Natalie Williams, VP of Client Operations, Ancora EducationNatalie Williams, VP of Client Operations
Employee training plays a crucial role in organizational development and success. It not only makes the workforce more productive and efficient but also improves employee retention. In the past, businesses have traditionally relied on in-house training professionals for workforce instruction. But given the competitive nature of the modern-day business realm, maintaining a dedicated team for training purposes is not often financially sound, particularly in today’s dynamic market, which is why more businesses are turning to third-party training service providers.

One such provider is Ancora Corporate Training, which offers customized programs to address organizations’ specific workforce goals. Ancora Corporate Training is a part of Ancora Education, a group of private, post-secondary career training schools located in ten states across the U.S. These schools deliver on-campus and online training to healthcare, technology, transportation, and other industries.

In an interview with Manage HR, Natalie Williams, VP of Client Operations at Ancora Corporate Training, shares her insights on how her company helps businesses fulfill their employees’ training needs and eliminate any skills gaps in the workforce.

Could you give us an overview of Ancora Corporate Training and Ancora Education?

Ancora Corporate Training is the training division of Ancora Education that assists various organizations across different sectors with their training needs. We specialize in offering agile, scalable solutions that fit within businesses’ existing operations and their unique goals, rather than relying on a one-size-fits-all approach. Since our foundation, we have always focused on building long-term relationships with corporations, government agencies, and community colleges across the nation to offer expert training delivered by industry professionals. Our programs are available both online as well as in-person, which means organizations can upgrade the skills of their employees with minimal impact on their workday.

With Ancora Education as our parent company, we benefit from the expertise and depth of knowledge offered by the eight trade schools that make up the Ancora Education brand. This gave us the solid foundation needed to successfully launch Ancora Corporate Training and succeed where other firms—who don’t have the same education pedigree—have struggled. Ancora Corporate Training combines the skills of a higher education course with the agility needed to compete in today’s marketplace.

We specialize in offering agile, scalable solutions that fit within businesses’ existing operations and their unique goals as opposed to a one-size-fits-all approach

Please elaborate on the different training programs that you deliver and the process you follow to cater to clients.

Our largest customers are within the distribution industry and advanced manufacturing skilled trades, but we also cater to clientele from other verticals, such as the commercial refrigeration and heating industry. Our methodology includes a five-stage approach where we assess clients’ requirements, understand their vision, analyze skill gaps, and build the integrations and backend infrastructure necessary to provide a seamless experience. The product development team prepares the curriculum and ensures instructional resources are ready to deliver. Our subject matter experts tailor each training program to meet each client’s specific issues, rather than relying on off-the-shelf solutions built on general business requirements. Our aim is to provide the best learning experience to our clients while remaining nimble enough to respond to any challenges. Lastly, we constantly evaluate our efforts, measure student outcomes, and seek client feedback to address any additional needs.

What are the key differentiating factors that set you ahead of other market players?

We are set apart from our competition in two significant ways: how we develop client relationships and the flexibility of our training programs. Firstly, we approach each client as a brand new opportunity and build a strong relationship with them through continuous interactions, feedback, and reviews. Our clients feel listened to and are active participants in building and implementing the training process. And secondly, we are distinguished by the flexibility of our solutions. We can provide training in-person, online, or a hybrid of both. We strive for maximum workforce engagement in the training programs, and our teams are dedicated to helping employees gain the expertise and knowledge required to perform their job efficiently. We help workers seamlessly transition into their new role within an organization, whether they’re a brand-new hire or a seasoned pro who’s been there for years. Our flexibility, scalability, and customized quality training programs keep us a notch above the rest.

Could you give us a customer success story?

We have recently partnered with one of the largest global online retailers to offer professional training designed to help employees enhance their skillset to fit into a new role within the company—or launch their careers after leaving the organization. This career services program enabled the client to make the workforce feel valued as their employers invest money on their long-term goals. Secondly, employees have access to training and career skills that they often cannot afford or make time for.

Similarly, one of our clients retained us to implement a soft skills training program to strengthen teamwork, emphasize the importance of being on time, and equip them with conflict-resolution strategies. We’re looking forward to seeing the positive impact this will have on employee retention and overall job satisfaction.

We have also worked with one of the largest grocery divisions in the U.S. to significantly decrease expenses by setting up an internal driver academy for them. We trained their employees to obtain commercial drivers’ licenses within four weeks, enabling them to attract a higher caliber of talent by focusing on employees who show the most potential to fit within the organization, rather than just on the technical skills they might or might not have.

What are the key milestones that you have achieved recently, and how does the future look for the company?

We are seeing a steady increase in requests from clients for soft skills training, commercial driver’s license training, and advanced manufacturing in the tech and mechatronics sector. During the pandemic, we quickly pivoted our in-person programs to a fully virtual program. With the drastic increase in home deliveries, the demand for commercial drivers’ licenses has also increased significantly. To address these training needs while still remaining agile during a pandemic, we developed sanitation best practices and protocols that aligned with CDC guidelines to ensure the health of both our instructors and the students we taught. As we expand our reach nationwide, we continue to deliver virtual online simulation training and in-person training to organizations of all sizes across the U.S. We see excellent growth in our partnerships with community colleges and distribution companies seeking cost-effective advanced manufacturing and transportation training. Our aim is to grow our service portfolio and design customized training programs to meet the growing demand of the workforce for trade-based careers.