Job and career training is hardly a new concept, but it's become a more compelling entrepreneurial opportunity for a few good reasons. For starters, says Ed Schroer, vice president for new business development at ASTD, "Corporations are outsourcing more of their training services to independent consultants and suppliers."
Why? One reason is that in-house training often isn't cost-effective. Employers want cutting-edge expertise, but they don't necessarily want to pay for full-time trainers for each technical application they use. The same holds true for nontechnical training. Why keep a top-flight motivational trainer on staff when all a company really needs is an occasional shot in the arm?
Cost savings isn't the only advantage that independent trainers can offer. "Clients want rapid deployment of new technology and, with it, a rapid deployment of technical training," says Patricia Roberts, founder of technology training firm PTS Learning Systems in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. "They want just enough [training], just in time, just when they need it. They don't want to sit through an intro course or deal with a lot of extraneous information." Independent training firms provide instant access to top-level expertise.
Even outside the traditional corporate milieu, demand for training is strong. Through seminars, Cambria, California, career trainer Lucia Capacchione helps corporate and individual students cope with layoffs and career changes. Using techniques developed in the book she co-wrote, Putting Your Talent to Work (Health Communications), Capacchione guides students toward their true callings. "People want work that is meaningful, enjoyable, and that resonates with their values," she says. "No one was talking about this in the '70s, but interest in it has skyrocketed in recent years."