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Working together to upskill employees

Masterbrands Cabinets offers tuition reimbursement for business operations certificate programs at Lake Land College in Illinois.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the Community College Daily and was written by its staff.

At Lake Land College in Illinois, a special cohort of students will graduate this month with a certificate in management.

These students, who work at Masterbrand Cabinets Inc., attended Lake Land through a special partnership between the company and the college. Masterbrand provides tuition reimbursement if students maintained a “C” or better in classes relevant to the company’s business operation.

Through an exclusive online program, Lake Land trained the students in skills to help them better perform in their current positions or to advance their careers, said Kathy Black, the college’s business division chair.

Students in the program represent a variety of employees at Masterbrand, including assembly management, administrative support, quality assurance, supervisory support and hourly employees.

Built-in support group among employees

The group has been taking classes for the last six semesters, and each student was enrolled in one class per semester in order to manage work, home life and school. The certificate program includes various business courses, including principles of management, practical software applications, human resources management and legal environment of business.

Kim East, administrative assistant at Masterbrand, said she enrolled in the program because she felt it was a great opportunity to get an education along with her work colleagues.

“I truly believe going to school with my co-workers helped keep me on task,” East said. “It seems as though we all would challenge each other as well as support each other. If I didn’t really understand a lesson, I would ask my co-workers/classmates a question and they would have a way of helping me understand.”

East said that going back to school while working was fun, but it was also a challenge.

“I have total respect for those students who work full-time and are a full-time student,” she said.

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