Of all the business disciplines that require continuous learning, Human Resources has to be one of the most demanding. Employment issues and regulations at all levels of government are constantly evolving, and HR specialists have to be well versed in them all.
Fortunately, HR specialists have a strong professional organization that offers the ongoing education they need, the Northern California Human Resources Association (NCHRA). Based in San Francisco, NCHRA is one of the largest chapter affiliates of the Society for Human Resource Management, a worldwide organization. Locally, the Greater Tri-Valley Chapter serves the cities of Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, Fremont, Newark, and Union City.
The Tri-Valley chapter is strong and growing - from approximately 180 members in 2007 to a current roster of 240, reports the NCHRA's Amy Powers. "There are almost 2,400 HR professionals in the Tri-Valley area. About 2,000 of them are in our data base as past members, prospects, or from having attended our events, so we serve a large community."
For next year, the chapter is adopting a new meeting schedule, going to an every-other-month cycle, on the second Wednesday of the month. "For 2011, we're piloting a new program, making regional meetings free for members. In the past there had been an attendance charge," Powers explains, adding that the non-member fee will still apply.
Alternating between early morning and lunchtime sessions, the meetings typically feature an hour-long program on HR-related subjects. Like true professionals, the chapter has already mapped out its 2011 agenda. The topics are: January, Conducting Your Annual HR Audit; March, Strategic Thinking as a Discipline; May, Speaking to the "Top of the House" (presentations to senior executives and boards of directors); July, Healthcare Reform Update; September, Building a Collaborative Work Environment; and November, Wage Compression (pay inequities between new hires and current employees). While the meetings had been held at ADP in Hacienda, next year's venues are still to be determined.
Other NCHRA chapters in the Bay Area often join forces to host larger learning events. The next one, on January 20 in Concord, is the annual Legal and Legislative Conference, a review of what happened in 2010 and a forecast of changes in store for 2011.
The marquee event is the HR West annual conference, which this year takes place at the Oakland Convention Center from April 11 to 13. The conference attracts over 500 attendees and dozens of exhibitors, while offering almost 80 different concurrent sessions that qualify for continuing education credits for professional recertification.
"Whether you need continuing CPE units, or just want to expand your HR knowledge base and have access to increased networking opportunities, our programs are a cost-effective resource," observes Greater Tri-Valley Chapter Chair Cathy Leibow, Vice President of LesConcierges and a Pleasanton resident. Noting that the local group also has a "combined social with the East Bay Chapter in the summer that is very popular," she invites the region's HR professionals to check out the organization at an upcoming event. For more information, contact Membership Chair Matt Liberatore at firstname.lastname@example.org , Membership Co-Chair Lily Chan at email@example.com , or visit the organization's website at www.nchra.org .
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