LVB: Kutztown is looking to study the workforce needs of Berks County for programming to begin in the fall. Tell me about what you’re working on.
Lentz: The Office of Extended and Lifelong Learning at Kutztown University is developing training for employers in Berks and Lehigh counties who are interested in providing opportunities to their employees for upskilling and career advancement. Adults who are curious about college but not sure if they are ready to commit to a degree program can admit into certificate programs, which are about 3 to 4 classes. We are also facilitating Senior Scholars, which is a program for the 50+ age group and will offer non-credit, short topics such as wine-tasting events, photography, etc. beginning in summer.
LVB: Are there particular industries you’re concentrating on?
Lentz: We are working with KU’s SBDC to offer training on WEDnet, which is government funded. We are focused on developing training that can assist employees and employers in local industry.
LVB: What are the biggest workforce needs that you see in Berks County?
Lentz: We are currently canvassing local industry to determine needs. Soft skills such as communication, leadership, critical thinking, and the ability to work in a team are in demand. Training in computer programming, problem solving and analytical skills, and software is also in demand.
LVB: How do you think that Kutztown can help?
Lentz: KU can help in several ways. Employees can increase their marketability for in-demand careers with a certificate. KU also offers many certification options in Education. KU can help with accelerated degree pathways by offering summer and winter online courses, awarding credit for prior learning, or pursuing a completion program. KU also offers online and hybrid degrees.
LVB: How can employers get involved with Kutztown’s workforce training efforts?
Lentz: Employers, employees, and nontraditional students may access KU’s workforce training and extended learning at https://www.kutztown.edu/about-ku/administrative-offices/extended-and-lifelong-learning.html or they may call me at 610-683-4478.