Business leaders stress core values, corporate culture

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Faculty offered exercises to help instill values in students.

By Kyle R. Cotton 

During the business panel of Alamo Colleges’ 2016 strategic stakeholder retreat, leaders from around San Antonio said while the tech programs get people in the door, there is need to address issues with core values and corporate culture.

The Feb. 8 panel included Mary Batch, assistant manager of human resources development Toyota Texas; Peter John Holt, vice president of commercial engine sales of Holt Caterpillar; and Carolyn King, director of policy, operations and special programs at Methodist Health Care Systems.

Batch used examples of core values such as attendance, general work ethic, teamwork and a continued desire to learn.

Batch said once they get involved, it usually takes five years of training before they are self-sufficient.

“The technical skills that we see coming out from the Alamo Colleges … are good, they are good enough to get you through the door,” Holt said.

“We’re not looking for high expertise or experience. We understand that is part of our job as employer to be part of that developmental cycle.”

“Where we see people falling short — and this isn’t just an Alamo Colleges issue,” Holt said.

“We’re blessed enough to operate around the state and have some global operations to where we have a pretty good perspective, and this seems to be a global issue and maybe even an ageless issue. We hire for technical skills and we fire for core skill.”

Holt said he realizes it’s a pretty challenging logistical issue when it comes to a formal education setting to take the time to teach these core skills and cultural concepts.

Holt suggested finding avenues for instructors and administrators to engage with employers to figure out ways to pass cultural values and understanding onto the student.

“They are going to be the people with an eye for what needs a critical improvement,” Holt said.

The panel suggested ideas, such as instructor externships where technical instructors spend a day at a company to learn its culture.

The panel also noted exercises instructors could use to instill core values, such as have each student write down the character values that are important to them or getting students committed to a single vision.

King noted how successful it was at the Methodist Health Care Systems by connecting people to one vision from information technology all the way to the emergency management technicians.

“Everybody has a role in saving a life,” King said.


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