Richland College and Associa team up to train 200 employees though Skills Development Fund grant

One of many Richland College certificates displayed proudly on Associa employees' walls. 
Leaders of the Associa-Richland College partnership (from left to right): Annette Ratliff, Eric Blanchard, Todd Strosnider, Garrett Else, Daphney Ford, and Sheridan Nixon. 

After noticing certificate after certificate hung proudly on a number of Associa employees’ cubicle walls, it’s hard not to see the impact their partnership with Richland College has had since last October. Last year, Richland College received a $449,988 Skills Development Fund Grant from the Texas Workforce Commission to train Associa employees on-site at their new Richardson location, and since then over 200 employees have completed 35 classes through the grant.

Associa, the world’s largest community association management firm owned by former Texas State Senator John Carona, opened its new office in Richardson last year to centralize functions carried on at branch offices, implementing the newest technology in association management. With around 160 newly hired employees whose educational backgrounds ranged widely from high school to collegiate levels, they soon found a need for job training to standardize their business processes and practices to maintain maximum efficiency. They applied for the Skills Development Fund and subsequently received the grant, allowing them to partner with Richland College, a Malcolm Baldrige award-winning community college that serves primarily Richardson and Garland.


Richland offers Associa employees a customized selection of six classes that cater to their specific fields, ranging from customer service to leadership for first-time supervisors. Taught by highly qualified instructors, classes are held during business hours for employees’ convenience in either of Associa’s two specialized training facilities with class size hovering around 10-20 students. Rather than sticking to textbook format, Richland instructors tailor their lessons specifically to Associa’s defined needs, allowing employees the opportunity of learning how to problem-solve challenges they may have in their own daily jobs. Many regard these classes as a gift and an investment to the future, and as a result, Associa’s own employee loyalty has increased, and the company is now being regarded as an “employer of choice” to new recruits, especially those looking to grow careers. Due to the success of the corporate job training that Richland College has provided, Associa is considering renewing the grant for a further partnership with Richland.

Surprisingly, less than 5% of Richardson companies know of grants such as these, targeted specifically to assist businesses in job training and furthering their employees’ education. Richland College offers the advantage of creating an entirely new company culture in which the continuation of training and development of skills is encouraged and embraced.

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