Continuing Education: A Cost or an Investment?

I was privileged to attend a Virginia Tech continuing education course titled “Introduction to Structural Design of Wood Buildings per the 2015 NDS”. The course instructors included the legendary Frank Woeste P.E. Ph.D., John “Buddy” Showalter P.E., and Joe Loferski Ph.D.

In later blog posts, I’ll touch on some of the topics covered during the three-day course as well as introduce some of the resources that are available to those involved in the building industry for those who may be unfamiliar with them. Today, however, I want to answer the question posed above.

The Cost

For truss design, there aren’t any “truss designer” continuing education requirements from outside governing bodies. This is primarily because responsibility for overall building design doesn’t fall on the truss designer. So, why attend? Isn’t that just a waste of time and money? Wouldn’t it be better to focus on delivering a quality service to our clients? Consider that we incurred direct expenses (the course cost, hotel, food, travel, etc.) Indirectly, the staff at Gould Design, INC. had to cover for me while I was out of the office for three very busy days. In short, one way to look at this course is its cost. Was it worth it?

The answer will differ depending on perspective. A pure accounting perspective would attempt to measure the cost and project a return. However, a return on education is difficult to measure and the return on investment (ROI) may look different depending on the individual.

Investing for the Future

To invest is to enter into a long-term mindset. We have accepted the use of time and other resources now (the cost we talked about earlier) in the hope that the short-term sacrifice will benefit the organization in the future. Education supplies us where we were deficient and equips us for the complex challenges we may face as we apply our new found knowledge and skills in our work.

Not only does the individual who received the education grow, but he or she can then take what they have learned and teach others. This magnifies the impact of that initial investment.

Without this long-term mindset, an organization will stagnate and loses its ability to compete with other companies that are investing in their people.

Fortunately for me, Gould Design Inc. has and will continue to invest in its employees which in turn is an investment for the future growth of GDI, INC.

Tim Hoke – Design Manager / Sales

Gould Design Inc.

Look for more posts regarding this course in the weeks to come!