Top Benefits of a Training Consortium

Michelle Benjamin – CEO of Benjamin Enterprises


With the start of a new government fiscal year upon us and the end of the calendar year right around the corner, it is time to review and approve the budget for the upcoming year. Businesses are always looking for creative ways to reduce their costs while continuing to offer the same (or better) level of service and support to customers. Funding for training programs is unfortunately one of the first areas of the budget to be subjected to cuts. Annual training programs are beneficial to both the employee and the business, so instead of reducing the budget, why not utilize a training consortium to receive the maximum benefit from your training dollars? A training consortium benefits your business in the following ways:

Lowers overall training costs – The research and development cost to design and develop curriculum can be cost-prohibitive for a single small business. But, combined with industry-specific members in a consortium can actualize economies of scale to make training affordable. As a result, the consortium member businesses can share the cost on the development of the government mandated courses like anti-harassment training, certified fork-lift training, OSHA safety and ergonomics. Once the programs have been developed, there is minimal additional internal cost for implementing each training sessions.

Meets industry standards – A consortium can utilize their size and number of members to effectively negotiate with experienced, credentialed professionals when creating training programs. This ensures that all government and industry specifics are included in the training and addressed in detail.

Standardized Program – The overall content of the training programs will be standardized allowing for a more polished professional package.

Technology Friendly – The programs developed by the consortium will be designed specifically to meet the needs of the consortium members. An advantage is that the training should utilize up-to-date technology, applications and features. This will allow you to include videos, surveys and online offerings in your training program.

Many areas and industries have training consortiums already in place. Reach out to your professional industry organizations, chambers of commerce or industry peers to locate a consortium already in existence. If you can’t find a consortium that will fit your needs, here are a few tips for starting one on your own:

Find a Partner – Ask your industry peers or other members of your corporate network if they are interested in forming a consortium. Identify the types of training, number of attendees and a budget for the program. The consortium also needs to have structure relating to members, any membership costs, and requirements for joining or leaving the group.

Identify Training Partners – Locate a training provider that will work with your consortium to create the programs. Documentation of the training requirements is very important. You want to make sure that the program is beneficial to all members. It is also important to include the delivery method of the training (online, video, in-person) and the schedule for reviewing and updating training content.

Promote your Consortium – Once your consortium is setup and you have created some programs, publicize it. By reaching out to your community, industry and your corporate networks, you can offer these programs to others on a per course fee basis. A word of caution: if you are offering these programs to non-consortium members, make sure the consortium has documented how these fees would be distributed to either the consortium itself or to the partner members.

A training consortium is a creative, cost-effective method for having a high-end training program without the high-end cost. By including industry and non-industry peers, your program will be better equipped to reach a larger audience of potential members. There is no end to the changes in laws and governmental regulations for businesses so the need for training is not going away. Utilizing a training consortium will let you stay compliant at a fraction of the cost.

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