The workforce skills gap is something that multiple business development organizations have been discussing for years. Corporations are asking for solutions. Hodges University is answering that call with its professional training initiative, Professional Education and Training (PET), called Hodges Connect. “Hodges Connect is designed to prepare the workforce with the employer-demanded skills necessary to succeed in the job markets of today and tomorrow,” said Dr. John Meyer, president of Hodges University. “This new platform will offer workshops, classes, and programs that can be customized to suit any industry, and done as individuals or as a corporate group. This is all about giving our workforce that competitive edge.” These workforce development programs are of varying lengths and are designed to give participants immediately applicable skills that they can put to work the next day. These are separate from the traditional academic programs the University offers, and can be taken by anyone who is interested. No pre-admission testing or previous college experience, or even a high school diploma is required. The first workshop, the First Line Supervisor certificate program, is now available and accepting registrations. The program is available both as a workshop on the Hodges University campus or completely online. Additional information is available at https://pathways.hodges.edu/courses/first-line-supervisor-training/ Upon completion of either format, graduates will receive their First Line Supervisor Certificate from Hodges University. “The Regional Demand Occupations List for 2019-2020 demonstrates a high need for first line supervisors with over 4,000 openings,”said Dr. Meyer. Areas that are demanding first line supervisors include workers in construction trades and extractions, mechanics, installers and repairers, non-retail sales, office and administrative support, personal service, retail sales, housekeeping and janitorial, landscaping and lawn service, and transportation and material-moving machine and vehicle operators. The PET Hodges Connect Initiative has additional programs and plans to continuously add new offerings as industry demand dictates. Other existing programming includes the Professional Effectiveness Certificate (PEC) - a five-course program focused on soft skill development in technology, communication and business - and. the Professionalism in the Workplace Certificate - a short course to prepare students for internships, or for anyone looking for their first job. Other workshops available include generational differences in the workplace, moving from peer to leader, and cultural competency. Some workshop topics include conflict resolution, body language basics, being a likeable boss, employee motivation, emotional intelligence, high-performance teams, safety in the workplace, time management, team building, customer service, organizational skills and transformational leadership. In the area of health, PET Hodges Connect offers classes in Basic Life Support, Basic Life Support Refresher, and Heartsaver First Aid Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Automated External Defibrillator. Coming soon, new offerings in the area of technology, including AUTOCAD and ADOBE Software. For more information about PET Hodges Connect, email [email protected] or visit https://pathways.hodges.edu/courses/hodges-connect/.