Local college official seeks to establish new program for black South Africans


About a dozen black South African middle managers looking to climb the corporate ladder will be getting help next year thanks to an Anne Arundel Community College administrator.

Gloria A. Holland, director of the college's Office of Business and Employee Training, visited Johannesburg this summer to get ideas for a program to train future black South African business leaders.

South Africa, once torn by apartheid, is looking for ways to train black managers for higher corporate positions, said Ms. Holland.

"They are very much like we were in the '60s with the [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] except they've got a worse situation. In the '60s, we weren't dealing with global competition, corporate downsizing and technology driving us the way it is today. They've got to come up to speed faster," said Ms. Holland, 51, a Glen Burnie resident.

During her two weeks in South Africa, Ms. Holland met with seven key employees in banking, engineering and other industries. They hashed out what midlevel managers need for advancement, skills such as decision making, problem solving and understanding financial reports.

This fall, Ms. Holland will travel to Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J., to help faculty members develop a six-month credit curriculum out of the information she gathered.

The first group of 12 to 15 South Africans is expected to enter the program by January, or no later than next summer. Their time will be divided between studying and internships at local companies, said Bill G. Clutter, dean of continuing education at Fairleigh Dickinson.

The South African companies will pay for the students' stay in America, said Ms. Holland. Many of the students hold advanced degrees.

The idea for the program began last year when Fairleigh Dickinson discussed bringing South Africans here to study with the South African Leadership Development Program, Mr. Clutter said. South Africans living in New Jersey founded the program after Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa and apartheid was overthrown.

Mr. Clutter, former dean of continuing education at Arundel Community College, said he chose Ms. Holland to help because of her background and because he worked with her at the college.

Ms. Holland has 33 years of experience designing employee training programs, including for the Department of Defense and Ford Aerospace and Communications Corp., which was bought by Loral Corp.

Mr. Clutter said he hopes to expand the program to other universities if it becomes a success at Fairleigh Dickinson.

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