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Lake County small businesses continue to advance with no-cost workshops focused on developing their soft skills

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Mar 15, 2021

The Small Business Development and International Trade Center (SBDC-ITC) and the College of Lake County (CLC) continue to support small businesses in Lake County, Illinois with no-cost workshops aimed at developing their soft skills. Since October 2020, workshops have been provided in the areas of computer skills, stress management, marketing, finance, communication and other areas utilizing a tool called Training Assessments and Development (TAD). TAD is a cloud-based tool that offers a new way for small businesses to train, develop and assess their staff. 

SBDC Graphic"As a small business we all wear multiple hats to help ensure our business’ success competing with Big Box competition in the massage industry,” said Renee Messick, operations manager of Therapeutic Kneads, a massage therapy clinic in Highland Park. “Our staff needs to be a cut above to manage customer service, conflict resolution, marketing, proficiency in Microsoft Office products, project management and so on.  When we heard about the CLC’s offering to engage small businesses in learning opportunities through the SBA, we were elated to have the opportunity to provide growth through training the TAD program could offer.” 

Coming out of a nearly 6-month closure during the pandemic and operating on PPP funding, Messick felt increasing staff skill sets would help keep the company moving in a forward direction to weather the economic implications of the pandemic and thrive.  

“Having the learning at our fingertips makes the journey so much more attainable as we often spent precious resources of money and time with other learning opportunities that did not give us bang for our buck to increase skill sets in any way,” Messick says. “The structure of the TAD system is seamless.  From skill analysis, to the plethora of learning options, it’s such a vital tool for our company’s success today and into the future.” 

Features and benefits of TAD for small businesses include:  

  • Training in over 15 development areas that are affordable and, in some instances, no-cost. 

  • Over 3,000 high-quality, fully vetted workshops for professionals in any career stage. 

  • Business owners, managers or HR staff can manage and develop their employees from anywhere there is an internet connection. 

A one-year subscription to TAD is currently available at no-cost to small businesses with less than 500 employees in Lake County, thanks to the federal CARES Act funds provided to the SBDC-ITC.  

For more information on TAD or to apply for your no-cost subscription, contact Eric Pfligler at

About Therapeutic Kneads: 

Located in Highland Park, Illinois, Therapeutic Kneads, Ltd. is a massage therapy clinic in business for 24 years that offers customized, goal-oriented massage treatments for pain and stress in a safe, clean environment with the main goal of educating our client on the benefits of incorporating massage as part of a healthy lifestyle. 

About College of Lake County:  

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. The College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.