Elsewhere in this issue, Martha E. Mangelsdorf shows how affordable training can be for even the smallest company. (See "Ground-Zero Training," [Article link].) But sometimes it takes perseverance to get the best price, as we learned from Larry Moore, director of education at the Plumley Cos., who wrote about his experience shopping for training materials in his book, Improving Workforce Basic Skills (Quality Resources, 1992).

Specifically, Moore wanted to purchase or rent videotapes for use in a general-education-development (GED) program at his company. (A GED provides the equivalent of a high school diploma to people who haven't made it through high school.) "I found that a set of GED videotapes sells for nearly $6,000, a good chunk of change. . . . But wait; I seemed to remember . . . something about an agreement between some states. . . ." He called Kentucky Educational Television and discovered that, under a state-to-state agreement, his Tennessee-based company could buy the tapes in Kentucky for $1,800. He then contacted the state office of education in Mississippi, where his company has two factories. Sure enough, Mississippi offered a complete set of the GED tapes for $132.

"That's right. From $6,000, I was now down to $132 for the exact same material. . . . Perhaps the only reason we haven't known about these programs is that we haven't needed to know. Well, quite a few of us do need to know now."

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