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Provider Spotlight – Marshall Craft Associates, Inc.

When a firm takes the initiative to provide internal continuing education programs, both the company and employees benefit from the cooperative approach to learning. A firm builds a strong learning network where peers can collaborate and freely discuss current industry topics, while ensuring architects maintain licensure and AIA memberships. In addition, firms can establish a knowledge base among staff, educating employees about topics specific to the firm’s practices. Employees benefit by saving on cost, travel time, and effort in finding continuing education programs to fulfill licensure requirements and recognize new issues and resources in the field of architecture.

Thomas J. Carlson, AIA, Coordinator of Education and Training for the firm Marshall Craft Associates, Inc. (MCA), shared with AIA Continuing Education the features and benefits of promoting and implementing an in-house education system. Winners of the AIA/CES Award for Excellence in 2007 and 2009, Marshall Craft Associates of Baltimore, MD has supported an internal education system for 15 years and works to create a synergistic knowledge resource. Staff members are an integral part of the development and strategy of the continuing education program.

Employee collaboration is at the center of MCE’s thriving continuing education program. In- house course content directly reflects the input, needs and ideas of MCE’s employees. Carlson described the overall benefits of establishing a committee, consisting of employees who meet on a monthly basis to discuss and “tailor education to topics important to the office,” as resulting in coursework that represents a cross-section of personal viewpoints throughout the office. In addition, MCA management is very involved in refining and growing continuing education programs within the firm. Without the support of the higher staff and management, the continuing education program would not be as effective or well-received. Full employee involvement helps to make sure the program continues to be strong and worthwhile resource for staff.

In addition to five firm-sponsored, off-site workshops per year, MCA schedules lunch sessions, where employees participate in continuing education programs lead by staff or outside vendors. The two-hour off-site workshops are the focus of MCA’s continuing education program and were introduced by the firm when the AIA began requiring continuing education credits for architects. Concentrating on BIM and Design-Build, MCA also holds sessions on technical topics, liability, and public speaking.

Marshall Craft Associates constantly seeks quality and applicability in course content by conducting a survey each Fall to receive feedback and request topics for upcoming classes. MCA provides an all-inclusive education program where every staff member is encouraged to attend and contribute to continuing education sessions.

While Marshall Craft Associates does not deliver continuing education to architects outside of their firm, they advertise their superior education programs as a way to market their firm’s position at the forefront of the latest building technology and design in the field of architecture. Keeping staff up-to-date on relevant information and practices in architecture through continuing education is valuable to the success of MCA. “It’s part of our culture,” explained Carlson.

Thank you to Marshall Craft Associates, Inc.’s Thomas J. Carlson, AIA for contributing to this piece.

We will be featuring a column devoted to AIA/CES Providers each month. We are looking for Providers with a story or secret to share regarding course development, marketing, etc.

Providers, share your story with us on our blog and you could be featured in our next issue!


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