When Cam Bishop joined SkillPath as the Mission-based nonprofit’s new chief executive officer a year and a half ago, he saw a growth opportunity to offer training on site.
Fast-forward to a snow-drizzled Wednesday morning, when the organization celebrated the grand opening of its newly minted SkillPath Center for Professional Development.
“This will be a major regional learning and development location for business professionals,” Bishop said. “I came up with the idea shortly after I arrived here because I saw a huge potential need for this in the Kansas City marketplace.
“There is high demand, especially in this day and age, for professional development training as a way to invest in and retain employees.”
Nearly 200 members of the public gathered in the training room of the revamped space at 6900 Squibb Road for breakfast, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a round table discussion on trends in learning and development. Led by Scott Rutherford with Training Industry, the panel discussion featured area chief learning officers, including Fay Balk at Hallmark, Barb Schlittenhard at Sprint University and Dave Fogleman with SkillPath.
“When you’re running a company and you create a vision and it comes to fruition, there’s just a tremendous sense of personal satisfaction,” Bishop said.
The new modular training space can seat about 180 business professionals in one setting, or it can be divided into smaller learning spaces.
SkillPath celebrates 30 years this April. The 501(c)3 nonprofit specializes in training business professionals across many industries, fostering growth in management and leadership development skills, customer service and compliance-related manners, for instance.
“We’ve been a well-kept secret in Kansas City for years,” Bishop said, citing the organization’s training for Fortune 1000 companies, all 15 branches of the federal government, all five branches of the military and management staff at the National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association.
SkillPath also offers training on business communication, conflict resolution and transitioning into a management position, to name a few.
“Our growth has been exponential in the last year, especially in the tight employment market we’re in nationwide,” Bishop said, adding that the Kansas City market has a particular need for professional development training. “Employees today want to feel like the company values them, and they demonstrate that through investment in their employees’ professional development. That’s where we come in.”
All profits go toward the endowment fund of Graceland University, in turn providing funds for students to complete their college degrees. Graceland owns SkillPath.