Two men working on the underside of a car

Helping local businesses train and develop their workforces

By Shanda Bedoian
Director of Corporate & Customized Training
Blue Ridge Community College

With the current labor shortage, many companies are looking for ways to find and keep skilled employees and groom them to assume new roles and responsibilities. At Blue Ridge Community College, we help local businesses train and develop their workforces through corporate and customized training programs. We work with all industries, including manufacturing, banking, automotive dealers, skilled trades, and small businesses.

Training is dependent on what employers need. I start by meeting with leadership to understand the issues they need to address in their workforce. It could be new processes, products, customer service, or IT deployment. After that initial conversation, I’ll bring in other subject matter experts from Blue Ridge to develop a solution that meets their goals.

At Blue Ridge, we have a phenomenal group of instructors who deliver customized training. If the topic is equipment- and technology-driven, we typically host the courses here at the college in our labs. We can offer other courses at the employer’s location or in our classrooms.

Training can range from a one-day class to a semester or year-long program, depending on the knowledge, competency, and skill level desired.

Here are some examples of how we can help.

Supporting manufacturers
One barrier many manufacturing companies run into is new technology deployment. We assess the company’s challenges and then design coursework that trains employees on the technology utilizing the robotic automation technology we have on campus.

Sometimes an organization wants to develop a new product line or process. Many manufacturers are starting to delve into plastics manufacturing. We have a plastics program at Blue Ridge, so we can train employees in this emerging technology.

Supporting small businesses
We also run a group program for small business owners called Mission Acceleration. This program is for entrepreneurs who have been in business for at least three years. The coursework covers business planning, finances, marketing, process improvements, and operations.

The program helps small business owners realize the full potential of their company. It also allows entrepreneurs to learn from one another. In addition to the group format, we build in one-on-one consulting time.

Apprenticeship programs
Another component of corporate and customized training at Blue Ridge is our apprenticeship programs, which benefit both employees and employers. We currently have three programs: a mechatronics advanced manufacturing program called Made in Henderson County, an automotive apprenticeship program, and a business and banking apprenticeship program.

These programs are built to support workforce pipeline development in our region. They are open to recent high school graduates and adults looking for new career opportunities.

It’s a competitive selection process to become an apprentice, and the benefits are numerous. Apprentices earn an income while getting an education and on-the-job training. Student apprentices are on campus one day per week and then work at their respective employers four days a week.

Tuition is covered by state, federal, and grant funds. Apprentices graduate from their program debt-free and with a full-time job offer.

At the end of the program, the goal is that the employer has done an excellent job mentoring, growing, and coaching the apprentice so that the apprentice chooses to stay with the company once the program is complete.

Results from our trainings
Through our training, employers have positioned high-potential employees to take on leadership roles, reduced safety incidents, cut down on product waste, improved efficiencies, fulfilled labor shortages, and achieved ISO certification.

We are known for providing high-quality, flexible, expert training. We believe in meeting the employer and employees where they are and guiding them to where they want to be through outstanding training and development.

To learn more about corporate and customized training at Blue Ridge, contact Shanda Bedoian at 828-694-1756 or