Training and Development Solutions


October 2016   

Finelite Partners with Training and Development Solutions to Establish In-House University

Finelite Inc., a leading manufacturer of high performance lighting systems, has established an in-house university in partnership with Training and Development Solutions at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District to provide Finelite employees a customized training program designed to develop their job skills and enhance their leadership capabilities. Finelite University offers a series of seven workshops to employees on three tracks - manager, supervisor and lead - to provide them the opportunity to develop the skills needed to step up to the next level in the organization.



The seeds of Finelite University were planted five years ago when company founder Terry Clark recognized that some of the organization's best leaders were moving up from within the company and saw the potential to build the organization's bench strength in-house. The first customized on-site English as a Second Language and skill-building classes were offered to frontline leads and proved very popular and successful.


Two years ago the company expanded its employee training initiative by adopting the university model to establish a series of customized classes focused on leadership development for managers, supervisors and leads. Half-day workshops are offered on-site every six weeks for small groups of 25-30 employees, a format that minimizes time away from the production floor while encouraging immediate transference of newly acquired skills to the job.


In-house learning and development universities were first created within large corporations in the late 1980s, but adapting the university model for small to mid-size organizations can sometimes be challenging due to budget and time constraints. Building on Terry Clark's vision for developing and promoting Finelite employees from within, Sherri Shimomura, Finelite's Vice President of Human Resources, worked with the Training and Development Solutions team to scale the university model to fit Finelite's specific needs, timeline and budget.


Each Finelite training workshop is kicked off by a Finelite executive "sponsor" who demonstrates the importance of employee learning to senior management and helps align employee development with organizational goals and initiatives. Ms. Shimomura reports that workshop participation is high, and views the current series of workshops as a solid foundation which can be expanded upon in future years. She values the partnership with Training and Development Solutions, praising the high quality of the trainers, the affordability of the program and the connection to the local community through Training and Development's affiliation with Chabot-Las Positas Community College District.


Finelite currently employs 480 workers and maintains its corporate headquarters and 175,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Union City, California.


Training and Development Solutions at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District has been working with public and private sector organizations for over 30 years to address workforce development and skills upgrade needs. To learn more about how Training and Development Solutions can help your organization develop and deliver customized, on-site training for all levels of your organization, call MariAnn Fisher at 925.249.9372 or email

"...while extraordinary products and unique services still afford a competitive advantage, the one advantage that stands the test of people."


Mark Salsbury

Salsbury Human Capital Management

Design Multi-Track Curriculum to Match Employee Development Needs

Designing training programs for different levels of an organization requires customizing curriculum that matches the skills and experience of each training group while helping employees develop the new skills needed to advance to the next level of leadership. For example, while all employees can benefit from training to improve communication, the focus of communication skills training will vary depending on the skills needed for employees at each level to move up in the organization.


The following brief overviews illustrate one approach to customizing a workshop to help improve the communication skills of employees at each of three levels of an organization:


Lead Track: Lead with Confidence

  • Understanding the difference between assertiveness and aggression
  • Gaining insight into emotions
  • Learning to project confidence

Supervisor Track: Advanced Interpersonal Skills

  • Developing complimentary relationships
  • Setting boundaries
  • Dealing with difficult people and difficult situations

Manager Track: Advanced Leadership Skills

  • Coaching for performance
  • Developing and leveraging strengths
  • Identifying weaknesses
  • Team building

Matching training curriculum to the experience and development needs of various employee groups is a key element in the effectiveness of an organization's learning and development initiatives.

Training and Development Solutions

Chabot-Las Positas Community College District

7600 Dublin Blvd., Suite 102 ● Dublin, CA 94568

925.249.9372 ●

Soft Skills* Matter

Bruce Tulgan, founder and CEO of Rainmaker Thinking, a management research, training and consulting firm, is a strong advocate for soft skills training. While hard (technical) skills are an absolute requirement in any job, many business leaders and managers believe that soft skills are 'nice to have' rather than 'must have' - a luxury they cannot afford to prioritize. Yet for the majority of today's workforce, soft skills are the key to success in the workplace and competitive differentiation in the marketplace.



Employees' soft skills can affect how they interact with customers, vendors, coworkers and managers, and can have a significant impact on the bottom line. Employees must have the hard (technical) skills to do the job, but the soft skills make all the difference, whether at the lowest end of the technical skill spectrum or the highest.


An important category of soft skills is "people skills," including attentive listening, observing, perceiving and empathizing; effective use of words, tone, expressions and gestures; and effective communication one-on-one, in groups, in-person and remotely.


While soft skills are often a function of attitude and personality, they can be developed through training programs that include practice in small groups, role plays or other interactive techniques.


Read full post: The 12 most important missing soft skills


*Soft Skills: personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people

About Training and Development Solutions

Training and Development Solutions at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District delivers employee training, consulting and related support services to public and private sector organizations. We provide customized, on-site learning solutions that are innovative, practical and cost-effective, including:

  • Leadership development
  • Management and supervisory training
  • Skill building programs
  • Compliance training
  • Curriculum development


For more information about how Training and Development Solutions can help your organization meet current and future workforce challenges, call MariAnn Fisher at 925.249.9372, email, or visit the Training and Development Solutions website.