SKILLS BUILDING ON YOUR TIME SCHEDULE

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ECP Central is a new Internet resource designed to bring managers and staff the knowledge and skills they need to be proficient in their practices.

If you’re the owner or a manager of an optical office, one of your prime concerns is helping your employees stay current on knowledge they need to best perform. While keeping up to date seems like it should be their responsibility, a good owner or manager knows that the best way to ensure continued staff competence is to include ongoing training as part of the person’s job requirements and to provide training opportunities as often as possible.

Owners and managers also struggle with helping new trainees become productive in a short period of time. What they need is a solid basic knowledge and skills-training program. Fortunately, help has come in the way of a new Internet resource known as ECP Central.

THE BACKGROUND
Designed for eyecare professionals, ECP Central (ecpcentral.com) is essentially a one-stop resource center that focuses on skills-building information for those in the eyecare field. Unlike some continuing education seminars that have six or seven hours of topics that may not have any relevance to one’s professional responsibilities or interests, ECP Central has something for everyone, regardless of the level of expertise and background.

THE ORGANIZATION
ECP Central is divided into six categories: CE, Skill Building, Media, Business Management, Reference, and Resources. The CE section boasts a solid list of courses designed to update you on a variety of topics from free-form progressive lenses and sunwear topics to understanding children’s vision. All these courses are ABO CE credit caliber and most of them are eligible for ABO CE credit.

In Skill Building are articles about basic optics, lenses, frames, dispensing, sunwear, contact lenses, customer service, and the lab. The Media section contains audio files (podcasts) and videos from experts in the optical industry. Business Management transports you to Vision Care Venture magazine, a First Vision Media Group e-zine dedicated to the business side of eyecare and eyewear. The Reference category houses charts, graphs, and tables as well as a glossary of optical terms. Resources include links to a variety of industry organizations and to white papers written on a range of subjects.

Under these sections, you’ll find a continuously changing list of new content, with the most recent appearing at the top.

CERTIFICATION PROGRAM
An important feature of ECP Central is its certification program where new or recently hired personnel can read a short series of articles and obtain the information they need to become productive in a matter of weeks. Each bundle of articles concludes with a quiz. Employees who pass this exam receive a certification. It’s an excellent way to get new staff productive motivates them to learn.

Right now, ECP Central offers only a beginner certification. Intermediate and advanced certifications, as well as specialized tracks on topics like sunwear, lenses, and more will be added very shortly.

ECP Central is a valuable resource for ECPs. I hope you use it for all it’s worth!

Carol Gilhawley is a Senior Editor at VCPN.

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