Training programs help with future success.

Colleges and universities across the country have seen the demand for workforce training programs skyrocket as employers and employees alike fight to stay relevant in today's rapidly evolving business environment.

For companies, workforce training can help to strengthen their employee base and maximize productivity.

For the individual, training from experienced instructors can build personal leadership skills, enhance communication effectiveness, and provide a deeper understanding of business strategy. This adds a competitive edge in developing a career.

In the Tristate, mainstays like the University of Cincinnati, Miami University and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College offer workforce training and professional certification programs.

The Xavier Leadership Center (XLC) at Xavier University has offered workforce training and certification programs to private corporations and businesses for 25 years. The focus? Improving Tristate organizations from the ground up.

According to Bruce Miller, managing partner at the XLC, as many of today's leaders begin to approach retirement, developing well-rounded managers has become a greater need for businesses.

"We're seeing that companies are having issues when it comes to succession of leadership," Miller says. "Our core focus is to identify and develop the next generation of leaders and business professionals."

This growing need for workforce training has led to a big move at Xavier. For the first time, this fall, enrollment in training and certification programs at the XLC will be made public for companies in and around Cincinnati.

These programs range from curriculums in project management, financial planning, and the excellence-driven Six Sigma approach, which focuses on eliminating flaws in all aspects of business, from manufacturing to customer service.

Workforce training instructors at the XLC come from diverse backgrounds, according to Miller "” many of them are professors at Xavier and others are both current and retired professionals at some of Cincinnati's best-known corporations like Procter & Gamble.

"Our corporate audience really responds to instruction from people who have lived it and done it within the industry," he says.

The marquee program offered this fall is the Leadership Foundations Certificate, an eight-part package that emphasizes the development of personal leadership skills, strategy, and team-building exercises. Business professionals attend the course one day per week until completion.

The first five sessions have a fixed curriculum while the final three offer electives meant to further develop the skills a professional is most interested in enhancing. These electives may fall in the categories designed for both seasoned leaders and young professionals.

"For the individual, it's about developing nationally recognized certification skills within that person's specific discipline," Miller says.

Other certificates include project management certification, Lean certification, and Six Sigma Yellow, Green, and Black Belt certification. Specialty certifications in the nursing and physician programs are also available.

Miller says the XLC chose to open its enrollment because companies liked the idea of coupling their employees with the employees of other companies within the same industry.

"Specifically, these companies wanted interaction between peers from other organizations, at the same level of employment, going through similar experiences," he says. "Individuals find they learn as much from the other participants as they do from the coaches in the classroom. It adds to the cross-pollination of learning."

But programs open to the public are not just valuable to the employees"”they also benefit the day-to-day operations of the companies themselves, according to Miller.

Prior to going public, the XLC's private workforce training packages required at least 20 employees from a particular company for any given course or certification program.

"Open enrollment allows those companies to send only five or six people at once," he says. "That means a company doesn't have to take as many employees out of the workplace at the same time."

Sessions in each of the XLC's workforce training programs are held on Xavier's campus at the Schiff Conference Center, located in the Cintas Center facility.

But not all of the Tristate's workforce training programs are held at their respective colleges and universities. One of the Tristate's most recognized venues for corporate meetings is BOOST"¦for meetings sake, with an original location in Cincinnati and a new facility in Mason.

When the downtown Cincinnati location was first established in 2008, the intention was to create a unique meeting space with an inspiring and personal atmosphere, according to Jenny White, BOOST's founder and facility manager.

All this makes for a highly collaborative learning environment for professional development.

"You won't experience distractions from other events and are able to freely discuss confidential topics," she says. "Being in a private space also allows attendees to share more freely, therefore having more meaningful dialogues."

The flexibility of the space at BOOST's two locations also allows for general conferences to easily breakout into separate sessions depending on the needs of the client.

P&G as well as other major Cincinnati-based corporations are amongst the professional clients that have held their corporate meetings at BOOST's loft-style locations.

"Our meetings spaces are designed to generate ideas and discussions, encourage group interaction, and stimulate creative thinking," she says.