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March 2001

CTTC: A terrific new resource

The CTTC comfortably holds equipment for 24 students. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

At last! UCAR has its own computer training center. Located at the Pearl Street facility, the Corporate Technical Training Center (CTTC) opened for business on 8 January with a course on data warehousing. "Since much of the push for creating this facility came from the need by Human Resources for a place to hold the staff development courses," remarks CTTC manager David Svoboda, "it's not surprising that theirs was the first course."

The concept of the CTTC came out of Information Technology Council discussions on how to improve computer-based training at UCAR. As Katy Schmoll (vice-president of F&A) explains: "Before the CTTC, we only had two options. We could send employees off site for computer training. Not only did we pay a premium price for this, but we also lost dollars in staff travel time, and the training tended to be generic. Our other option was to bring trainers in or to use our own folks, but then we could only train about six people at a time on full desktop computers or about 10 on laptops. The laptops don't work well for training if most of your work is on a desktop—i.e., the skills are not immediately transferred, but have to be translated to a different keyboard. As a result, our on- site computer training offerings were typically oversubscribed—we were not meeting the needs of our employees.

"In addition to saving us money and staff time while serving more people," Katy adds, "The CTTC allows us to provide much needed training in administrative systems—e.g., BiTech, data warehousing. We can also tailor courses to the needs of our software engineers, so that the courses can be directly applicable to their work."

The facility has 24 workstations, two servers, and a suite of software plus a range of multimedia resources (e.g., projector, microphones, video camera). A full description of CTTC's resources can be found on the facility's Web site. "We can add software as it's needed by a particular class or group," Dave notes, "but I'd need to determine first whether there are compatibility issues. Accepting specific additional software thus has to be evaluated case by case."

Dave, the person responsible for keeping the CTTC running, is a member of F&A's Desktop Systems and Networking group. He was hired last fall to manage the new facility and brings to the job a wealth of experience working with public school systems both in Lincoln, Nebraska, and in the Boulder Valley School District. "While I am the only person here most of the time, I'm backed up and helped as needed by other members of the group," Dave adds.

The facility is open for use by any group within UCAR. If you want to use the room, you must reserve it in advance through UCAR's room scheduling Web page, which can also be accessed from the CTTC Web. ("This actually just sends me a form," Dave cautions, "which I check and then confirm with the sender. You don't really have a reservation until you receive an e-mail confirmation.")

Cheryl Cristanelli, UCAR staff development administrator, has struggled for over six years to enable training for UCAR/NCAR/UOP staff on increasingly technical issues. She is emphatic: "It's a dream come true––a miracle! The technical training needs of our organization have grown substantially over the years. The CTTC has made it possible to offer more training classes to staff at half our previous costs. We have literally doubled the number of technical training courses offered through the staff development program this fiscal year, and all of them are full—with waiting lists!

"This facility also provides a location for individual programs or groups to create tailored courses for their staff, vendors, and customers. These are things we just couldn't afford to do before," Cheryl adds. "This is just the beginning. I believe this center will benefit the organization immensely. Thank you, Katy, for your leadership in facilitating this project. Course participants and trainers are as thrilled as I am."

The staff development department is designing an on-line technical training survey to be distributed to staff next month to identify critical technical training needs. The results will be used to develop future training programs.

• Sally Bates

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Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu
Prepared for the Web by Jacque Marshall
Last revised: Thu Mar 22 15:52:04 MST 2001