SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. – Penn State Schuylkill has teamed up with the Pennsylvania National Guard to offer continuing education units (CEUs) to Pennsylvania National Guard members and state employees training in an efficiency program methodology known as Lean Six Sigma.
Lean Six Sigma is a process improvement approach focused on cutting waste and increasing quality to keep organizations competitive. Its emphasis on collaboration and efficiency has a natural kinship to military organizations, which is why the methodology is often employed by branches of the military such as the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, and the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Recently, Kathleen Fabrizi, an instructor in business at Penn State Schuylkill, saw the opportunity for the campus to partner with the National Guard and offer continuing education units to Lean Six Sigma course participants.
“This is an incredible opportunity for our guardsmen across the state to now receive CEUs for their military training,” Fabrizi said. “We hope this provides more value to our Pennsylvania Guard organizations looking to organically improve their processes, invest in their employees, increase buy-in from the team, and reduce barriers to process improvement implementation by using a collaborative, scientific approach to problem-solving in the government and not-for-profit sectors.”
Fabrizi also is an officer in the Air National Guard and director of continuous process improvement for the 20,000 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard. In this role, she teaches Lean Six Sigma academics, mentors students through process improvement efforts, and advises leaders at all levels in how to skillfully implement process improvement across the organization.
The Lean Six Sigma course includes 40 hours of instruction over five days and graduates earn 4.0 CEUs. Twenty-six graduates of a class held in August at the Pennsylvania National Guard Joint Force Headquarters were the first to be awarded CEUs from Penn State Schuylkill.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be teaming up with Penn State Schuylkill in this manner, and we look forward to growing our relationship,” said Brig. Gen. Michael J. Regan Jr., deputy adjutant general for air and commander of the Pennsylvania Air National Guard. “Many of our citizen-soldiers and airmen are current or former Penn State students who live and work in every county of the commonwealth and are seeking opportunities to expand their education and working knowledge through courses just like this one. Whenever we couple military experience and education with civilian experience and education, everyone wins.”
Penn State Schuylkill Chancellor Patrick Jones, himself a retired Pennsylvania Air National Guard officer, sees the training of citizen-soldiers as being closely aligned to the University’s founding mission.
"The development of military leaders is one of the foundational elements of our land-grant mission,” Jones said. “We are honored to partner with the Pennsylvania National Guard to offer continuing education units for graduates of this important program. Upon completion of the course, participants will be well prepared to more efficiently and effectively lead our citizen-soldiers and airmen."
Fabrizi looks forward to seeing this partnership grow and is planning additional workshops that will qualify for CEUs in the future.