Written by Kevin Schnieders - CEO of EDSI
Imagine driving home from work, walking into your house, and telling your spouse that you’d like to quit your job and start a customized training company. That’s the conversation my dad initiated with my mom 35 years ago.
He left a very secure position as a school administrator behind, and my mom had sufficient confidence in his abilities to give him her approval. That was no small bet on her part. My older brother, Rob, was 11 years-old, I was 7 and my younger sister, Erin, was just 2. To help my mom hedge her bet, my dad approached the Superintendent with an offer. He wanted the district to give him 50% of his salary and full medical benefits for one year. In return, he promised to produce the same deliverables in half the time. They agreed and EDSI was born.
In that first year, my dad partnered with one of our current advisory board members, Kathleen Alessandro. They completed the National Demonstration Project for Dislocated Workers that spawned much of the original Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) legislation. My dad was also able to form a number of relationships within General Motors. That helped him transition to designing customized training solutions for GM, and its suppliers, throughout the 80s.
The later part of the decade brought a more diverse customer list for EDSI. We began developing solutions for Domino’s Pizza, Great Lakes Steel and Apple, as well as Job Task Analysis for Rockwell Aerospace. In 1993, my dad also trained a group of case workers in Allegheny County, PA, on an early version of job matching software EDSI had developed. During a follow-up meeting, the customer, Claire Morrison, the Director of Public Welfare for Allegheny County, asked my dad a simple question, “If you know so much about employers, and who they are looking to hire, why don’t you just do this work yourself?” That question led to our first job placement contract, and the launch of the Reemployment Transition Center (RTC) in Pittsburgh. Our goal was to place 50 dislocated steel workers.
Flash forward 20 years, and we are helping tens of thousands of people in transition throughout 40 locations, across 7 states. We also have more than 30 active consulting projects in 5 states, designing talent management and process improvement solutions for our corporate and government clients.
Thanks for taking that walk down memory lane with me. I’m awfully proud of my mom and dad for their initial courage, my dad’s leadership to build the company into a sustainable organization and all of the tremendously talented people who live our EDSI values every day.
CONGRATULATIONS AND HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!
Please take care of yourselves and one another.