, mathematics and locating information through reviewing graphs, flowcharts and diagrams.

“Having graduated with a B.S. degree more than 35 years ago, I was curious about how I would perform in the areas tested,” says Prockup. “In the 1970s, there was no Internet and the method of instruction I received was very different than it is today.”

The Certificate of Workplace Competency shows employers that job candidates have the skills they need and is an excellent way for potential employees to showcase their abilities.

“Michael came to us with purchasing experience. By taking the skills assessment, he demonstrated that he wanted to keep up,” says Mayne. “He is pro-active and took charge to ensure us that he would stand out as a strong candidate.”

Mayne says that as a human resource manager, her job is to find employees who will be successful. “If there are tools like those offered at the TEDCenter out there that can increase the level of employees we bring in, it makes us more competitive and successful. It also saves us money and time in the hiring process—interviewing, advertising, etc. It just makes good business sense,” she says.

Prockup was impressed that the staff of the TEDCenter assisted him with his job search by contacting prospective employers to endorse him as a candidate. “This was a major selling point to me as an unemployed worker over the age of 50 who had an uphill climb,” he says.

For more information about the TEDCenter or the Certificate of Workplace Competency, contact Karen DeJarnette at ksdejarn@syr.edu or Andrea German-Willis at ajgerman@syr.edu, or call 315-443-5241.