In addition to supporting advanced degrees in higher education, midstate companies have developed internal programs to teach their values and expectations to the next generation of executive leadership and others.
York-based paper products maker P.H. Glatfelter Co. in June launched a program called LEAD, which stands for Learning, Engagement, Agility and Diversity, said William Yanavitch, vice president, human resources and administration.
The 15-month program comes after about 18 months of development with outside facilitator Right Management Inc., Yanavitch said.
Right Management is part of Milwaukee-based ManpowerGroup.
The program targets individuals around the globe within Glatfelter's organization that it sees as having additional capabilities, he said.
Senior executives are participating by teaching, and the teaching is supplemented with outside resources, Yanavitch said. The overall sponsor is Glatfelter Chairman and CEO Dante Parrini, and the company covers all of the costs, he said.
One highlight of the program is that the entire class goes to China for a portion of the learning, Yanavitch said.
The advantage the company sees is that LEAD provides interaction with senior executives who bring experience and business acumen. They also can talk about Glatfelter experiences with Glatfelter people, such as success stories, challenges and lessons learned that are specific to the company and industry, he said.
Academic experience is important, but LEAD provides a type of training that is more specific than an outside classroom environment can provide, Yanavitch said.
The program complements Glatfelter's existing commitments to education, such as 90 percent tuition reimbursement for bachelor's or master's degrees for employees throughout the organization or sending executives through coursework at schools such as at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania or the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University, he said.
In addition, Parrini took a sabbatical to attend an advanced management program at Harvard Business School with working professionals from around the globe prior to becoming the company's chief executive.
"We think learning is a lifelong journey," Yanavitch said.
Such programs are important not only to the company developing the next generation of leaders to compete in a "fierce global landscape" but for attracting talent as well, he said.
Turnover at Glatfelter is relatively low, but an aging workforce necessitates training young talent for the future, Yanavitch said.
"So rather than looking at it on a cost basis, we look at it as an invest in attracting new talent and retaining talent," he said.
Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc., which has a large campus with about 750 employees within its Building Efficiency business segment in York County, has internal leadership training tailored to specific layers within its workforce, from middle management to executive levels, said Jamie Walker, director of human resources for the York campus.
"We've spent a lot of time over the last couple of years focusing on the development of our employees," Walker said.
The local campus hires a lot of engineers with four-year degrees, and they often go on to get master of business administration degrees to help them if they decide they want to move up into leadership roles. The firm supports that with a program for tuition reimbursement for eligible employees, she said.
At the same time, there is emphasis on Johnson Controls-specific learning that includes the company's values and specific practices, Walker said.
An array of workshops is available for middle management personnel on up to higher-ranking positions, with examples including first-time manager training to how to lead virtual teams, she said.
A number of leaders at the York County operations have employees in Europe or Asia, Walker said.
There's also a nine-month action learning program for middle managers in which a team of employees across the Building Efficiency segment is nominated and meets four times a year for strengthening strategy, leading cross-functional teams, and implementing and leading change, she said.
A key part of the training is completing a project, which is presented to executives.
Leaders at the vice-president level have a similar program in which such leaders across the company's segments learn and work on a project that is presented to the CEO and other members of top leadership, Walker said.
The advanced degree work is important, but so is getting the training that is specific to the company, she said.