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'Hillsboro University' opens again

It’s back to school time for employees of the city of

Hillsboro.

For the seventh year in a row, the city of Hillsboro will sponsor “Hillsboro University,” a series of classes geared toward honing the skills of the city’s staff and making the city operate more effectively.

Tami Cockeram, risk manager for the city of Hillsboro, said the program is an innovative way to help employees get better at their jobs.

“We are constantly looking for the most efficient and effective ways to provide important safety and leadership training here in the city of Hillsboro,” Cockeram said. “Rather than sending city employees to multiple locations, we host the training in the Civic Center to make it more accessible and convenient, while also saving money.”

According to Cockeram, the primary purpose of Hillsboro University — which is open only to city employees — is to provide supervisory training, leadership lectures and mandatory Occupational Safety & Health Administration compliance and other safety training. In fact, when it first started the training program was called “Hillsboro Safety School.”

This year’s courses will start Tuesday, Jan. 21, and continue through Thursday, Jan. 23. Included will be more than 30 separate classes dealing with a wide range of topics, from injury prevention and supervisory mistakes to impacts of drug abuse and reasons why kids join gangs.

City employees said they appreciate the opportunity to learn more about their professions and keep up to date on industry changes.

“The safety training is excellent,” said Brad Eckland, Hillsboro’s assistant public works superintendent. “The speakers and topics keep you interested. It’s local, it’s convenient and that makes it easier to take part.”

Hillsboro Sustainability Manager Peter Brandom is another proponent of the “university” concept.

“Hillsboro U. has been valuable to me as an attendant, as well as a speaker,” Brandom said. “I have heard inspiring keynote messages that put my work in the broader context of how I fit into my work,

community and world. I have also learned about personal safety and how quickly an injury can change our lives.”

Brandom also has been a speaker at previous Hillsboro University events.

“That has allowed me to communicate important information on sustainability in our work to employees in a central place, and it allows for employees to ask questions and provide feedback,” Brandom said.

Cockeram said the three-day forum is an extremely positive endeavor for the city.

“This increases employee participation in the training and gives our residents and business partners the confidence of knowing city employees are receiving the timely training information they need to perform their jobs at the highest level,” Cockeram explained. “By training together, our employees are able to network across departments, which improves and increases opportunities for collaboration.”

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