7 Reasons Why Workplace Diversity Training is More Important Than Ever!

Workplace diversity training helps businesses function better.

Diversity training for the workplace may at first seem confusing or unnecessary, but it can be the start of many positive things for a business. Here are some reasons why workplace diversity training is essential.

1. An inclusive workplace increases employee engagement.

Studies done by companies like Sodexo have shown that employees who participate in diversity training are more engaged in the workplace. As trust is built between diverse groups, employees come to view their workplace as a positive environment in which they want to perform well.

2. An inclusive workplace leads to greater employee retention.

Workplaces with greater engagement also have greater retention. A Gallup Management group study showed that engaged employees were 51% less likely to leave the company than those that weren’t engaged.

3. An inclusive workplace levels the playing field and brings helpful change.

When diversity training takes place, existing power structures may begin to break down, especially if they are based on race or other extrinsic factors. Although this may cause conflict and be difficult at first, the end result for the company is beneficial changes that can lead to greater success in the end.

Businesses that invest in diversity training are more profitable than other businesses.

4. Managing diversity takes several different sets of skills.

Communication, conflict management, cross-cultural competency, and problem-solving are all needed to bring diverse groups together and build trust and affinity. It is important to learn all of these skills, which is most effectively done with specific diversity training rather than a piecemeal approach that may or may not achieve results.

5. Those in the workplace without an understanding of diversity aren’t going to get it without some training.

Ingrained biases and beliefs about different cultures don’t change easily or without effort. Diversity training brings issues of cultural bias and discriminatory practices to the light and shows that they hold businesses back from success.

6. More diverse workplaces are more profitable, according to studies.

Diversity training from the top down will typically lead to a more diverse workplace, as leadership is more inclusive in their hiring practices and team building. Studies have shown that businesses with greater diversity were more profitable and successful than more homogeneous businesses.

7. It protects businesses from liability.

Diversity training shows workplace leaders what their responsibilities are toward their employees, so they are less likely to violate rules about discrimination or bias toward certain groups. Furthermore, employees know that their workplace is committed to fairness for all, and they may be more likely to try to work potential problems out rather than pursue litigation right away.

In the current business environment, diversity training is becoming more and more necessary for a business to reach its full potential. Continuing education courses are one way to provide corporate diversity training to your employees without hiring an expensive corporate trainer and taking days out of your normal work schedule.

Contact CCSU’s Office of Continuing Education for more information about the Diversity & Inclusion Conference on November 17 and workplace diversity training courses. View open courses and continue your education with us.

5 Reasons Medical Interpreters Are in High Demand

Medical interpreters can help doctors ensure quality care for their patients.

Medical interpreters and translators must not only understand multiple languages, but be able to convey both medical language and complex ideas to patients and families that may be feeling stress from a medical emergency or condition. Here are some of the reasons why medical interpreters are in high demand right now.

1. More Americans are speaking a language other than English.

As of 2013, about 25 million Americans had limited proficiency in English, an 80% increase from 1990. This represents about 8% of the total U.S. population, which is about one in 12 people over the age of 5 that may need a medical interpreter when they go to the doctor or hospital. The languages with greatest need for interpretation are various dialects of Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

2. Hospitals have increasing regulations about translation services that cause them to need more interpreters.

Hospitals with significant LEP populations that receive federal funding are subject to requirements to provide qualified medical interpreters to those patients. Hospitals need significant increases in the number of medical interpreters to meet these federal requirements and ensure quality care to their LEP patients.

Nursing and other hospital staff may need the help of medical interpreters.

3. Medical mistakes and complications are less likely when interpreters are used.

Many LEP patients use family members including children or friends to translate for them, but these untrained interpreters may not be proficient in medical terminology, and translation mistakes are likely. Using medical interpreters has been shown to reduce medical mistakes, and people who have access to medical interpreters show lower rates of serious complications after surgery and other medical treatment.

4. More people are getting medical insurance and seeking care.

One reason medical interpreters are in demand is because greater numbers of people are getting medical insurance because of government health care reforms. Medical interpretation is often covered by Medicare and other insurance companies because of the protections it offers. As the fines for not having medical insurance continue to grow, the numbers of people enrolling in medical insurance plans is likely to continue to grow as well, including those with LEP.

5. Medical interpreting prevents costly over-treatment.

Insurance companies are realizing the benefits of using medical interpreters. Medical interpreters not only improve patient safety and care, they can also prevent over-treatment, which can save insurance companies money in the long run.

Medical interpreters often work in hospital settings and doctors’ offices, but some can work remotely via phone or video conference as well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects interpreter and translator jobs to increase 29% by 2024, which is much faster than average. Nationwide, 17,500 new interpreter jobs are expected to be created.

For those who speak a language fluently, other than English, continuing education courses can provide the training necessary to sit for the exam to become certified to become a medical interpreter. Becoming a certified medical interpreter will open up new job opportunities and allow you to help others as well. View open courses at CCSU for opportunities to get training in medical interpreting.

5 Soft Skills that Will Enhance Your Career

Soft skills are valuable to many employers.

Most people focus on learning a subject and related skills when they seek to develop their careers. While it’s obviously important to have the skills needed to do your job, there are other skills — known as soft skills — that employers increasingly look for when deciding to hire, promote or retain an employee.

Soft skills are skills not directly related to a particular job or vocation. An obstetrician needs to know how to deliver babies, for example, but doesn’t necessarily need a good bedside manner to perform the required medical duties. An HR representative needs to know how to manage hiring, benefits, and issues that arise during employment, but not necessarily how to make someone feel welcome when they are hired.

Employers find soft skills important to overall job performance for many reasons. While bedside manner or a welcoming personality may not be as essential as having the technical skills to fulfill a job, they do make a big impression on others and may lead to greater success in those jobs. Here are some soft skills that will enhance your career.

1. Interpersonal skills.

Being able to work with others, relate well to people, and resolve conflict can increase productivity and make the workplace run more smoothly. Having a reputation for being “easy” or “good” to work with may help you get promoted to a leadership position or open up other opportunities through networking. Teamwork and collaboration also fall under the umbrella of interpersonal skills.

2. Adaptability.

Managing multiple tasks and adapting to changing conditions means that you will be performing better than others who can’t adapt as quickly, giving you an advantage. If you are known as flexible and able to roll with the punches, you may become the go-to person among your team, increasing your job security and position within the team.

3. Communication skills.

Communicating well is essential in the workplace, but it isn’t easy. There are many facets to communication, from knowing what to say to knowing when to be quiet. Writing skills are also part of communication, along with the ability to explain technical concepts to those who aren’t tech savvy.

Having a listening ear is part of good communication skills.

4. Problem solving.

Problem solving involves creativity and thinking outside the box to come up with effective solutions. Interviewers often ask about problem solving abilities and how you may have used them to improve a situation or reach desired outcomes. Managers value problem solving skills because it takes some of the burden of troubleshooting and fixing problems off their shoulders.

5. Technical proficiency.

Outside the IT field, it is a bonus to have employees who understand how technology works and can use it effectively on the job. When you have technical proficiency, you can use available technology to streamline processes, get more done in less time, and develop new processes that haven’t been done before.

Are you interested in improving your soft skills to enhance your career? View open courses that can enhance your career and help you develop soft skills.

The Art of Conversation: Five Ways to Communicate Like a Pro

Effective conversation is important in the workplace and personally.

Effective verbal communication can help you both professionally and personally. Conversation is an art, but it can and should be learned to benefit both your career and your personal life.

Say What You Mean

There can be many goals for conversation, such as finding out needed information or instructing someone about what you need them to do. In all of your conversations, however, you should do your best to be clear and say what you mean.

In business, being clear will help those around you understand what you want them to do as well as what you intend to do. You don’t want to make promises you don’t intend to keep, no matter how much pressure you may feel. And you don’t want to make co-workers feel that they can disrespect your boundaries by saying “it’s okay” just to avoid conflict, if it’s really not.

Mean What You Say

Honesty is a cornerstone of meaningful conversation, says Julian Treasure in a TED talk, as long as it comes from a place of wishing people well. Being tactful will allow you to say what you mean without hurting anyone’s feelings. Sometimes you need some time to think through the best way to say something, so you may need to walk away from a conversation without giving an answer in order to think it through first.

Keeping conversations positive will help get your points across.

Keep It Positive

Larry Alton on Success.com advises starting conversations with a specific compliment to get off on the right foot. Being friendly makes people willing to continue the conversation, and will help them listen better to what you have to say. If you can lighten the mood with a joke or a funny story, that’s even better.

Treasure’s TED talk gives a list of negatives to avoid: gossip, judging, excuses, exaggeration. “Complaining is viral misery,” he adds. These negatives will make most people want to avoid talking to you, and can also make them miss your point, even if it is a legitimate one.

How You Say It

Elements of speaking like your pitch, volume, and register can draw people in or repel them. If you have been told that your voice sounds annoying or if you think it does, working with a voice coach can help you adjust your sound to be more pleasing. It may seem unnecessary to work with a voice coach if you don’t do formal public speaking, but how your voice sounds to others can be the difference between getting a raise or promotion or getting ignored.

Listening Is Important, Too

Conversation is a two-way street. Many people focus on talking, but if you only talk and don’t listen, your conversations won’t be very effective. One way to actively listen is to repeat back what you hear in your own words. You can also ask questions in order to be sure you understand what you hear or to get more information.

CCSU offers leadership courses that cover topics like effective communication in the workplace. View our open courses now to see how you can benefit.

Expert Interview Series: Jennifer Bridges of PDUs2Go.com About Learning To Be An Effective Project Manager

Jennifer Bridges, PMP is a highly sought-after Executive Coach in Project Management who is globally recognized as one of the most prolific YouTube video whiteboard trainers. She is also the founder/CEO of PDUs2Go.com, the global leader of mobile learning and self-paced, downloadable courses on demand that offer the opportunity to earn professional development unit credits simply and easily. We recently spoke with Jennifer to learn more about the ins and outs of project management and which steps should be taken by individuals to embark upon this exciting career path.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did you get into project management?

I was one of the “accidental project managers.” I was hired at BellSouth Telecommunications after college in the late eighties as a Unix Systems administrator. Because there was no project manager role, the Unix Systems administrator performed what we know now as the project management activities. In 1995, I transferred into a newly-formed project management group where I managed projects and led process improvement initiatives.

This began my journey from the “accidental” to the “intentional” project manager. As such, I became an avid learner and took courses to improve my skills to manage projects and lead teams. Because I led the process improvement initiatives, I was responsible for rolling them out to the organizations that were impacted. This included speaking to and teaching large groups.

What are some of the common professional development courses or certifications that project managers could benefit from?

Most companies today require that their project managers are certified as Project Management Professionals (PMPs) from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Through input from corporations, PMI just changed their program requiring PMPs to earn Professional Development Units to strengthen these three skill areas: Technical Project Management, Leadership, and Strategic/Business Management.

All project managers can benefit by taking development courses in Communication, Leadership, Business Relationships, Listening, Business Acumen, and Project Management Fundamentals

What are the traits, skills, and qualities needed to be a successful and effective project manager?

The following is a short list of traits: organized, efficient, reliable, communicator, leader, results-oriented.

This is not a comprehensive list, but an important list of qualities: vision, communication, integrity, passion, competence, problem-solving, team building, composure.

Let’s talk about the employment projections for project managers. How much are they in demand right now? How valuable will they be in the future?

According to PMI’s Talent Gap Report dated March 2013, the demand for project management professionals is not currently matched by an availability of resources with relevant project management skills. This will create an unparalleled opportunity for discerning job seekers to build valuable project management skills.

The demand for project management practitioners will expand by more than 12 percent through the year 2020, resulting in almost 6.2 million project management jobs in the United States.

How easy is it to obtain professional development units today as compared to 10 or 20 years ago?

Today, there are more options in content delivery methods, which makes it easier. Ten or twenty years ago, the traditional course room or annual conference were the typical options, which made it difficult for project managers who were managing critical projects each day or traveling. As such, it was part of my mission to innovate a new way of learning, so I launched the first mobile learning platform into the global project management community in 2007 called PDUs2Go.com. Through this platform, project managers who travel and find it difficult to get into a traditional course room can download courses on demand for self-paced study anywhere and anytime.

We also sponsor several large virtual training events each year that provide several keynote speakers and concurrent training sessions on different aspects of project management.

What are the advantages of incorporating video into professional development education?

Video done well can engage the learner and help facilitate learning more quickly. It provides an easier application to show visually how something is done. A picture is worth a thousand words.

Why is it beneficial for companies to encourage or incentivize their employees to pursue additional professional development education?

Because it:

• Prepares them for their job.

• Sets them up for success.

• Shows they care.

For someone who has decided that he or she wants to learn a new skill (such as project management), what would be your suggestion for the first step he or she should take?

Many people invest a significant amount of time and money into the project management path with an expensive training investment, only to learn too late that it’s just not for them. The first step I always recommend is to determine if it’s the right fit. This can be done several ways:

1) Talk with someone who is in the role. Find out what they do on a day-to-day basis and what they enjoy or struggle with in the role.

2) Talk with team members and stakeholders to find out what they expect from their project manager.

3) Assess your skills. Find out your strengths and weaknesses to determine if they align with this role.

4) Volunteer to assist a project manager. Walk in their shoes.

5) Research several project management curriculums to get a sense if the courses resonate.

6) Review the requirements to become certified. Start with the end in mind, since most companies require their project managers to become certified. If you determine it’s a possible fit, jump in and take a class.

View CCSU’s list of courses now.

Meet our Students: Beth Kavaler

“We must develop a positive vision, and these classes help us to develop that vision which in turn will help to create positive actions and events.  It’s a great starting point to learn more and enhance ones HR career.”  – Beth Kavaler


Beth Kavaler graduated from the Continuing Education Department’s Human Resources Professional Certificate program at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU) in December of 2015.  She recently worked at The Bushnell Performing Arts Center, but is starting a new career path at Rich Products Corporation. If not for the HR program, Ms. Kavaler does not believe this new career opportunity would have ever happened.

Ms. Kavaler joined the HR program because she was new to HR and wanted to increase her knowledge base. She knew the program would be a great start. The courses were what Ms. Kavaler wanted them to be. She enjoyed the knowledgeable instructors, and loved meeting with the group of eight women who went through all six classes together. They had an incredible bond, and Ms. Kavaler explained that they are all still friends and try to do things together from time to time. Ms. Kavaler always tried to carry a positive attitude and she lives by the words of Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs, “A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. It is a catalyst, and it sparks extraordinary results.”

To view upcoming classes and learn more about our HR Professional Certificate program, click here. For any questions, please contact Judy Ratcliffe at 860-832-2276 or JRatcliffe@ccsu.edu.