University launches skill-building program for biweekly staff members

Thirty-two biweekly staff members are participating in a new program intended to make them more effective in their current positions. Another objective of the program is to provide participants with additional skills that will allow them to be more competitive candidates for lead and supervisory positions at the University.

The participants selected for the one-year pilot program, called "Excelling at Princeton," come from departments such as building services, dining services, housing, grounds, maintenance and the Art Museum.

"Our goal is to provide our own staff with opportunities for advancement within the University by assisting them in developing their skills so that they can make an even stronger contribution to Princeton," said Joann Mitchell, vice provost for administration. The program is being supported by the offices of the provost, the senior vice president for administration, and the vice presidents for human resources and facilities.

Instructors from Mercer County Community College will teach participants skills needed by Princeton supervisors, such as using computers to send and receive e-mails, to write memos and letters and to search the Internet for University policies and procedures. In addition, participants in the program will focus on improving other important workplace skills, including oral and written communication, math skills needed for estimating, budgeting and other work-related functions, and presentation skills such as conducting meetings, managing performance, interviewing and developing a resumé.

Classes will meet for 90 minutes twice a week for 11 weeks during the spring semester and during the fall semester. Participants will be provided with paid release time to attend courses, which will be offered at the Armory on campus. The cost of the program and course materials will be provided by the University without charge to the participants.

"Participants will play an important role in evaluating the program format, quality of the instruction and all other aspects of the program's design," said Mitchell, who also made a point of thanking supervisors for supporting their colleagues in the program.