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La Roche series focuses on professional development

By Laurie Rees
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

For businesspeople and human-resources professionals who wish to keep their finger on the pulse of various corporate issues — while having the opportunity of earning recertification credit hours — La Roche College is offering its next Professional Development Series.

The seminars will take place in the winter and early spring. The cost is $15 per session.

“This seminar series is so important because it keeps business people current. Our presenters are experts in the field. The issues we address are practical and topical,” said Jean Forti, department chairwoman for human resources management at La Roche and coordinator of the program.

Sessions, unless otherwise noted, will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Ryan Room of Zappala College Center at La Roche's campus at 9000 Babcock Boulevard in McCandless.

The upcoming series will cover these topics:

• “Analytic Tools for Every HR Professional,” Jan. 9.

• “A Global Challenge: The Intersection Between Human Resources Management and Corporate Social Responsibility,” Feb. 10.

• “Change Management Workshop,” March 13, in Room 103 of the Palumbo Science Center on the La Roche campus.

• “Conducting Internal Investigations: What Every Human Resource Professional Needs to Know,” April 7.

Each session has been approved for two recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR, and GPHR recertification through the Human Resource Certification Institute. PHR stands for professional in human resources, SPHR stands for senior professional in human resources, and GPHR stands for global professional in human resources.

“Most participants are human-resources folks, but we've had titles that really speak to a variety of businesspeople, like ‘Bullying in the Workplace' or ‘Social Media and Recruiting.' Some topics are not necessarily confined to human resources,” said Forti, 51, of Zelienople.

“(The workshops) are very valuable for people in the HR field or for managers wanting to learn more about various aspects of effective people management,” said Astrid Kersten, a professor of human resources management at La Roche. Shewill co-lead the “A Global Challenge: The Intersection Between Human Resources Management and Corporate Social Responsibility” session.

“Many organizations today realize that contributing to community well-being is not only an obligation but an essential element of good business strategy,” said Kersten, 58, of Pittsburgh's Observatory Hill neighborhood. “Often times, human-resources departments are key actors in these programs.”

Kersten said her presentation will provide ideas about how companies can bring about positive change on a global scale.

Rex Gatto designs and delivers training programs, coaches employees, and performs prehiring and skills-based assessments through his consulting firm, Gatto Associates LLC, based in Mt. Lebanon.

He has led workshops on an assortment of human-resources topics for the past 25 years. His “Change Management Workshop” will be his first presentation through La Roche's Professional Development Series.

“In business, we talk a lot about strategic planning, but there's only so much you can plan for because things change so fast,” said Gatto, 65, of Mt. Lebanon.

“During my session, we'll look at organizational changes that are greatly impacted by outside changes, whether they be governmental, environmental or something else,” he said. We'll discuss key things that need to be put into place. I'll help people to see that change is a good thing.”

Forti said attendance at the Professional Development Series' programs has grown 10-fold since the series' inception 10 years ago.

“People tell me this is one of Pittsburgh's best-kept secrets. They can network, keep up-to-date on issues that affect them in the workplace and earn recertification credits — all for just $15,” she said.

For more information or to register, call 412-536-1193, or go to Walk-in registration also is available.

Laurie Rees is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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