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School's in Session

(September 2009) posted on Tue Sep 15, 2009

Head back to the classroom -- real or virtual -- to learnnew skills and refine existing practices

click an image below to view slideshow

By Clare Baker

As September rolls around, the balmy days of summer are suddenly becoming a thing of the past. And no matter if you’ve been out of school for two years or 20, the onset of
cooler days, crisp fall nights, and football-filled weekends serve as a reminder that another school year has commenced.

It’s a natural time, then, to think about how your shop can go “back to school” and to turn your thoughts to the training and education programs available to you and your
employees. In this ever-evolving industry, it’s imperative for shop owners, managers, and staff to stay on top of the latest technologies and techniques.

And while industry websites, blogs, and trade magazines such as this one play vital roles in keeping you in-the-know, they can only go so far in serving your shop’s
specific educational needs. Attending a conference, training program, or webinar, or completing an online training course can provide you with the individual tools needed to
take your shop to the next level. Keep in mind that, while budgets are showing signs of loosening, consumers are still being cautious with their dollars, so providing customers with the best possible product available is especially important to the success of your shop. Training and education are available from a variety of sources, including manufacturers and suppliers, tradeshow educational sessions, industry associations, and others.

Manufacturers and suppliers as educators
If your shop needs training on a specific software, equipment, or technique, attending a training session or taking an online course from a manufacturer or supplier might
be the way to go. Here, we highlight more than a dozen companies that have programs dedicated to training clients on specific products or providing educational resources for
both the business and technical sides of a shop’s operations (in alphabetical order).

Cyrious Software hosts CyrCon, an annual conference for users of Cyrious products. The conference includes product-specific training, user-led roundtable discussions, expert-user speakers, and sessions on new product features and enhancements.
The company also offers a series of live, weekly online classes to provide training on its various software products. The next conference is scheduled for April 2010 and will be held in Orlando, Florida.