The University Record, March 14, 1994

‘We have a vision’ for education and training

Bernadette Waters could wear an “I love my job” pin and mean every word of it.

“When you’re working for a goal and the administration backs you like this, you can’t do anything but succeed,” she says.

That goal is “to educate our employees and provide them personal and professional development in order to advance throughout the organization,” agree Waters and Nathan Norman, manager of Plant Department’s Building Services.

Waters’ job as staff development associate is to provide training and development classes and counseling for the more than 400 custodians and managers employed by Building Services.

“The job of custodian is usually seen as an entry-level position,” Waters says. “They may want to be carpenters or plumbers, but they need to increase their skills in math or English to prepare to move into another position.”

Helping people develop those skills is just one part of her new job. She is also responsible for teaching the computer courses Building Services will soon offer; developing courses in stress management and time management; providing individual counseling for those who want help formulating their personal development plan; and helping staff members learn how to create effective resumes.

Waters began her career at the U-M in 1990, and has worked with personnel ever since. The move to Building Services was still “along the lines of what I did, but with more responsibility and the opportunity to develop a new program,” she says.

One of the many rewards of her new position is the response from employees.

“I have visited some of the courses, and you should see the enthusiasm. They are very appreciative,” Waters says. The enthusiasm has been so great that there is a waiting list for the math and English classes, now in their second semester, and an even longer one for computer training.

Waters will continue to evaluate needs and find courses and training sessions that will help staff members develop themselves both personally and professionally.

“We have a vision of where we want to go with education and training in this department,” Waters says.