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Bradenton company ups employee educational support

Many businesses value educational attainment and appreciate the impact on the local economy. Bradenton IT support and consulting firm United Systems Computer Group not only recognizes the external benefits, but takes it one step further to integrate it into the company culture. 
 
Now in its eighth year of business, the company delivers IT support services to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Tampa Bay region. The company is growing and thriving in a down economy, something they attribute, in part, to the value placed on employee educational attainment.
 
"Education is paramount to our success,'' says David Spire, president and CEO of United Systems Computer Group.
 
In addition to the typical tuition reimbursement, the company takes it a step further by providing paid time off for employees to study. They also have an on-site lab where employees can take a study break during the work day. Education is also an integral part of each employee's individual strategic plan.
 
In a world where long work hours are encouraged, the company truly supports work/life balance by telling employees to go home if they're working too long. Spire has even been known to pay for an employee to go on a date with his wife. "I don’t care if you like me, as long as your wife likes me,'' jokes Spire. 
 
Support from the business community is essential to increasing educational attainment in the region, a goal of the Graduate Tampa Bay initiative launched in March of this year in conjunction with the Talent Dividend. A 1 percent increase in the number of Tampa Bay residents with college degrees would result in an additional $3 billion for the region in the form of increased productivity, innovation and social benefits.
 
A perpetual learner himself, Spire is currently pursuing an MBA degree at Webster University's Sarasota campus.
 
"I'm the champion for my people,'' says Spire. "If I make their existence in the organization solid and enjoyable, they're going to take that out to our clients. Our clients are happy, and that's based on the happiness of our staff.''
 
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: David Spire, United Systems Computer Group

This story originally appeared in 83 Degrees on Dec. 4, 2012.
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