Leading-Practice Workforce Development Programs

Help us grow a comprehensive library of leading-practice workforce development and training programs. To add a new program, use the “Submit a Program” button and complete the easy, step-by-step process. The submitted program will be reviewed and approved by the CURT admin before it is available in the listing below.

NOTE: Programs with a next to them are recognized as recipients of the CURT Award of Excellence for workforce development.
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Performance Contractors, Inc. ‘The Right Fit’ Craft Evaluation Centers Performance Contractors, Inc. 2019-07-22 Our mission can be summed up by our corporate motto: “Taking it to the next level.” This means going beyond excellence – it means working smarter, working harder, and going further than anyone else in the industry. Performance provides value not only to its clients, but also to its employees in terms of a safe work environment and superior training opportunities. As our industry grows and it becomes more difficult to fill craft positions, it is important that we focus not only on filling labor requisitions but filling them with the highest quality, most qualified candidates possible. Our dedicated Training Department focuses on recruiting and training high potential candidates then furthering them in their careers. Performance Contractors sponsors 54 high schools, partners with over 40 technical colleges, has established relationships with an extensive list of military institutions, and are members of 7 ABC Training Institutions. We have regional training coordinators in our Southeast LA, Baton Rouge, LA, Houston, TX, and Mobile, AL offices. Full time Craft Evaluators at each of our offices test and screen recruits to ensure that their skills are properly classified. We also employ a full time Military Workforce Development professional focused on hiring, training, and retaining former and current military members, and our Veteran’s programs have been Nationally recognized for excellence since 2013. We also have a team of full-time foreman trainers that travel to each jobsite delivering soft skills training and administering our “Building America Careers” Mentorship program. This program has proven to be a successful and invaluable tool for employee advancement and certification. Performance Contractors is accredited by NCCER and with 7 testing locations, Performance gives over 1000 NCCER assessments annually. What’s new? Our entire hiring and onboarding process has been tooled and streamlined to ensure that only the highest quality well qualified candidates make it to our jobsites. The process accurately and efficiently evaluates a candidate’s skill level and offers them a roadmap to further development and certification. Seasoned industry professionals guide candidates through interviews, written tests, and hands-on real-world performance evaluations. The process continues on the jobsite where certifications and required training - both hard and soft skills - are tracked, audited and kept current by a dedicated staff. This process ensures that Performance Contractors assembles the finest craft team in the industry and that our employees never stop learning. In addition, we have constructed and equipped new HR Training facilities designed specially to facilitate this mission. Evaluation centers were fully outfitted in all four regions to asses Carpenters, Rodbusters, Boilermakers, Pipefitters, Riggers, Ironworkers, Millwrights, Welders, Crane Operators and others. We also built a mobile unit that can be deployed to more remote jobsites. A full description and supporting documentation will be provided via this CURT award application process. Workforce Development - Training & Retention Misclassification of Labor – Putting the right people in the right places the FIRST time. One of the most important issues that our evaluation program addresses is misclassification of labor. While it is natural for candidates to wish to be classified and paid above their skill level, it is severely detrimental to the safety and productivity of the individual and their coworkers as well as the client and project. When an unqualified employee makes it to the jobsite, it doesn’t do anyone any favors and puts people and productivity at risk. Having a highly qualified evaluator assess candidates before a position is offered minimizes these risks. It further serves the individual by giving them guidance on what they need to focus on and how they can attain the next level of competence. Our written and hands on tests were designed to be easily varied between candidates so that the tasks and answers could not be simply memorized. Our reclassification rate went from 17% in 2017 down to 11% in 2018 which shows a positive and encouraging trend as it means candidates are being more accurate while applying for positions knowing the stringent tests they will have to pass to make it to the jobsite. Candidates would rather invest in their careers by starting at a lower classification with Performance Contractors and learn the craft more thoroughly before advancing. Setting expectations and a career path with candidates. From time to time we encounter craft professionals coming from other companies who have been trained ineffectively or incompletely in their craft and must be reclassified during the evaluation process. For example, an employee who was an A-class Journeyman at their previous company, may only test to the standard of a B-class at ours. When this happens, it is sometimes difficult for a candidate to accept a perceived demotion because they’ve been previously classified as a journeyman at a former employer. Our evaluators use their industry knowledge to identify areas for growth by explaining exactly where deficiencies are and how they will be overcome. They are not rushed in this process and are able to dedicate as much one on one time as the candidate requires. They introduce our mentorship and craft training programs and how they will benefit the new employee, as well as getting them in contact with our regional training coordinator to enroll in craft training or upgrade training where needed. This allows the new hire to view working for Performance as an investment in themselves and their career. Most candidates accept this alternate position and hit the jobsite hopeful for their future in the industry. Having the correct facilities and equipment is key! The largest barrier to the craft evaluation process was the development, building and equipping of the facilities. When the program was first developed and implemented evaluations were conducted in our parking lot under a small tent and inside an adjacent shipping container. While it was effective, it was not comfortable for the employee nor evaluator and took a lot of extra effort to manage. Physical security of the equipment and modules was also a challenge. The plan was always to start with what we had and then build better facilities. To fully roll out and implement the program, three new personnel and hiring centers were purpose built and others were retrofitted. These facilities are specifically designed to maximize the efficiency of the hiring and evaluation process as everything needed in most cases is under one roof. The equipment used in the testing facilities is the exact same as used in the field to enable realistic situations to be created and provide more accurate evaluations. We also invested in state of the art Virtual Reality Crane simulators for the centers. By making the commitment and investment to build out new facilities we have made the process much more secure, comfortable, efficient, and most importantly, consistent. The ‘Human’ in ‘human resources’ Our onboarding and evaluation program is set up to look at the employee as person, an asset, and an investment instead of a body on a job. This sentiment comes from top management and is amplified by our staff working the program from start to finish. When selecting an evaluator, great care is taken to choose an individual who not only has a full career worth of on the job experience but also the right personality for the mission. By the end of our craft evaluation process, new employees know that when they hire on with Performance Contractors they are not just hiring in for this job, but a way to further their career. Having the evaluation program allows us to better gauge where an employee’s career is currently as well as which direction it should go. Time is taken during the process to lay out a road map of success for the individual, and clearly defines a ladder for them to climb. The extra time candidates spend with our craft evaluators makes both the employee and field management more confident in what to expect immediately upon arrival at the jobsite as well as in the future. It is also a force multiplier for jobsite safety as employees arrive with hands on experience of the site-specific required regulations and PPE. Building America Careers Mentorship Program Performance Contractors has done an incredible job of training and recruiting new and existing employees for years and feel we lead the industry in these two categories. Convincing top talent to give your company a shot is one thing, but creating loyal employees is another. Our company had grown at such an exponential rate that some of the field employees felt like they were getting lost in the shuffle. We created the ‘Building America Careers’ Mentorship program to address that sentiment and bring the family atmosphere back to our field employees. The Mentor Program focuses on recognizing and rewarding valuable employees and moving them up the ladder of success. General Foremen and Supervisors are charged with recognizing the talents within crew members and guiding them to take the next steps in their career. This initiative also challenges each General Foremen and Supervisor to raise the bar in safety, quality, and productivity for themselves and their crews. Every Month, employees are rewarded and recognized for their advancements and efforts to the entire company. The BAC Mentor Program addresses retention by investing in both parties; the Mentor and the employee. Our Mentors are rewarded for training and certifying their employees, but the craft employee wins as well. Once certified, they are eligible for promotions and additional pay. Virtual Reality Crane Simulators - New technologies create new opportunities to develop the workforce. Being a leader in workforce development in a competitive industry means embracing new ideas and technology. We recently invested in ITI Virtual Reality Crane simulation systems for our evaluation centers, and they are already proving valuable. The systems use VR technology to provide a platform where we can accurately and efficiently asses the skills and techniques of crane operators. They also provide a safe environment for training and skills upgrading in house. With over 150 different courses and tasks, they can recreate real world situations and lifts that prepare our employees to work in any eventuality, even sudden weather events. As an example, a young operator came in looking for employment. He had the certificates required but very limited seat time, which is a major hurdle for new operators. He seemed like someone that we would want to invest in but had to be up to standard to earn a seat. Our evaluator put him on the simulator, ran him through various tests, and he performed exceptionally. The evaluator called site supervision and explained the situation. Now, after a month on the job, all accounts say that he was a good hire and is performing well. Without the means to test this employee or an evaluator willing to spend a little extra time with him, we could have missed out on a great opportunity. The first step is to get buy in from superiors and identify passionate employees to drive the program forward. Without support and people that care, the program will be much less effective. The second step is to establish goals and develop a plan of implementation, then get started. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect, rather start with what you have and shape the program as you go. The third step is to track progress so that changes and tweaks can be made to improve the program’s performance over time. David Theriot
Winning the Talent War Interstates 2019-07-26 “Winning the Talent War” encompasses Interstates’ desire to always pursue a better way as well as to continue to provide opportunities for our people—current employees and future generations. Our industry is facing an unprecedented talent shortage. In order for Interstates to thrive in the current environment, we need to position ourselves to attract, retain, engage, and develop talent as we never have before. To accomplish this, we have focused on three primary areas: First, we increased our focus beyond typical recruiting grounds. We actively engage students as young as grade school in the trades, continuing up through CTE (Career and Technical Education) partnerships among Interstates, high schools, and technical schools. We push for active partnerships in each of our primary office locations and drove the creation of a CTE (Career and Technical Education) partnership at our corporate headquarters in Sioux Center, Iowa, between the local high schools and Northwest Iowa Community College. We even invested in a $3.1 million building to host CTE education on our Interstates Sioux Center campus. Second, we created an organizational strategy focused on empowering and equipping our current employees to understand and drive development. We want to be a learning and developmental organization. To support this effort, we created an internal tool, the Talent Card, which employees and managers use to openly communicate about career journey desires, provide developmental feedback, as well as review safety and training opportunities. Third, we reinforced culture, the Interstates Core, to ensure a meaningful and engaging employee experience. The Interstates Core consists of our core values—Building relationships through: quality, dependability, integrity, trust, and family. The Interstates Core also includes our client vision of Understanding Needs and Delivering Results, as well as the reasons we are in business, which are Providing Opportunities for Our People, Making a Difference with Our Clients, and Pursuing a Better Way. To bolster and promote our core, we invested in an employer branding effort called Interstates. Let’s Build. that we reinforced internally as well in our communities through team service events and community engagement opportunities. One example of Interstates. Let’s Build. is our partnership with the Sioux Center Chamber of Commerce and the Classroom to Careers program. Local educators enroll in this program and partner with local businesses to learn more about employment skills and career opportunities for students. There are currently 17 educators and business people participating in this program. Our focus on future generations, our drive to have a learning organization, and our commitment to sustaining our culture is what will not only help Interstates Win the Talent War but as more construction companies focus on workforce development, we will all be more successful together as more people are attracted to construction careers. Workforce Development - Training & Retention CTE Partnerships We learned a lot over the past year from starting a CTE partnership with local high schools in Northwest Iowa and Northwest Iowa Community College. A valuable lesson learned was to establish role clarity early and revisit it often. For example, over the past year there have been misunderstandings regarding who was responsible for promotional opportunities for potential students. We are learning from these situations and are doubling down on our efforts to make sure this CTE program thrives and expands over the next 50 years or more. Getting Leader Buy-in on the Value of Developing Others A crucial component of the “Winning the Talent War” program is the mindset of our leaders. Our field leaders and project managers are trained to execute at the highest level for the client, and we want that to continue. At the same time, we know that to meet our growing organization’s heavy leadership demands, our leaders need to believe and actively engage in the development of others. We have learned that demonstrating the importance of development is critical. For example, we spend time connecting the dots on the growth we can experience with leadership bench strength or the pain we will feel if we don’t have employees and leaders developed. We have many stories of the former and the latter, and we ask leaders to share during peer issue processing what is working and isn’t working. This builds a common understanding of why leaders should invest their time in providing experiences, having career journey conversations, working through skill development, doing general well-being check-ins, etc., even with employees who are on their job-sites for a shorter time period. Leaders Learn Best from Each Other, So We Need to Provide Time and Space for Them to Be Together During Interstates’ annual leadership training held for crew leaders, foremen, and superintendents, we have implemented a portion called Issue Processing. Individuals bring a challenge they are currently facing (generally client, employee, or contractor related), and the group comes together to give guidance on next steps and how to reach a favorable outcome. Throughout this process, the group ensures that the leader is truly figuring out the actual problem, and not missing a more significant issue that has contributed to the current situation. At the conclusion of the process, the employee picks the top three suggestions in order to move forward by a certain date. The program is set up so the employee who owns the issue has to report back to the group with the outcome and status of the issue. This process holds the employee accountable and has the added benefit of letting the entire group learn from each other’s experience. Live Out Your Values—The Interstates Core Value to Take Care of the Whole Employee We believe the best way to ensure the inclusivity of our culture is through our core values. When new employees join Interstates, the first thing they learn are our values. As onboarding facilitators, we do more than just read these out loud – we talk through what each core value means from the new employee’s vantage point and what it means to us. We have incorporated a session into our leader training entitled, “Interstates Core Value, what does it mean for you?” To live out our values, they have to continually be reviewed and discussed. Our core values reflect how we treat our people, they don’t stop when the work day is completed, and they encompass the whole employee. This dedication to the whole employee is displayed in the financial training we provide. Apprentices in the 2nd and 4th year of the program go through a mandatory financial class where they are taught basic financial principals related to buying a home, buying a vehicle, retirement investing/saving, and credit card debt. The financial class has been incorporated into the Foreman- and Superintendent-level classes as well. At this stage, we bring in a financial advisor that any field leader can meet with, free of charge. In these sessions, the financial planner will review any financial matter and provide guidance for the employee. Kill the Performance Review—Move to More Frequent Coaching Conversations One of our most successful development approaches is the way in which we conduct performance evaluations. We recently moved away from a formal, annual evaluation and performance review and, instead, have focused more on what we call “Quarterly Coaching Conversations.” With the use of our Talent Card, employees and their supervisors meet once a quarter to discuss the employees’ performance and focus on a particular topic. These topics are communicated company-wide by the Organizational Development team and include issues such as feedback, training opportunities, goal setting, etc. In addition to these quarterly conversations, we have also found success in having face-to-face check-ins to see how employees are doing in regard to both work and their personal lives. As part of this process, key leaders have one-on-one conversations with all craft employees on an annual basis. This format provides employees with direct feedback regarding their growth and development and also gives our key leaders an opportunity to check in with employees and their family members. During this meeting, we verify that the employee understands the current benefits we provide (e.g. our insurance options and 401K retirement plan options), and inquire to see if there are other ways we can support the employee, both professionally and personally. Teach Leaders the Business and Industry Imperative of Developing Others Organizations should spend time helping leaders understand why it is vital for the industry and their own company that they take the time to develop other people. Spending time developing someone’s career is not only a great retention tool but also a proven recruitment method. When people see that a role in construction isn’t just a job but can be an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding career in the industry, word spreads. Additionally, organizations need to teach leaders not to become discouraged if they don’t see their personal investment come to fruition. The employees they invest in will likely move jobs or may even move on from Interstates, but leaders should feel pride in the investment they made in someone’s career. This message has resonated well with our leaders due to the high number of “boomerangs” or returning employees who, after leaving and returning to Interstates, are committed employees. We also continue to support Interstates alumni when they reach out for information on our Winning the Talent War program because they want to implement something similar at their new organizations. Leaders should align on investing time and resources for development. If they use a strategic facilitation process to determine their implementation areas to Win the Talent War, they will have buy-in moving forward. Leaders need to do the heavy lifting to make workforce development part of the culture and day-to-day operations, not something driven by HR alone. To replicate our program, a key step, after identifying your specific focus areas, would be to find a user-friendly tool (i.e., system/app) that leaders and employees can use to track development—from career journey desires, skills to achieve, or trainings that have been completed. A strong second step would be to identify gaps in roles, and then think long term: form partnerships with grade, middle, and high schools and technical schools. Creating interest in the construction industry through CTE programs and efforts to educate and engage students has the added benefit of promoting brand awareness in your communities. For the same reasons, industry stakeholders should start an apprenticeship program and formalize internship programs for key positions, such as project coordinators. A third step is equipping your leaders with the skills necessary for fostering psychological safety. When employees feel safe, they are comfortable to say what they need to say regarding their career paths. Leaders can then give specific, timely coaching advice or feedback. For this to work, the leader must have a mindset that acknowledges developing others is a business imperative for continued success. Leaders must be trained on how to coach, empathize, create psychological safety, and empower employees to take ownership of their developmental journeys. Interstates has built a library of testimonial videos to aid in the recruiting and retention of employees Interstates has built a library of testimonial videos to aid in the recruiting and retention of employees Interstates has built a library of testimonial videos to aid in the recruiting and retention of employees Interstates has built a library of testimonial videos to aid in the recruiting and retention of employees Benj Van Donge
HireLAX Apprenticeship Readiness Program: Cultivating Skilled Labor for the Los Angeles World Airports LAX $14B Capital Improvement Program Los Angeles World Airports 2019-08-03 The Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) LAX $14 billion capital improvement program requires skilled labor and contractor capacity to deliver its Gold Standard Airport on-time and within budget, while maximizing its commitment to include the participation of local residents in its construction (see LAWA CIP chart). To this end, LAWA created the HireLAX Apprenticeship Readiness Program (HireLAX ARP). The HireLAX ARP is a comprehensive, free, 8-week, 240-hour construction apprenticeship readiness program taught at nearby Los Angeles Southwest College that is designed to include local institutional assets and address the challenges confronted by disadvantaged individuals. Students are simultaneously enrolled in college together with the applicable City of Los Angeles WorkSource Center or County of Los Angeles American Job Centers for supportive services that help address employment barriers. HireLAX ARP’s integrated model includes six key features: (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpT77boP__I) A. Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) Comprehensive construction training including math, blueprint reading, construction, tools and materials. B. OSHA-10 and First Aid/CPR Training Certification Students are taught and exposed to the importance of construction safety and to develop a jobsite safety culture. C. Hands-On Projects and Field Trips Students participate in class construction projects to develop hands-on skills, team building and tool identification; onsite training visits to nearby large and complex construction projects; and visit apprenticeship training facilities to learn about specific trades and make a determination about the craft they will pursue. D. Physical Fitness / Conditioning Students participate in daily construction fitness training to prepare their bodies and mind for a construction career that is reinforced with the principles outlined in the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) regulation. E. Case Management, Supportive Services and Employment Development Comprehensive case management and supportive services are provided by the non-profits Flintridge Center and 2nd Call (funded by LAWA), as well as the County and City of Los Angeles workforce development supportive services network. This support framework includes: a. Weekly counseling and life skills training to overcome past trauma and improve self-worth and confidence. b. Financial and counseling support for barriers to employment such as childcare, past involvement with the criminal justice system, mental health issues, homelessness, transportation and driver’s license issues, and the cost of tools and State-approved apprenticeship program initiation fees after graduation. c. Networking with contractors, apprenticeship training programs and unions to explore career placement opportunities, learn about individual trades, and gain advice on how to prepare to begin a construction career. F. Retention Retention is improved by ongoing case management and placement assistance that continues after graduation. Specifically, HireLAX case managers follow-up with graduates weekly for two months; monthly for 10 months; and quarterly for three years. Retention is tracked in Workforce Manager, a new system that HireLAX helped create in collaboration with the online certified payroll system provider, LCPTracker, that automates and integrates all workforce data about trainees and graduates in an online platform that helps track retention in greater detail, including wages and career trajectories within the region. Workforce Development - Skilled Craft Labor a. Availability and Eligibility for Publicly Funded Supportive Services Creates Program Limitations Seek partners and resources beyond those that are originally designed to support disadvantaged individuals and recognize that government agencies cannot satisfy all needs. HireLAX ARP is partnered with the City of Los Angeles and County of Los Angeles workforce development systems for supportive services that help address employment barriers for disadvantaged workers, such as child care, transportation, tools, boots, apprenticeship initiation fees, etc. However, funds and/or services may not be readily available when the individual needs it or what they need is not eligible for support. The cost of construction boots cost up to $150 but WorkSource Centers and American Job Centers are unable to process payment to the vendor in a timely manner, therefore, there is a reluctance from the vendor to provide the boots required for training. Additionally, the cost reimbursement process may take longer than the 8-week training period. Additionally, these partners, in some situations, are unable to pay the full cost of the union initiation fees thereby precluding a graduate to go to work on demand. To date, these centers have provided approximately $28,000 in supportive services. HireLAX is now partnered with the Weingart Foundation, a philanthropic organization, and a major LAWA contractor to receive a total of $50,000 in grant monies to immediately cover expenses and avoid delay in students starting their training with the proper PPE or for a graduate to begin work when the offer is made. a. Drug Testing Policy and Remediation Plan is Required to Address Barriers to Job Readiness It is unrealistic to believe that people will change their way of life during an 8-week training period, but we must reinforce safety as a core value and that contractors investing in a new first period apprentice should be provided a candidate who is ready and serious about a career in construction. Disadvantaged individuals confront numerous employment barriers and one of those may be drug use. Previously, HireLAX ARP drug tested each trainee upon starting the program. If they tested positive, then they were given a warning and instructed to clean up during the 8-week training period. Students were also told that contractors would drug test them and if they tested positive, the contractor would release them from the job. This situation happened often and compromised program credibility. HireLAX ARP established the Drug Testing Policy and Remediation Plan that requires drug testing during the first and last weeks of training; denies graduation to trainees who test positive after second drug test but enables trainees to clean up during a two-month grace period and use life skills counseling. After two months, the trainee is drug tested again and if they pass, they will be recognized as a HireLAX ARP graduate and referred to contractors for hiring consideration. a. Home and Community Trauma Needs to be Addressed to Help Disadvantaged Individuals Confront their Barriers so that they can Focus on their Future The trauma that numerous individuals live through cannot be adequately addressed with limited counseling during an 8-week apprenticeship readiness training program. Disadvantaged individuals tend to have a history of trauma that is rooted in their home life or in the communities in which they live. HireLAX ARP recognized that life skills training during the 8-week training period would help individuals recognize their feelings and experiences and provide them with tools that could help them focus on their training. While this premise was true, it was not sufficient to reinforce long-term job retention. HireLAX is structurally reinforcing its graduates to continue to attend the Life Skills training provided by its partner, 2nd Call. 2nd Call makes counseling available every Thursday evening to HireLAX graduates. In these Thursday evening forums, HireLAX graduates are among other construction workers who share a common history of trauma. Together, and through thoughtful dialogue, they help one another continue on a positive path that enable them to continue their careers in construction earning good wages and benefits that will hopefully steer them and their families onto a different life trajectory. Multi-Phase Retention Case Management Approach that Provides a Continuum of Support to Increase the Retention of Graduates in Construction Careers. HireLAX ARP created a retention case management approach that begins after graduation. Program graduates are contacted within a three phased schedule: Phase I-Weekly for two months; Phase II-Monthly for 10 months; and Phase 3-Quarterly for three years. This approach results in four years of continuous contact that will support graduates through their apprenticeship years. During each phase, the HireLAX ARP case managers will ask graduates for an update on their job experience, areas that require additional training support, experience with employer and co-workers, and assess the need for additional supportive services, such as counseling, childcare, transportation, or other need that may potentially hinder their success. All data collected is journaled in the Workforce Manager system that enables data collection, follow-up, and quantifies the value of supportive services provided to graduates throughout their career. Any changes to contact information will also be added to the system to ensure that contact is maintained throughout the four phases. a. Developed Workforce Manager System Configuration to Track, Monitor and Report Graduate Retention and Long-Term ROI of the HireLAX ARP HireLAX ARP created Workforce Manager in collaboration with LCP Tracker, the company that created and owns the widely used online certified payroll system, to track trainee training progress, certifications earned, case management and referral, placement, and the long-term career trajectory and wages earned to quantify the return on investment (ROI) of apprenticeship readiness training and success of LAWA’s local hiring policies within the Los Angeles region. The system is programmed to generate custom reports that provide a history and value of supportive services provided to trainees and graduates; placement success report that shows graduate placement, including employer, craft, union affiliation, and cohort; and placement opportunity report that is given to contractors to share available graduates for hiring consideration. Workforce Manager connects to LCP Tracker’s certified data to track HireLAX ARP graduates’ career trajectory from apprentice to journeyman, wages earned over time, projects worked on throughout the Los Angeles region, and retention on a construction career path. The Workforce Manager data is also used to create the HireLAX Workforce Manager System Dashboard that illustrates the cumulative success of all graduates, including wage earned, hours worked, ethnicity, gender, craft and GIS mapping. See HireLAX Workforce Manager Dashboard and Workforce Manager Supportive Services Report a. Real-Time Workforce Data Reporting HireLAX ARP created custom reports in the LCP Tracker online certified payroll system to track the hiring of its graduates by LAWA contractors at all tiers, including classification, headcount, hours worked, wages earned with or without benefits, and their contribution to the local economy. These reports enable HireLAX ARP to monitor LAWA contractor compliance with hiring program graduates, local workers, and track disadvantaged and/or veteran status, as well as to help contractors remain compliant with apprentice to journeyman ratios required on public works projects. See LAWA Local Worker Utilization Report by PRJ and LAWA Local Worker Hiring Performance by PRJ Define the market conditions that would support an apprenticeship readiness program, such as 1) current demand for skilled workers in local community or region, 2) policies that promote the hiring of local residents, 3) industry stakeholders (contractors, unions) that share your evaluation of the market conditions, and 4) the execution timelines and values of existing CIPs. If the market conditions are ripe, then engage these stakeholders in the program development and implementation strategy. Conduct an asset inventory of 1) existing training programs, 2) available workforce development supportive services, 3) funding streams for apprenticeship and apprenticeship readiness training, 4) educational institutions, 5) philanthropic organizations that invest in workforce development or serve special populations (women, homeless, foster youth, etc.), and 6) known professionals and subject matter experts in this field. Individuals representing key assets should be engaged in the program development and implementation strategy. All partners should agree to commit through an MOU that defines scope, commitments, roles and responsibilities, and process for accountability. Identify an online data reporting system that you will use to track and manage the program and evaluate performance. The system should be one that is industry recognized and widely used with confidence to ensure that your data is above reproach when shared with industry, community and institutional stakeholders. Additionally, the system should contain security features that will protect students’ private information and should be able to easily communicate with other systems through an application programming interface (API). To maximize the value and use of the system, training should be provided to program staff, partners and stakeholders. Video provides an overview of the program and shares the transformational impact of the program through the voices of its graduates and partners. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote a column in the Wave Newspapers to highlight the impact of the HireLAX ARP on local lives and their role in building LAX. Spanish media interview of HireLAX ARP graduates and program partners. This webpage provides an overview of the program, including registration information and schedule, press releases and media coverage, and additional resources for community stakeholders and partners. Veronica Soto
Skills Exploration Days aims to inspire junior high students to explore their skilled trade talents and interests in their education journey. Skills Canada Alberta 2020-07-03 Skills Exploration Days is an opportunity for over 600 teachers and junior high students (grades 7-9) to participate in an authentic and meaningful skilled trade and technology career exploration experience. Building on the Maker Day model, the goal of the day is to encourage the use of empathy through design thinking, inquiry, making, and experiential learning. Using the videos, Prezi presentations and worksheets provided on the Skills Exploration Days website, students across Alberta are introduced to the 5 phases of the design thinking process – empathy, define, ideate, prototype and test. Prior to attending Skills Exploration Days, teachers are required to facilitate the empathy, define and ideate phases during their regular class time. The design thinking process begins by introducing students to a design challenge, which is a real-life scenario/problem that encourages students to use inquiry and problem based learning to design a solution. Teachers also use the human-centered design thinking activity to help guide their students through the first 3 phases of the design thinking process where they will not only solve the design challenge problem, but will design a solution with real-life purpose that is based on the wishes and needs of others. The last step in the classroom requires students to draw a final prototype sketch, the solution, which they will bring to Skills Exploration Days and participate in the prototype and test phases of the design thinking process. At Skills Exploration Days, students will tour over 38,000sqft and participate in a skilled trade and technology career exploration experience by visiting the Learn-A-Skill stations. The Learn-A-Skill stations will allow students to explore their interests and passions as they rotate through hands-on stations for the opportunity to work one-on-one with over 100 industry experts and learn how to use tools, technology, and materials safely while also acquiring career related skills and knowledge. Cabinet Making (scroll saws and sanders), Carpentry (mitre saws and power tools), Electrical Installation (wires and circuits), Fashion Technology (sewing machines), Graphic Design (Photoshop), Painting and Decorating (paint and brushes), Plumbing (PVC pipe and fittings), Sheet Metal (benders and shears), and Welding (welding machines) are examples of the Learn-A-Skill stations. Students will then have 2.5 hours to apply their newly acquired skills and knowledge to independently construct a prototype using the final prototype sketch that was created in the classroom. Along with using the power tools and materials provided at the Learn-A-Skill stations, students will also use the Shared Pantry (the “Home Depot” store with small bits and pieces) and the Reuse Centre (extra pieces of cardboard and material) which encourages students to recycle, reuse, and become aware of environmentally-friendly materials. Students will then complete the test phase of the design thinking process by participating in a gallery tour where they get to test and display their prototypes and ensure it solved the design challenge. Throughout the day, students can earn badges and display them on their safety vest. 12 badges can be earned for following safety requirements, demonstrating environmental stewardship, completing a skill successfully and collaborating positively with others. Workforce Development - Training & Retention How can Skills Canada Alberta support Alberta’s new CTF Program of Studies? When the new CTF Program of Studies was implemented in Alberta schools, SCA knew we had to supply support to these junior high school teachers who were being affected. A barrier we faced was that most of our current programming at the time was geared towards high school and post secondary students. We had to put on our thinking caps and during some research, the SCA team stumbled upon the concept of Maker Day and right away we knew this would be a perfect fit. We then piloted Skills Days where students constructed prototypes using dollar store materials such as popsicle sticks, modeling clay, string, hot glue guns and dremel tools. Due to logistics, SCA soon discovered that Skills Days needed more authentic power tools and materials in order to promote the true skilled trade and technology industries. This was when Skills Exploration Days was born! How can SCA get industry experts to teach the students how to use the tools? Due to the amazing skill set of the SCA staff, booking a venue and filling the seats was the easy job, however, we needed the experts to supply and run the tools in the Learn-A-Skill stations. It would be the experts who would know which tools and materials would be needed for each station, but we also needed experts who would work well with junior high students. We dug deep into our dedicated volunteer pool and we were blown away by the excitement shown by high school shop teachers, post-secondary instructors and even industry leaders to volunteer their time and tools at Skills Exploration Days. This has also been a great opportunity to invite our SCA alumni students/past competitors to volunteer and become positive role models for the junior high students. We need a design challenge that all students can connect with. With any school activity, it must be engaging and relevant to the students in order to keep them interested and excited. In our first year, with the design challenge “Refugee Crisis,” students had to develop a prototype that would help refugees on their travels by addressing some of their basic needs and help families arrive safe at their destination. Unfortunately, many junior high aged students were unfamiliar with this topic so it was hard for them to connect to it and think outside of the box. After the prototype building, we were surprised by the lack of variety as almost every team built some sort of super backpack. Going forward, we realized that the design challenge topic had to be relevant to the students and created design challenges such as Using Smart Technologies Smartly to Improve Life in Rural and Remote Communities (using the recent disasters caused by fire or flooding in rural Alberta, design and develop a solution using ‘smart’ technologies that could be used to improve, stabilize, or protect an aspect of their home or lives when they are facing, or are in the midst of, a natural disaster). More recently, the design challenges have focused on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development (also known as Global Goals) and challenged students to implement the principals of sustainable development and the Global Goals, to develop a prototype that will help communities in Alberta. Safety is our number one priority. Working with tools can be dangerous. Having a student work with a tool can be more dangerous and when a student uses a tool for the first time, this can be even more dangerous. Therefore; we ensure our experts show the students how to safely use all the tools and materials, and students are rewarded with a badge for demonstrating safe techniques. To ensure we are prepared for any safety concerns, a safety manager is onsite. The safety manager creates a safety booklet that outlines SCA’s and the venue’s safety protocols. The safety manager works with a safety team to roam the event and ensure all students and volunteers are wearing the correct eye, ear and hand protection where necessary. Students are all given a safety vest to not only display their badges, but when this piece of safety equipment is brought home, it begins a conversation at home with their family about safety in the workplace. Teacher resources are extremely helpful. For many teachers, design thinking is a brand new concept. Since we do require teachers to facilitate the design challenge and human-centered design thinking activity in their classrooms, the SCA team ensures that teachers have access to online resources on the Skills Exploration Days website, including a how-to video, teacher guide and a Prezi presentation that teachers can use in their classrooms. The teachers also have the opportunity to visit the Learn-A-Skill stations themselves to possibly try a tool for the first time as well! Career exposure for all students. Many junior high schools, especially in rural Alberta, do not have access to a facility that can offer certain trade and technology classes. They may only offer a cooking class or a woods class but it isn’t until the students reach high school that they may have more choices, and if the school does have a work shop, the equipment is usually very old, broken and unsafe. Therefore, SCA wants to ensure there is a variety of career exposures at Skills Exploration Days to allow junior high students the opportunity to hold a new tool, weld together metal, or use a sewing machine for the first time. SCA also wants to make sure that students are using the latest and greatest tool or technology to represent the variety of industries today. Last year, the Advanced Manufacturing Learn-A-Skill station was added to the event to allow students to explore 2D/3D manufacturing and laser printing. The first step is to become educated about the design thinking process and the five phases. This is such an important part to Skills Exploration Days to ensure students are designing a prototype with empathy. They are not just designing a school playground for themselves, but now they are designing an inclusive school playground for their community with the user and purpose in mind. The second step is to ensure the human power and volunteers are available to help. General volunteers are needed, but most importantly, experts from the trades are needed to provide the tools, set up the tools, safely work the tools, and provide knowledge to the students. Since this program works with students, it is also important to have experts/volunteers who work well with youth, can simplify directions, and who will support students with their amazing creations. The third step is to recruit the schools and students so they can attend. In the beginning days, SCA attended many teachers’ conventions and professional development days to educate teachers about our new program, Skills Exploration Days. A video was also created onsite during the first Skills Exploration Days program, which has been very helpful in showing teachers what the day is all about. After every program, teachers and students complete our evaluation and reflection forms and this feedback helps us to improve each year The Skills Exploration Days website is a perfect resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the program. It is here on the website that teachers will find all the resources needed to prepare and be successful for Skills Exploration Days including the teacher guide, teacher tool kit, teacher Prezi, teacher how-to-video, design challenge, worksheets, and connections to the Program of Studies/curriculum. A helpful video, dates and locations, the purpose/goals of Skills Exploration Days and tips on how to get the most out of Skills Exploration Days are all included on the homepage. A great video that can describe Skills Exploration Days far better than any teacher guide can! Watch this video to learn all about Skills Exploration Days and the design thinking process. Hear from students and teachers about what they think about the day, working with tools and learning about skilled trade careers. “Taking Making into Classrooms: A Toolkit Fostering Curiosity and Imagination in Alberta Classrooms” provides background information to Making as a pedagogical orientation and intentional mindset while making connections and references to the Alberta CTF Program of Studies/Curriculum. For participation in Skills Exploration Days, please take note of Sections 1-6. Use Section 5 of the Toolkit to become comfortable with the four phases (design, tinker, thinker, reflect) and five activities (design challenge, human-centered design thinking process, collaborative prototyping, design charrette, individual/group reflection). These four phases are a map to Alberta Education’s process of planning, creating, appraising and communicating which can be found on pg. 42 (table 5-2) in the Toolkit. In Section 12 of the Toolkit, there are a variety of design challenges with corresponding CTF clusters and interdisciplinary connections. We encourage teachers to try one or two before tackling the design challenge for Skills Exploration Days. Alberta’s Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum is designed to help students achieve their individual potential and create a positive future. The provincial programs of study identify what students are expected to learn and do in all subjects and grades. Career and Technology Foundations (CTF) provides students in grades 5 to 9 the opportunity to explore their interests within various occupational areas and technologies. Skills Exploration Days was designed to complement and support Alberta Education’s Career and Technology Foundations (CTF) Program of Studies. Each activity that students participate in at Skills Exploration Days corresponds with one of the CTF Learning Outcomes. Learn all about the Skills Canada Alberta organization and the amazing programs we offer! Becky Peterson
Maximizing Louisiana’s Incumbent Worker Training Program to Expand Workforce Development Outreach at Turner Industries Group, LLC Turner Industries Group LLC 2020-07-09 Louisiana’s Incumbent Worker Program (IWTP) has offered employers the opportunity to reclaim its unemployment insurance contributions in the form of training for their incumbent employees for over 20 years. No other employer has been awarded and completed more IWTP grants than Tuner Industries. Since 2000, Tuner has completed nine (9) IWTP grants that provided funding of up to $1,000,000 for each grant. The IWTP program is a valuable resource to our workforce development team. The grant cycle referenced in this application provided $749,303.50 in state funds to provide training. Turner Industries provided $111,998.00 to co-fund classes selected for the grant cycle that are not fully eligible for grant funding, and we have a full-time employee to coordinate the IWTP grant administration, coordination, marketing, needs assessment, and evaluation. Through our partnership with LSU Online and Continuing Education and several industry-specific vendors, Turner has been able to offer training opportunities to its employees that may never have been available to them without this program. LSU is specifically adept in leadership training. Their signature program is “Fundamentals of Supervision.” This leadership class prepares our new foremen and supervisors with tools to properly lead their workers. Over the years, nearly 1,000 Turner employees have completed this training. “Workplace Investigations” is a course that LSU developed specifically for Turner under the grant program that is now a part of their public offerings. In addition to these and other leadership classes, LSU offers Certified Occupational Safety Specialist (COSS) and Certified Occupational Safety Manager (COSM) classes for safety professionals. IWTP can be used to provide industry specific vendor training. The Associate Builders and Contractors (ABC) Pelican Chapter is an example of this. They have always offered nighttime craft training for our new employees, but this program has allowed us to work with them to customize upgrade training for our returning employees. In the past we have used this program to conduct “seat time” training for our employees who have completed a crane operator program but were unable to gain enough seat time to work in our facilities. We worked with ABC to give several employees 50 hours of time in a crane using the grant, and we have worked with ABC to provide preparation classes for NCCER Crane and Rigging certifications. Turner and ABC have worked together to create upgrade classes in pipefitting, boilermaking, millwright, electrical, scaffold building, painting, hydroblasting and insulation to give instruction in the modules that have been historically the most difficult for craftsmen taking the NCCER assessments. Other industry specific classes provided include: Non-destructive testing (NDT) training that gives our new techs the skills and knowledge to perform new tasks, Precision Maintenance training helps our experienced millwrights improve their skills and prolong the life of the equipment they service, and HAZWOPER, asbestos abatement, and lead abatement training. IWTP program allows us to improve the knowledge and skills of our workforce while creating opportunities for advancement and providing a positive ROI. Our program provided a 300% return on investment for Turner Industries for 2019. Workforce Development - Training & Retention Revisiting Regional Needs Assessment, Course Selection, and Maximizing Company ROI When the grant program began, courses selected for workforce development in this region were identified with a narrower scope of input and focused on the easy to assess needs. As the grant cycle continued, some of the courses were applicable to regional needs and others were not as clear of a need as it seemed. As the grant process matured and the workforce development department grew from one person to a team, the course selection process grew to include a detailed needs assessment to identify existing and anticipated needs of our workforce in order to determine courses to be offered using grant funding as well as those that would provide us the greatest return on investment in the event that company needed to match funds to provide the course. In addition to documenting needs of the workforce, this instrument was utilized to collect time and availability data to determine the best method to schedule and deliver content to the target audience if vendors provided flexible course delivery. This is not a one-time assessment. This process needs to be repeated every few years as workforce program matures and needs of workforce change. Challenges of Collecting Data Across Multiple External Vendors to Fully Assessing Value of Program and Increasing Participant Response Rate Ensuring a high rate of participant response on post-course evaluation is challenging enough when programs are run internally. The data collection process becomes even more challenging when third-party vendors are looped into the data collection process. While we gained the support of our third-party vendors and grant partners at the beginning of the grant cycle to connecting participants with program evaluations, our response rate was lower than anticipated. 1,199 courses were completed by 959 unique participants during the grant cycle. We received a total of 695 survey responses for a response rate of 57.96%. Although we communicated the importance of the data collection process to our third-party vendors there were multiple instances where vendors forgot to provide the post-course survey information to the participants. There also were instances when the participants simply chose not to respond. In future grant cycles, participants will be primed to anticipate a post course evaluation during course coordination and to ensure all participants receive an invitation to the survey, we will coordinate the evaluation program in-house instead of asking the vendors to assist with the process. Develop a Reliable System to Market Courses to Job Sites in the Region in a Timely Manner It’s essential to establish a communication plan and marketing plan as well as an enrollment/tracking process (see best practices) for courses provided through the grant. You need a plan of when and how to market planned courses to your eligible workforce to ensure course participation and continued eligibility for future grants. Participation in additional IWTP grants is gauged by the successful achievement of grant goals and utilization of grant dollars. If you do not meet the spending threshold, you will not be eligible to reapply for a select time period. Select courses are provided at limited times during the year instead of on a reoccurring basis. In order for job sites to participate in these courses, they need this information ahead of time to identify who should attend the course and to schedule coverage during training. Completion of courses identified when the grant was written and submitted for funding, prevents the need for submitting variances as well as the additional work that accompanies the request for variance. Due to the amount of tracking needed to monitor LWC grant success criteria and coordinate with multiple internal job sites and external vendors, a process must be put in place to ensure all parties are on the same page. Selecting Grant Administrator and Partnering with Public Training Institution to Expand Course Offerings and Pool of Vendors Companies working in Louisiana who wish to take advantage of IWTP should first select a “Public Training Provider” to partner with. Their role is as an administrator of the grants. As an administrator they are the “go-between” for the Louisiana Department of Labor (LAWorks), training vendors and the companies seeking to fund training for their employees. They will help companies navigate the application process. We suggest that you choose a provider that has experience in the IWTP process and offers a variety of classes that are beneficial to your company. Turner has completed nine (9) grants, and we have used LSU Online and Continuing Education as our administrator of each grant. Because we have worked with them for over 20 years, we have a seamless working relationship which has led to increasingly quick approval for each grant we have applied. LSU offers a wide variety of “People Skills” courses that are an excellent complement to the industry specific training we need for our workforce. The vendors you select should be those you are already familiar with that offer industry specific training. Select Training that Makes Most Sense for Your Company Using IWTP Guidelines While companies know the training needs of their workforce, the training also needs to be a good fit for the grant guidelines. When using IWTP funds, we suggest that companies limit instructor led courses to maximum length of five days and avoid online, self-paced courses. Longer classes tend to lead to more incompletions. The same is true for self-paced courses. IWTP will not pay for non-completions, so the total cost of the course will fall on either the training provider or the company. Utilizing publicly available courses delivered by the Public Training Provider can greatly expand the types of training offered using grant funds. We have found that LSU has outstanding offerings in “people skills” classes linked to certifications that are beneficial to our rising foremen, supervisors, safety professional, and support staff. Certification drives attendance and completion of courses. Training offerings from vendors that offer certifications and CEUs are particularly valuable as selections for IWTP. 89% of survey respondents indicated that course completion would help them earn a certification or maintain an existing certification. For industry specific courses, select offerings from vendors that you have experience with since it helps to know the training that is useful and that program participants will see the course as valuable. Gain and Maintain Commitment from Upper Management by Keeping them Informed on the Program’s Progress and Added Value to Workforce Development Companies that have the commitment of upper management exponentially increase the chance of a successful completion of the grant. This commitment will encourage site managers to use the training offered, assure cooperation of all departments who assist in completing the application, and provide “in-kind” funding needed to achieve the maximum amount of points needed for receiving a grant award. Site managers look to upper level management for guidance. Their encouragement to use the classes offered assures maximum participation. Parts of the IWTP application require assistance from departments (like legal, accounting, and operations). If upper management supports you, it is easier to obtain buy-in from the other departments. The IWTP application includes a rating form. This form is used to gather points. Those companies with the most points are selected over those with few points when determining who receives the award. Employer contributions will help you increase your points. Those with higher levels of contributions will receive more points toward the total. Training professionals must calculate a predicted dollar amount that senior management will need to commit in order to maximize points and increase the likelihood of receiving grant funding through IWTP. Research Workforce Development Grant Opportunities Available in your city, region, state, and Workforce Development Region – WIA, and obtain buy-in from executive leadership for participating in grant opportunities and conducting workforce needs assessment for identified target audience according to the grant details. Conduct a Needs Assessment to determine the training needs of the grant target audience as they exist today and anticipated needs for the next 3 – 5 years. Select a workforce development partner with a history of coordinating grants between businesses and grant funding sources to help with the application process, tracking of grant progress, administration of the grant funds, and coordination of vendors to close skills gaps identified in needs assessment. 2019 Corporate Social Responsibility Report Informational Website with LWC IWTP Program Information, Custom Training FAQ, IWTP FAQ, Contract / IWTP Application, IWTP Forms, IWTP Samples (Customized Training Application, Signature Page, Contract, and Rating From), and IWTP Regional Contact Information ROI Institute, Inc. helps organizations evaluate the success of projects and programs, including measuring the financial return on investment (ROI). The 12 Step ROI guide published by ROI Institute, Inc. was utilized in our program assessment. Listing of Grant Awardees by Year and Month from 2012 to Present LSU Online and Continuing Education Catalog – Spring 2020 Elizabeth Beckham
Worley Workforce Development: The Four Pillars of Success Worley 2020-08-07 At Worley, we take a holistic approach to workforce development. Extensive Research informs our decisions regarding workforce trends, skill gaps, and sources of new talent. From that information we implement Recruiting strategies to source and integrate new talent into our company. To Develop our employees to the highest operating levels of safety, quality and productivity, we provide robust progression programs with clearly defined learning paths that lead to industry recognized credentials in preparation for advancement to the next level. This investment in our people results in full employee engagement which ensures we Retain the talent we need to provide excellent service experiences for our clients. Research, Recruit, Develop, and Retain. Those are the Four Pillars of Worley’s Workforce Development Program. (See Four Pillars attachment) The Pillars provide a framework around which we have designed a comprehensive workforce strategy that encompasses the development, implementation, on-going analysis and continuous improvement of a multitude of workforce development initiatives, intended to work collaboratively to provide opportunities to find, hire, up-skill, and keep the best construction workforce in the industry. Additionally, the Pillars dictate that silos must be removed for success to be possible. The Workforce Development Team works closely with both Human Resources (HR) and Operations as employees move through their career life-cycle. We work with Operations to forecast upcoming project labor needs that will provide employment opportunities, utilize our strategic outreach program to identify local talent pools of potential employees, and collaborate with HR to recruit and hire. Once on board, we team up with on-site personnel to engage our employees through our Progression Programs and Achievement Recognition Initiatives, whereby we celebrate their accomplishment internally and externally. Finally, the view provided by the Pillars showcases the chain of events in which one desirable occurrence leads to another, which further promotes the first occurrence and so on, resulting in a continuous process of mutual improvement and benefit. That also happens to be Webster’s definition of a Virtuous Circle. (See Virtuous Circle attachment) When Workforce Development programs and initiatives are designed properly and implemented effectively, everyone wins. The employee is provided career growth opportunities; and employees who are engaged in robust training bring a new level of safety, morale, motivation, confidence, productivity & efficiency. Worley has a sustainable workforce model; moving people up to move people in. Our clients have a safe, skilled and productive workforce that is engaged in continuous improvement. Our industry benefits because very few craft professionals stay with the same organization throughout their career and somewhere down the road our competitors will benefit by hiring individuals that trained and worked for Worley. And the community will benefit by being provided high growth and high wage opportunities for their residents. Worley believed that implementing a robust well-designed workforce development initiative would produce a good return on our investment. We validated our belief on a large capital project in an area that had an extremely tight labor market, high turnover rates, unacceptable historical safety performance, schedule slippage and cost increase. We reduced turnover rates, reduced absenteeism, reduced TRIR, and increased performance/productivity. We calculated a reduction of the the total installed labor cost of 10%. This was a $500 mm project with the savings passed on to the client. (See KPI attachment) Workforce Development - Training & Retention Ongoing Understanding and Commitment for Sustainable Program Momentum As with any organization the size of Worley, people inevitably come and go at every level, from bottom helper to Vice President. We recognized early that it takes an on-going commitment to successfully maintain program momentum. As an example, when the VP who initially introduced the Journeyman Certification Program retired, many thought the program would retire with him. While that was not the case and the organizational commitment goes beyond any individual, we recognized that some momentum had been lost during the transition. We frequently need to re-introduce our program to all newcomers in a timely fashion to ensure the programs and initiatives developed around the pillars continue to be utilized. For our site-based operations personnel, we utilize on-site training coordinators to explain the various programs within the four pillars to all new entrants onto our projects. The Workforce Development team works directly with new members of HR and Corporate Operations teams to provide an overview of the pillars and the accompanying programs that support them. Effective Program Roll-out Communication One of the core programs that was developed around the pillars is the Journeyman Certification Program (JCP). The goal of JCP is to certify our journey level workforce utilizing NCCER’s National Craft Assessment and Certification Program (NCACP). It was imperative that this program be communicated correctly to show the true intent. At the outset, the communication regarding the program was seen by some craft professionals as a requirement and not a benefit. We quickly recognized that the program perception was being viewed as a negative and it was vital that it be viewed as the benefit it was intended to be. NCCER Certified is the gold standard credential for Merit Shop Journeymen in our industry and the organization is committed to helping our employees earn that important credential. To clarify the intent and showcase the benefit to our employees, we refined the message and let our employees know that we provide the pre-assessment, individual training plan, and the NCCER assessment at no cost. Additionally, our analysis of the program validated that when our journeyman craft workforce utilize this system, their prospects of passing the certification assessment on the first attempt are greatly increased. Pro-active Development: Train Before You Promote The pillars and accompanying programs help guide us on how to find, hire, up-skill and keep the best workforce in the industry. We recognized that a major challenge is the retention of employees. We realized that too often individuals were being put into positions that they were not fully trained to be successful in, and often we would lose these people. We instituted a proactive approach to our programs and began utilizing the various programs to prepare individuals for the next stage of their career progression. Today our workforce is more prepared than ever for the next opportunity and our retention has increased as a result. Effective Data Analysis to Develop a More Sustainable Workforce After a thorough analysis of our craft professional and site leadership demographics, we recognized some potential issues on the horizon. The two most glaring issues are an aging workforce, nearly 40% of our craft professionals are 50 or older, and 11% were over the age of 60 and eligible to retire in the next 5 years. Combine that with the fact that our work crews in all craft disciplines are very top heavy with journeymen to helper ratios at 7:1.This left very little capacity at the semi-skilled and entry-level to bring in new talent. This crew-mix ratio was recipe for going out of business. We had to right-size our crews to increase our helper utilization to build a sustainable workforce. The result was we have effectively right-sized our crews on many projects to a 5:3 ratio, effectively adding more new talent capacity, and lowering composite crew-rates without negatively effecting safety, productivity, or quality. They key was effective develop programs to support the transition. This initiative saved our client's money and provided the means to a sustainable workforce. Very often in our industry we will stand-up workforce development programs with only a vague understanding of the workforce challenges and problems we are trying to solve. The first step is do the research necessary to understand the challenges in order to set goals and objectives. Accurate workforce data from sources like CLMA is critical to this first step. Once you know your gaps and establish goals and objectives you can put together a workforce development plan, and associated cost for presentation to leadership for approval. It should be noted that during the research part, operations personnel should be included to provide anecdotal evidence of the workforce challenges they face on-site. Initial involvement with operations is critical to buy-in and support. It cannot be stressed enough to communicate the workforce challenges, proposed solutions and expectations to all stakeholders at all levels of the organization. Top level corporate management so that they can provide the various types of support required for success; site based/operations leaders and supervisors because they have the greatest influence on employees; and finally, to your craft professional workers the benefit of participating in the develop program and the opportunity for advancement and lifetime employ-ability that training and credentials afford. The goal is to make believers in the plan that are anxious to participate. Measure effectiveness for continuous improvement and celebrate accomplishments. We know that what gets measured gets done. Measure outcomes against your goals and revise and refine immediately when necessary. Innovation is the key to effectiveness, and you can't waste any time or resources on in-effective processes. To fully engage our workforce, it is critically important to celebrate their accomplishments. Do this at site-based events and intranet internal communications; and blast it out through social media externally. Nothing motivates employees more than to know that their employer truly values their efforts and accomplishments. Matthew Clark
DC Water Works! A Local Hiring Initiative District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority 2020-08-10 The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water) has arguably one of the largest capital programs in the District of Columbia metropolitan area with multiple large scale infrastructure projects over the next 10 years. We recognize these projects, such as the 2.7 Billion Dollar Clean Rivers Project, create lasting economic and environmental opportunities for the District, and we have a duty to ensure that local residents and businesses share in that opportunity. These projects are largely funded by District ratepayers, and for that reason DC Water launched the Water Works initiative. Included in the Board of Director’s Strategic Plan, the purpose is to connect local and District of Columbia residents with the approximate 100 new jobs created by DC Water contractors annually. Ambitious goals for DC Water Works have been set. Sixty percent (60%) of new jobs created by contracts are to be filled by local residents. New Jobs mean both union and non-union job openings, including vacancies created as a result of internal promotions, terminations or other separations, and expansions of the contractor’s workforce. Moreover, in support of these goals, DC Water Works is the principal referral source for all new jobs created for our projects – with an emphasis on placing District residents in those positions. In support of this initiative, DC Water Works partnered with several local municipal agencies and organizations, including the District Department of Employment Service’s Project Empowerment, and the Infrastructure Academy, to identify qualified candidates for the contractor opportunities. These goals are reviewed every two (2) years by DC Water to determine whether DC Water’s objectives are being achieved, based on performance, available procurements, and external conditions affecting contractor employment. Since the program’s inception, 307 contractor positions have been filled through DC Water Works. Of this amount, 287 individuals live in the local region, including 187 District residents. It is noteworthy that the DC Water Works Program is not a large program by design. Rather its training and placement components are “right-sized” based on the projections of our contractors. Because of the success of the program, in March 2020, the Board increased the local hiring goals from 60% to 75%. Additionally, due to the success of DC Water Works, in September 2019, DC Water implemented a new registered Apprenticeship Program - not for contractors, but one that created career pathways to DC Water directly. Our apprentices are paid employees working 2,000 hours of OJT and an additional 150 hours of classroom training. In its first cohort, 14 apprentices have been hired. Workforce Development - Skilled Craft Labor Support Services Are a Must By design, the Water Works Program targets hard-to-place local residents. At the time of the program’s inception, the District had one of the highest unemployment rate in the country. Notably within the District, Wards, 7 and 8, consistently ranged in the double-digits in relation to the rest of the city. Moreover, upon review of the the socio-economic status of the residents of Wards 7 and 8, several key negative indicators were revealed. In addition to the high unemployment rate residents in the two wards:  Experienced the highest homicide rate than the rest of the city,  Had the lowest median income  Had the highest percent of families living in poverty  Had the lowest percentage of individuals with higher edcuation The following news link from WUSA featuring Mr. Chauncey Anderson, a Skills Trainee Graduate highlights this data: https://www.wusa9.com/video/news/local/dc/hes-been-shot-at-hes-lost-friends-inside-the-life-of-one-of-dcs-most-violent-neighborhoods/65-d2290800-360d-45b9-865b-2987388143a4?jwsource=em Therefore, for DC Water’s program to be successful, it had to focus on the social needs of the participant, other than just a job. To that end, every participant would have a case manager/ mentor to support them. Dc Water also worked with its strategic partners to identify additional support to include: bus/ rail passes, child care services, math and reading classes, clothes, resume writing services. Managing Community Expectations It was important to properly manage the community’s expectations – particularly concerning the number of new employment opportunities. Given the overall size of DC Water’s projects, many stakeholders in the community assumed that contractors would be creating thousands of jobs. However, the truth is that most of DC Water’s contractors were fully staffed already, and only a small portion of their contract positions would need to be filled. Moreover, most the open positions were for skilled laborers and operators. Accordingly, a large part of the community engagement effort involved managing expectations, a realistic forecast of the type and number of positions that would be created. Given the sharp contract between the forecast and expectations, this proved to be one of the most difficult undertakings of the process. To overcome this challenge, DC Water implemented a comprehensive change management and communication strategy to educate the community on the goals and expectations of the program. Included in the strategy was the establishment of the DC Water Works Strategic partners, inclusive of government agencies, union affiliates, labor organizations, and other community based associations. DC Water worked with its strategic partners to educate the public on the employment opportunities available through DC Water Works and encourage their participation. Goals Only Approach Would Not Work Another major challenge to DC Water Works was identifying skilled residents for job opportunities. This is particularly true since contractors are paying prevailing wages (i.e., $30.98 per hour for a general laborer). Therefore, a “goals only” approach was not sufficient. Accordingly, DC Water developed incorporated skills training into the program. The Skills Training component consists of three (3) stages: 1) Job Readiness Training; 2) Skills Training (Paid); 3) Job Placement Services for the Graduates of Stage 2. Actual training areas are based on the construction forecast and the expressed needs of project contractors. In FY 19, DC Water Works implemented four trainings: 1. Commercial Driver’s License Training: DC Water developed a 6-month Class A CDL program. 8 out of 9 participants 8 finished. All 8 are employed. 2. Facilities Training Program: DC Water, in partnership with the District Department of Employment Services provides On-the-Job Training for landscaping and painting. 3 participants were enrolled with 100% completing. All 3 are employed. 3. Welding Training Program: DC Water, in partnership with the Southeast Welding Academy trained 6 District residents to be certified welders. All 6 are employed. 4. Green Infrastructure Certification Program: Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding between DC Water and the District of Columbia, there is a goal that 51% of new hires on projects with Green Infrastructure should be District residents. In support of this goal, DC Water partnered with the Water Environment Federation, and the University of The District of Columbia to develop a national green infrastructure certification training program. Nineteen participants graduated. Eighteen are employed. Start off on the Right Foot - Engage, Engage, Engage As part of the strategic planning process, DC Water was keen on working with the community in all aspects of the development and implementation of DC Water Works. To that end, DC Water engaged in the following efforts to involve the community: Stakeholder Meetings – During the development process, DC Water conducted more than thirty (30) stakeholder meetings with the community. While most of the meetings were held at DC Water, several meetings were held off-site, in the targeted communities to maximize individual participation. Surveys - DC Water conducted three (3) surveys one to the contractor community, and two to other not for profits. The purpose of the surveys was to understand how contractors make employment decisions, the types of jobs that are regularly needed, how sift skills training is conducted, and how individuals are identified/accepted into training programs. Water Works Task Force - Moreover, in 2014 DC Water constituted a “DC Water Works Employment Program Task Force”, that consisted of DC Water staff, contractors, government officials, unions, and training not for profits. The Task Force met bi-weekly for over eighteen months to develop/review the program components and engage with industry representatives. Meet People Where They Are In order to effectively engage with the public and encourage their participation, DC Water established the following: DC Water Job Centers - DC Water Works maintains two Job Centers to ensure residents are aware of, and can access employment opportunities. (In FY 2019), the Job Centers are at the following locations: DC Water 5000 Overlook Ave, SW Washington DC 20032 Anacostia Economic Development Corporation 1800 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, S.E. Washington, DC 20020 Individuals can visit or call any of the Job Centers during the hours of operation without reservation. During their visit, individuals interact with a member of the Water Works Team who assists them view current opportunities and complete applications as necessary Advertisement - In addition to posting Contractor employment opportunities on the DC Water website and sharing such opportunities with Strategic Partners, job listings are posted at the DC Water Works Job Centers, the District Department of Employment Services Job Centers, the District Public Libraries, and the University of the District of Columbia. Individuals seeking work can view/apply for employment opportunities. Employment Fair - DC Water sponsors at least one employment fair each year, at which: • Contractor employment forecasting and apprenticeship opportunities are identified. • Information on the Job Skills training program and the application process are explained. • Staff and Contractor representatives are available to potential applicants to discuss employment opportunities. Begin with an assessment of the potential employers, their job requirements, and the target population. use this assessment to develop a potential job forecast and job needs assessment. A fact based program is critical to build support for the program and manage community expectations. Identify local resources/ stakeholders to help support the program. There are a number of government and NGO’s in the community dedicated to job readiness preparation, skills training, and job placement services. By building alliances with such organizations, the burden on implementing a successful program (including financially) can be spread so that it is not so overwhelming. Set achievable goals The DC Water Works Website provides information about the program and includes a copy of the plan as approved by the Board of Directors. Information concerning the Green Infrastructure certification program This is an article from the Washington Post highlighting a graduate of the Green Infrastructure Training Program and referred employee to Anchor Construction This is an article on Dc Water’s website regarding a hearing with the City Council. During the hearing three witnesses from Dc Water provided testimony: Korey Gray, Water Works Program Director, and two apprentices, Mr. Damon Sams and Mr. Richard Salmon. This news clip highlights the struggles of Mr. Anderson, a DC Water Works Skill Trades graduate. In spite of his challenges, he serves as a Violence Interrupter to help combat violence in his community, the Woodland Terrace area of Southeast Washington, DC. Linda Fennell
IMPACT’s Ironworker Contractor University IMPACT 2021-06-29 For over 50 years, the Ironworkers and IMPACT have provided technical skills training for apprentices and journeymen at their training facilities located in every U.S. state and Canadian province. However, in addition to technical skills, non-technical skills are essential as an ironworkers advance in their careers. Non-technical skills include, but are not limited to, leadership, management, communications, cost control, and technology. To provide the necessary training, in 2014, IMPACT launched an initiative called Ironworker Contractor University to produce a professional development program designed to cultivate strong non-technical skills in ironworkers, foremen, site supervisors, project managers, cost estimators, and executives. The primary objective of Ironworker Contractor University is to provide in-person, virtual, and on-demand learning opportunities that specifically target the development of non-technical skills. To achieve the primary objective, we established three target objectives: 1. Provide learning opportunities that foster an increase in business skills, resulting in stable trade contractors that are professional and profitable. 2. Provide learning opportunities that expand leadership and supervisory skills, preparing individuals to address construction situations that involve people, tasks, time, communication, obligations, cost, and safety. 3. Provide an avenue for ironworkers to expand their skills, advance their careers, and prepare to assume positions of greater responsibility. Ironworker Contractor University has been a tremendous success, as evidenced by the number of members who have participated in training and the positive feedback about the courses. The metrics below are a testament to the success of the program: • Number of in-person classes offered since 2014: 266 • Number of in-person participants since 2014: 5510 • Number of virtual classes offered since 2014: 32 • Number of virtual participants since 2014: 1574 • Number of states and provinces that have hosted in-person classes (Fig. 1): 37 • Performance improvement achieved (due to training) (Fig. 2): 14.46% • Increase in work quality (Fig. 2): 55.83% • Increase in work productivity (Fig. 2): 64.42% • Benefit to cost ratio (increased productivity versus per-person training cost) (Fig. 2): 7.23 • Return on Investment percentage (Fig. 2): 623% The following testimonials reflect the positive sentiment about the courses: • I have zero experience in the bidding and estimating process. After attending this class, I feel confident enough in the early stages of starting my business to perform good quality bids and take-offs. • I now understand the relationship between schedule, cost and budget better. • I am the Safety Consultant for our company. This (communications) training will be very helpful in continuing the process of building a safety culture. • The knowledge I gained in this course will cut cost, speed up jobs, and help me manage the workers. • I enjoyed the team exercises we worked on during the class. The feedback I was provided was great to hear but mostly I enjoyed working on giving Delta Feedback. That was difficult for me and the practice we had has helped me a lot. • I valued a lot from this class. I learned that I might not be fully communicating the right way to each individual and I believe that will be very helpful in my future. Workforce Development - Training & Retention Many courses will require frequent updating due to rapid changes in the construction industry. Several of the courses in Ironworker Contractor University have required frequent updating, including all technology courses (such as Bluebeam Revu Fundamentals) and the Business Fundamentals Academy. Updates should occur as often as needed to stay current with trends in the construction industry. For example, the Business Fundamentals Academy has undergone a revision nearly every year since its inception in order to incorporate participant suggestions and also to remove content that is less relevant and add content that is more relevant to small business operations. The course, as currently delivered, reflects the information that is critical for a company to be successful during the early start-up and operations of their business. Similarly, the Bluebeam Revu Fundamentals course is modified each time the software undergoes a major revision (i.e., Bluebeam Revu 2017 versus 2019). IMPACT’s Ironworker Contractor University regularly reviews its course catalog and purges courses that are antiquated or outdated. This process of refreshing courses ensures that the program remains relevant and appeals to our members. Evaluate course pre-requisites to be certain they are necessary for success in the class and eliminate pre-requisites that aren’t absolutely necessa During early versions of the Business Fundamentals Academy, participants were assigned pre-work that we requested them to complete prior to attending the class. In nearly all cases, participants failed to complete the pre-work, and we quickly discovered that the incompletions made no difference to the participants’ success in the class. Consequently, we eliminated the requirement for pre-work and reduced the stress placed on participants, who often were working as field ironworkers during the day while trying to start their business at night. Similarly, Superintendent Training for Ironworkers has historically had a 20-hour on-demand online course that was a prerequisite for attending the three-day in-person hands-on course. For nearly every offering of the in-person course, several potential participants struggled to complete the on-demand online coursework and had to withdraw their participation in the in-person course. Recently, we began development of a revised self-assessment that will replace the 20-hour on-demand online course. Currently, participants are requested to complete two brief self-assessment questionnaires prior to the start of class. The first self-assessment focuses on the individual's experience, while the second self-assessment focuses on the individual's response to a fictitious but realistic project scenario. These self-assessments are used to tailor the content of the course to the specific participants. Don’t sacrifice quality in order to reduce the length of a course. In the early stages of the development of Ironworker Contractor University, IMPACT largely favored courses that could be taught in one eight-hour day. We incorrectly assumed that ironworkers and contractor personnel would not want to attend a course that was longer than one day because they needed to “get back to work.” However, several courses were ideally offered as two-day courses, and by reducing these courses to a single day, we also diminished the quality of the course. Thanks to a robust course evaluation program, our participants informed us that they would prefer the higher- quality but longer courses, and we made these changes whenever it was appropriate. Likewise, our Business Fundamentals Academy and Fundamentals of Cost Estimating and Bidding courses are each five-day courses because the content is extensive and reducing the length of the course would diminish the quality. We quickly learned the importance of focusing on quality rather than course length, and our participation rates have climbed significantly as the quality and quantity of courses has increased. Develop and deliver specialty trade-specific courses using in-house specialists with the assistance of Subject-Matter Experts (SMEs) Several Ironworker Contractor University courses have elements that are unique to the ironworking industry, including Business Fundamentals Academy and Fundamentals of Cost Estimating and Bidding. Consequently, these courses were developed by IMPACT in-house specialists explicitly for the ironworking industry. The development of these courses was managed by the Director of Professional Development, Dr. Cindy Menches, who is a licensed civil engineer with over 30 years of experience in the construction industry. Dr. Menches was actively involved in content development and was assisted by subject-matter experts (SMEs). These SMEs included field supervisors, local union business managers, and experts in construction accounting, estimating, project management, insurance, and marketing. These experts ultimately became the instructors, thus ensuring that each topic was taught by an expert who was familiar with the content and had extensive specialty experience. The use of SMEs has provided significant credibility, resulting in the following accolades: “I have attended several business classes related to ironwork and by far, the IMPACT classes were the most beneficial classes I have ever taken. The IMPACT instructors were all very well versed and knowledgeable on their specific sectors and they impressed me with their ability to make learning a business very easy for everyone.” For non-technical, soft-skills courses, hire professional training organizations to supply the courses and conduct the training. One of the most successful aspects of Ironworker Contractor University is the use of expert professional training organizations to provide courses that fall within the broad category of “soft-skills” courses. These courses address topics that include leadership, communications, customer service, time management, lean construction, and technology. When selecting professional training organizations, IMPACT utilizes a two-stage vetting process. In Stage 1, the Director of Professional Development schedules a pilot course with a small audience, and the participants are asked to evaluate the course content and instructor. If the course evaluations are favorable, the course is offered to a broader audience, and the course evaluations are again analyzed to identify the quality of the content and instructor. If the course, again, receives favorable evaluations, it becomes part of the course catalog. Any course that receives less-than-favorable evaluations is eliminated from further consideration. By implementing the highest quality courses and instructors, the feedback from our members has been overwhelmingly positive, as noted: “You asked me to give feedback on the communication class that was hosted by Impact. It was a great class and, only an hour into a new day, our guys have a different attitude. They are happy, engaged, and energetic. I cannot recommend this class highly enough.” Focus on quality – instructors should be absolute experts on their subject-matter and should have outstanding teaching skills The participants in the Ironworker Contractor University consist primarily of field ironworkers, field supervisors, company staff members, and company leaders. Consequently, these individuals have extensive experience in the construction industry and can quickly recognize whether or not a class instructor is an absolute expert on their subject-matter (such as communications or marketing). All instructors must be able to answer any subject-specific question with confidence and accuracy, which is used as an important measure of knowledge proficiency and teaching skill. IMPACT recognizes that professional training organizations have a team of instructors with varying levels of teaching skills. Therefore, every instructor is evaluated by IMPACT staff members and course participants. Any instructor that receives less-than-favorable evaluations is not invited to teach again, and a replacement instructor is requested. Requiring instructors to be absolute experts on their subject-matter has garnered critical respect, as noted by the following testimonial: “It was great to have instructors that are actually in the field doing what they taught. I’ve been to other trainings where instructors had never actually done what they were teaching. The way the class was taught gave a lot of insights into what I need to be successful.” The first step to implementing an organizational “university” education program is to conduct a training needs assessment. Prior to developing the Ironworker Contractor University program and identifying appropriate courses, IMPACT launched a three-month training needs assessment survey to query members about their needs. The needs assessment survey process included distributing a digital questionnaire and conducting follow-up phone calls. The results were used to organize the education program into eight areas of competence and to identify potential courses within each area. Furthermore, the results allowed IMPACT to prioritize the implementation of specific classes based on the greatest need. The second step to implementing a successful “university” education program is to employ in-house specialists, subject-matter experts, and expert professional training organizations to be part of your development and delivery teams. For trade-specific specialty courses, IMPACT employed in-house staff members, contractor personnel, and ironworkers at all levels to provide expertise during the development of trade-specific courses. For the non-technical “soft skills” courses, IMPACT staff members evaluated existing courses available from expert professional training organizations, and if the course content was relevant, the expert professional training organizations was invited to offer their course as part of the Ironworker Contractor University program. The third step to implementing a successful “university” education program is to offer the courses in various locations around North America to make the process of participating convenient. IMPACT is divided into 13 Regional Advisory Boards, and each region is encouraged to host a course at least once per year. This process is closely coupled with the implementation of a robust course evaluation system that allows IMPACT to identify the most favorable courses within each region, to “spread the word” about the success of a course to other regions, and to quickly eliminate under-performing courses so that they are not offered multiple times before being eliminated. Cindy Menches, Ph.D.
Workforce Development through Group Mentoring Construction Users Roundtable 2021-07-09 Founded in 1994, the ACE Mentor Program of America (ACE) is a free, award-winning, afterschool program designed to attract high school students into pursuing careers in the Architecture, Construction and Engineering industry, including skilled trades. ACE is a federation of more than 75 affiliates (chapters), operating in 37 states and largely based in metropolitan areas, which deliver the program. More than 10,000 students, drawn from 1,400+ high schools, participate in ACE each year. Volunteer industry professionals, numbering over 4,500 mentor student teams through a simulation of designing and constructing a project, usually situated in communities where students live. In addition to the actual program, students have opportunities for internships and summer camps plus scholarships. Approximately $2.5 million in scholarships is awarded annually to high school seniors and alumni majoring in design and construction industry-related fields in college. The program has awarded nearly $23 million in scholarships since inception. Students headed into the skilled trades are also eligible to receive scholarships for training programs. More than 70% of ACE seniors enter college with an industry-related major or a skilled trades program. One-quarter of these students are the first in their families to attend college. The majority of ACE students (70+%) are minority. Large majorities of students report in surveys that as a result of their ACE experience they felt more motivated to attend college, learned skills and knowledge not taught in their classrooms, and gained useful information about the design and construction industry. ACE has earned the nation’s highest distinction for mentoring – the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring which was presented at the White House. In addition, the American Institute of Architects has bestowed two awards on ACE, one for collaborative achievement and the other for diversity. Visit acementor.org for more information about the program. Workforce Development - Image & Recruiting To make a direct impact on the workforce, ACE needed to commit to more than just high school programming. The Executive Committee of the ACE Board of Directors knew that ACE was doing a tremendous job getting high school students interested and excited about careers in the construction industry. However, there was a significant population of students that were lost between high school and post-secondary education. To combat this challenge, the ACE Board established the Summer Experience Program, which provided internship positions to more than 400 high school students. These internships are intended to bridge the gap between the ACE program and college or trade school and to give the student a continued connection to their industry mentors. Encourage best practice sharing by creating space for local programs to connect and share ideas. One of the great things about ACE is that local leadership can form the program to fit the needs of their communities. While this is wonderful for local affiliate autonomy, it led to siloed programs with volunteers feeling as if they were reinventing the wheel. The ACE National team developed an ACE Mentor Tools site to help local programs connect and share idea. These tools include mentor teaching modules, students resources, best practices for leadership, and many more ideas for running a local program. Strong national policies and procedures are needed to provide guidance and ensure safety at each local program. As ACE grew around the country, national leadership learned the important of more centralized control. Housing the infrastructure of ACE in the national office ensured the consistency of programming across regions. This infrastructure includes background checks for mentors, a centralized database for student tracking, insurance across the whole program, and a tools and blog site to allow affiliates to work independently while sharing ideas and resources. Relationship building is key to creating school champions for local programs. The ACE Mentor Program, or any high school level program, cannot succeed without the buy in of school leadership. In order to ensure that students find their local ACE program, it is a best practice that local boards of directors include local school board members or other “school champions.” These school champions are key to recruiting and retaining students. Providing mentors with tools, training, and preparation is key to mentor satisfaction and retention. Through the development of the ACE Mentor Tools, ACE has been able to ensure best practice sharing and consistency across programs. These tools have been carefully curated to include the full spectrum of roles in the construction industry. Prepared and informed mentors are better able to serve students while also ensuring that students are prepared for whatever career pathway they choose to explore. Committed, long-term partners are critical to financial success and longevity. ACE partners, donors, and board members are critical to ACE's success. Raising over $1M annually, the donors support the infrastructure of ACE, ensuring the financial stability and longevity of the national program. Many of these partner firms have been supporting ACE for over 20 years. These partner also provide mentors, board members, and financial support to local affiliates, allowing volunteers to run the program without concern for funding. Because ACE programs exist around the country, the best advice for industry stakeholders is to get engaged with ACE locally. The first step is to reach out to an ACE Regional Director to find an affiliate in your area. To replicate the success of the top ACE programs in the country, it is important to use the ACE network, study the best practices, and engage local decision makers in the process. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the most successful programs have robust internship program. The best way to ensure that high school students find their pathway in construction is to hire ACE graduates as interns. This website is resource for mentors to offer consistent and comprehensive workforce development programming. An annual report showing support from all aspects of the industry. A video showing the impact of ACE scholarships. ACE works to ensures that the program serves a diverse population of students. Various testimonials directly from ACE student surveys. Stephanie McNeely
We Build Better Through Innovation Performance Contractors, Inc. 2021-07-09 Our mission can be summed up by our corporate motto ‘We Build Better.’ When we say We Build Better we are not just talking about ourselves. We are talking about the people and communities in which we live and work in. We are talking about creating a lasting work environment where everyone can succeed. And most importantly, we are talking about using the latest and most innovative techniques to train, retain and develop our employees. As our industry grows and construction projects spread across the country, it is now more difficult than ever to train and track employees while providing them a sustainable career with growth opportunities. Performance Contractors, with over 4,100 employees working in 12 different states on 65 different jobsites, has taken this challenge head on! In this application, we are going to cover how our workforce development program utilizes innovative technologies to maintain compliance and develop our workforce. Our entire field training process has been updated and streamlined to ensure that all employees, regardless of location, have an efficient and effective method to stay in compliance with company, client, and OSHA policies. Considering much of our workforce does not have daily access to computers, we have implemented a SMS text message platform to effectively reach all employees. Our in-house video department creates safety and training videos that are now housed in an online Learning Management System (LMS). The LMS allows all employees to access training via their cell phone. The results of training are immediately and automatically uploaded into our HR/Training database. This eliminates paper test, scanning, grading and manually inputting data. While the implementation of this new training technology is huge, being able to easily access employee training records is just as important. For this reason, Performance has invested in employee scan cards as well as the latest reporting technology. A supervisor or safety professional can now scan an employee’s badge with their cell phone and access the employees entire training records via applications created in-house. Often, industry focus is on safety and craft training. At Performance, we believe in training our Supervision just as much! Our new Field Leadership Initiative Program (FLIP) was created to address this. Specialized training is deployed to our Field Leaders in various formats. This ranges from videos housed in our LMS to one-on-one trainings from our dedicated Field Training Coordinators. The new implementation of training technology does not just reside on our jobsites. It has become a staple in our entire training and onboarding process. An investment was recently made to acquire 4 virtual reality crane simulators. Now, operators can train on a specific piece of equipment in a controlled environment, allowing Performance to evaluate their skills before sending them to a jobsite. Our employees are our most valuable resource. Their well-being is our responsibility. From our new Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that offers personal help to employees; to our safety, craft, and supervisory training; the use of technology allows us to service the employees we value so much! Workforce Development - Training & Retention Baby Boomers and Technology New technology is great, but it is important to remember the needs of our greatest generations, the baby boomers! What is common and easy to understand for one generation may not be so common and easy to understand to other generations. That is why it is important to have a game plan on how you are going to accommodate diverse groups. At Performance Contractors, we have a team of training coordinators deployed throughout the company that provide one on one training to our workforce on emerging technologies. New technology can be scary to some but with the right mentors and one on one training we can all use these new tools to make our industry a safer and more efficient workplace. Real time communication is key With ever changing regulations and new policies, procedures, and best practices coming out daily, it is important to have an effective way to communicate with your employees. Therefore, Performance Contractors invested in new SMS text software. One thing we learned is that people want to do the right thing, they want to follow company procedure and best practice, but they often lack up to date information. For example, most front-line leaders do not have access to computers, but they do have access to cell phone. Therefore, we decided to communicate with our employees directly on their mobile device. Whenever a new policy or procedure is released, employees receive direct text message communication. From there they can verify understanding or request more information. We have also created the Performance Portal App which can be directly downloaded to your mobile device. The Performance Portal App gives employees easy access to company documents, company news, and company policies and procedures. Turnover rate in the construction industry With construction jobs starting and finishing every day across many state lines, it is no secret that turnover rate is an industry wide concern. When polling employees what is most important to them about the company they work for, you will be surprised that “money or pay” is not at the top of the list. The #1 and #2 reason employees stay with a company is “feeling included or being a part of the team” and “advancement and career track opportunities”. Often companies who work across the country with thousands of employees lose track of their employees. The employees feel disconnected at times. With our SMS text platform that was built in house, we can communicate with everyone efficiently. We send everything from training to “Performance News,” company messages and Employee Assistance Program (EAP) information. The EAP supports employees regarding everyday issues like family, relationships, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and more. It offers videos and trainings along with the ability to speak to professionals and counselors. The service is anonymous and is offered by a third party. Management receives reports about the topics that were accessed so they can address any common concerns, but the individuals’ identities are kept confidential. Together these services have proven to reduce our turnover rate as they keep the employees connected with a feeling of “family”. Invest in Technology Being a leader in workforce development within a competitive industry means embracing new ideas and technology. With company, client, and OSHA training requirements, managing employee training for over 4,000 employees can be difficult. It is much more difficult if you do not have the right tools in place to be successful. The days of delivering paper assessments and tracking employee training on spreadsheets is long gone. To be successful, you need a system in place to administer, document, track, and report on employee training automatically. Therefore, Performance Contractors has invested in Microsoft AX to store information, Microsoft Power BI to report on information, and Absorb Learning Management System to electronically facilitate employee training. Field Leadership Initiative Program (FLIP) A better trained field leader is a safer, more productive leader. For this reason, Performance Contractors created its Field Leadership Initiative Program (FLIP). FLIP is a supervisory workforce development program that focuses on training, mentoring, and communicating career development with current and future field leaders. FLIP consists of a series of short training videos focused on best practices in safety, quality, productivity, and leadership. Each video is designed to spark interaction between the different levels of field management. The videos are sent directly to the supervisor’s mobile device. Once the supervisor completes the video, they meet with their field leader to verify understanding then take that information to their crew. The goal is to close the knowledge gap between top field management and front-line management. Copy and paste below link to view video of our CEO / President Kevin Courville announcing the FLIP Program. https://player.vimeo.com/external/405985117.hd.mp4?s=928c5014b431df3c2af0ceef060fde07e3b0217f&profile_id=175 Just In Time Training Approach The concept of just in time training refers to providing employee training when it is needed rather than ahead of time. The means getting the training before the task takes place rather than in case the task takes place. There are multiple benefits to just in time training. Often training gets a bad reputation in our industry because employees are burnt out with it. For years, employees have been forced to sit in classes for hours at a time covering information they may or may not need to know. Modern workers require modern solutions. This is one of the main reasons our company invested in Absorbs state of the art Learning Management System. The LMS puts employee training and other helpful information right at their fingertips. It allows employees to learn at their own pace and to gain knowledge of the work procedure just before the work takes place. This leaves the information fresh on their mind and ultimately leads to a safer more productive workplace. The first step is to ensure executive level management is onboard and invested in the program. Without support from the decision makers and people invested in the success of each program, we would not be where we are today. The second step is to set goals and develop an execution plan. Do not wait for everything to be perfect before starting, rather begin with what you have and shape the program as you go. The third step is to track and analyze progress so that changes and modifications can be made to improve the program’s performance over time. Also, during this step, check on the technology available to streamline the process. This tour of our HR Training facility shows evidence of the technology we have in place including our crane simulator. Watch our CEO / President Kevin Courville announce and explain the FLIP Program. Use link for an overview of Performance Contractors Employee Assistance Program (EAP). We are leaders in the gulf south bringing DoD Skillbridge program to employers. See above link for details on our partnership with NextOp. Kenny Derouen
Central Gulf Industrial Alliance (CGIA) Endorsement and GradConnect Program Central Gulf Industrial Alliance (CGIA) 2021-07-28 The Endorsement and GradConnect Program is a nationally recognized training evaluation process for regional industrial craft training programs to ensure these operate at or above industry standards and meet the workforce needs of the member’s industries. The Program involves industry subject matter experts from member companies that volunteer to evaluate the programs curriculum, training standards, safety standards, facilities, etc. and determine if the program meets industry standards in order to earn an endorsement at the Gold, Silver, or Bronze levels. CGIA also offers the opportunity for programs to improve in order to receive a future endorsement. CGIA-endorsed programs are offered countless benefits, including donations from member companies, access to guest speakers, industrial facility tours and being highlighted on CGIA’s website. Placement of graduates of CGIA-endorsed programs is achieved by matching graduates with member companies via CGIA GradConnect. CGIA GradConnect is a member’s only job board provided by CGIA that gives employers direct access to highly qualified graduates from CGIA-endorsed programs. CGIA GradConnect connects qualified, top-level graduates to a position best suited to their talents, with the goal of creating a long-term, successful career that benefits both the employee and the employer. Workforce Development - Skilled Craft Labor Resource Optimization CGIA took a comprehensive look at the workforce shortage in our region and became proactive about connecting training providers to industry to develop a strong network of resources to fill the gap in the workforce pipeline along the gulf coast. Since CGIA has a small staff and they rely on member companies to provide SME’s for the training program reviews, CGIA learned to prioritize efforts based on CLMA data as well as availability of volunteers serving as subject matter experts. Communication A critical aspect of both the Endorsement Program and GradConnect is the ability of our members to understand the purpose of the tools created. As time progressed, both training providers and industrial partners speak the language and are aware of the resources available. Consistency In order to protect the validity and reliability of the Endorsement Program, a significant amount of time and energy has been invested to ensure consistent reviews and rankings based on a standardized rubric. The process is not dependent on the type of program being reviewed, rather, the standards required to be endorsed. Standardized Evaluation Process for Regional Industrial Craft Training Programs By creating a standardized evaluation process, the Endorsement Program allowed our alliance to verify training providers were providing instruction at or above industry standards across multiple career clusters to successfully fill the talent pipeline along the central gulf coast. Matching qualified graduates/craftsmen to Industrial careers By developing GradConnect, CGIA was able to serve as the liaison between training providers and industries. Our database ensures a clear understanding of the craft programs offered at various locations and includes access to instructor and graduate information for HR professionals to use to expedite the recruitment process in our region. 360-degree evaluation We work directly with training providers and subject matter experts from industry to create a 360-degree evaluation of training programs, including self-evaluation, SME review, and employer feedback to identify the level of endorsement. The first step in replicating the success of the Endorsement Program is for another organization to sign a confidentiality agreement with CGIA. The confidentiality agreement allows CGIA to disclose confidential information, including the Industrial Trades Training Program Review Tool, and was developed so that other organizations can replicate the program once they are trained on the different segments of the process. Due to the standardization of content of the Industrial Trades Training Program Review Tool CGIA uses, it is very important that the process is consistent. Therefore, representatives from other organizations should connect with CGIA staff to be instructed on how to utilize the tool and other materials, including the CGIA Endorsement Program Binder, which is a one-stop source for all of the information and resources facilitators and prospective programs will need throughout the review process. Ensuring enough resources are available from the lead organization is also important. Resources include time to prepare for, conduct, and finalize each review; talent from subject matter experts for each industrial craft; and financial investment to cover staff, travel, and stationary consumables for each review. CGIA’s homepage summarizes the mission of the organization and allows members to navigate resources. CGIA’s Workforce Development page summarizes the key functions of the subcommittee. This page summarizes the Endorsement Process and outlines benefits of becoming a CGIA-endorsed Program. This page is designed for both employers and graduates to connect talent to the hiring pipeline for industry. Hayleigh Barlar
Fluor Project Based Workforce Development Program, Large Scale Greenfield Biopharma project in North Carolina, USA. Fluor Corporation 2021-08-09 From 2016 to 2020 Fluor executed a mega project ($1.8B TIC) for the life sciences industry in North Carolina. With a booming labor market and a project with large scale and complexity, Fluor’s EPC execution model combined a 50% direct hire, 50% subcontracted craft workforce along with hundreds of client, Fluor, and trade partner staff members. Fluor’s leadership team focused on people to achieve mutual benefit of personnel betterment and project execution quality. A robust training program was undertaken to address Safety and Technical aspects of the project. From basic safety orientation to skilled craft hygienic welding certifications, hundreds of people advanced their careers through opportunities the project supported, while delivering a greenfield pharmaceutical facility. Training was not singularly focused, but supported Safety, Quality, Technical Skills, Soft Skills and Leadership. Training extended to the client, Fluor direct hire craft and staff, and the trade partner personnel base through Fluor’s Construction Management role. The Technical Skill development was critical to project execution success given the magnitude of the workforce required to deliver this project and specialty requirements of the pharmaceutical industry. Highlights of the program include the following: • 600+ NCCER Certifications • 100 OSHA 30 Certifications • 75 NFPA 70E Certifications • 27 Qualified Hygienic Orbital Welders trained • 45,000+ HSE training hours The project finished with approximately 11 million on-site manhours and 14,000 individuals who supported the project directly. Over 125 installing companies and more than 75 material and equipment vendors supported the project from around the world. Fluor’s direct employee workforce peaked at approximately 150 construction management staff and 1,200 direct hired construction craft. Hundreds of people achieved personal career advancements as a direct result of the skills developed and demonstrated on this project, made possible in no small part by the commitment of project leadership to the workforce who made this project successful. Workforce Development - Skilled Craft Labor Understanding Labor Markets and Project Labor Requirements Often barriers to success on construction projects are focused on technical issues and technical solutions are pursued. A tight labor market with low unemployment, rising wages, and largely inexperienced skill level at a specific location were all barriers that this project had to overcome. The latter barriers are more abstract and sometimes appear larger than the project itself, but this project had the ability need, and ability to address these challenges. The project provided modern facilities, on site health resources, the associated training programs, competitive and incentivized pay structures, and other aspects of general investment in people to ensure the ability to resource load the project to meet the project schedule. This challenge also meant having the ability to assess skill levels so that resource numbers did not simply meet a forecasted body count but were able to deliver the scope. High turnover or low productivity that comes from large numbers of unskilled craft can cost projects millions of dollars and delays in schedule. The training programs implemented on this project directly mitigated these risks. Recognizing Specific Shortages in Specialty Trades and Taking Action to Mitigate – Hygienic Piping Example. Expanding on the lesson in Question 10, hygienic piping is an example of a specific labor shortage that developed over the course of the project. Resource availability was strained by booming markets in other regions of the country and even workloads within the local project area. Resources supported the project on a merit shop basis, and three trade partners were engaged by plan to execute the work. Schedule shifts, material shortages, and low performance efficiencies compiled to indicate the resource demand would exceed that contracted in the original plan. Project leadership looked outside the local market to a fourth trade partner to take on scope. This approach improved the project delivery challenges but did not fully remedy the lack of resource situation. The decision was made to train existing resources performing non-hygienic pipefitting and welding to supplement the hygienic piping scope to fulfill the total demand of the project. The project-based workforce development program was utilized, and twenty-seven people were certified on hygienic welding, the scope was divided, and the job ultimately delivered with five companies performing hygienic piping scope in concert with one another. The Owner’s Role, Mutually Beneficial Goals, and Return on Investment. Engage the owner during the planning phase to align on risks needing mitigation. Identify the benefits of utilizing a formal training program to mitigate these risks. Short term benefits do make extensive training programs viable on large multi-year projects. On smaller projects, much of this training may rely on off-site corporate programs. During the bidder pre-qualification and bidding phase, trade partners should be engaged at the management level to identify what they can bring to the training and development program and ensure buy-in support to the program. This project, like all major projects, needed establishment and alignment of goals. With the number of companies involved in executing this project, alignment of goals that motivated different entities to work to a common target supported efficiency. In the early stages of the project, safety challenges identified a need to pivot the training and engagement program to change the trend. Identification of common goals related to safety and commitment to safety across all levels of the project was a critical step influencing the trend and the personal impacts that trend represented. Pivoting the training program to adjust focus to root causes of specific issues experienced allowed the project to deliver goals that ultimately protected the people they were established to benefit. Investments in Safety pay Dividends in Other Aspects of Projects. The construction industry has proven time and again that successful safety programs reduce overall project costs related to insurance claims. Sometimes questions are raised about the financial investment required to make a safety program successful. This project found that the most effective investment in safety was CM engagement through STA “adopt-a-crew”, “safer together” all hands feedback sessions, and officially identified field safety champions in our Craft Leadership Team members. Small group engagement sessions between craft and senior leadership (removing middle management to encourage honesty), similar group engagements with line management about expectations and support needs, and peer-to-peer influence programs (such as a craft leadership team) all created an environment where behavior-based influence drove the job. This started with senior leadership’s behavior-based investment to spend time and truly listen to the craft workers on the job rather than simply spending money or implementing endless rules with no true connection to the people that made the project successful. Ultimately, the TRIR was driven down across the life of this project by the engagement investment made by the CM team. Utilizing Networks and Organizations with Established Structures to Ensure Credibility and Reduce Burden. A key cornerstone of any training program is credibility. Accreditation of curriculum exists to protect the industry. Industry advancement, both for individuals and companies, depend on standards that can translate across region, market, and time. Job applicants with falsified credentials or embellished experience levels were quickly identified and weeded out through assessment standards within the programs. Continued employment on the project was enabled for employees whose development advanced through these programs. Utilizing NCCER removed the burden of developing assessment and training criteria. It also enabled training of trainers and ensured auditable, consistent development. Utilizing OSHA standard modules for training such as OSHA 30 allowed baselining of employees on hazard recognition. These training programs enabled resume building credentials for employees to carry forward in their career. Several craft made transitions from tools to safety supervision. Many more made in-line advancements through their discipline. Additionally, in an industry that is largely transient for employees, a multi-year project can drag down worker morale. Multi-year projects also afford the opportunity to provide training programs which can directly combated morale issues by providing advancement. CM connecting with Craft on the relationship between quality and cost of rework. Fluor’s self-perform hygienic welding quality success was based on the craft persons clear understanding of the cost of rework. The balance of the time for quality set up and quality first time execution weighed against the time and effort to rework a failed weld. Nearly every failed weld we performed, we suspected may fail due to constraints that could not be overcome in set-up. The best practice was to instill in the hygienic crew that first time quality was critically related to cost and schedule. Weekly metrics were used to reinforce the impact of quality on performance (total hour per finished field weld). Get started, do not wait until your plan is perfect or your program is fully defined. It will develop as it progresses and waiting to “get it just right” will be a detriment to the overall success. Determine a topic you want to address and begin moving forward with it. Reach out to peers and industry relationships for guidance and advice. Do not try to develop it all from scratch. Invest in a program coordinator who is motivated by the topic and strives to serve others. Set aggressive goals and measure against them. Look for internal and external connections that are motivated by knowledge sharing and service to others. The internal members will surprise you with knowledge and skills that you may not know they possess. These internal resources will also provide the program momentum and peer-to-peer influence for participants. Utilize external organizations so that the program does not have to recreate curriculum content and the training is credible in the industry. Structure the program with rewards and recognitions so that people are motivated to participate in the program, see long term benefits for themselves, and set the example for future rounds of participants. This is a basic statement about Fluor commitment to workforce development. The company has provided workforce development programs since before the Fluor / Daniel Construction merger, in which Daniel Construction brought a well developed training program for construction craft. In current day, Fluor has full scale workforce development training centers (including the primary one in the Texas gulf coast), and a team of corporate employees that utilize NCCER and other training organizations as well as in-house expertise to ensure our workforce develops to support our business today and into the future. Whether in offices, on owned & operated fabrication yards, or on project sites, Fluor is committed to bettering our employees as we Build A Better World. Video about Fluor’s commitment to workforce development. Project success video. NCCER Construction Training, Education, Workforce Development, and Accreditation NC DOL OSHA Training Website Justin Lamb
Green Buildings Career Map: Supporting Entry and Advancement in the Energy Efficiency Industry Interstate Renewable Energy Council, Inc. 2021-08-13 Workforce development issues consistently rank as a top concern for employers in the green buildings and energy efficiency industry. In fact, the 2020 U.S. Energy and Employment Report found that 91% of construction employers in energy efficiency reported that it was somewhat difficult or very difficult to hire new employees! With this sector expected to grow, it is increasingly clear that new approaches and resources will be needed to create a more robust pipeline of well trained workers for energy efficiency careers. To this end, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, with support from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technology Office and industry subject matter experts, recently launched the Green Buildings Career Map. The Map aims to increase the number of qualified workers for green building and energy efficiency occupations by connecting with populations that might not otherwise be aware of or consider these kinds of careers. Many potential workers, including students and early career professionals, lack awareness of rewarding career opportunities in home performance, HVAC, and weatherization. Building Performance Association (BPA) CEO, Steve Skodak explains, “BPA recently conducted outreach to over 400 members and discovered that career opportunity awareness and training accessibility is a barrier to industry growth. We hope the Career Map will encourage individuals to consider a career in energy efficiency, highlight well-paying jobs, and reach those in underserved populations.” The Green Buildings Career Map is a highly interactive online tool that explores 55 jobs across four major sectors of the green buildings and energy efficiency industry. The Map also charts possible progression between these occupations ensuring users understand possible career advancement routes and opportunities (over 300!). Job details, skills and requirements, and recognized credentials are included for each of the jobs on the Map. It demonstrates the breadth of the green buildings and energy efficiency industry with a focus on some of its critical occupations The Green Buildings Career Map can be used by many different audiences including educators, career-advisors, jobseekers, employers, policymakers, and workforce professionals. Job seekers can identify career opportunities, while teachers, trainers, and career counselors can use it to help students see career paths stemming from different training options. Employers can attract talent by showing prospects the long-term career potential of different roles. The map also includes a section on “New-Collar” jobs within the industry—jobs that do not require a traditional four-year degree, but rather rely on gaining skills through on-the-job training, high school technical education, on-the-job apprenticeships, vocational schools, technical certification programs, community colleges, the military, and internships. This feature aims to help underserved groups, including people in low-income communities, see the opportunities to directly enter a rewarding and skilled career without expensive schooling. IREC is currently in the midst of a two-year outreach period to reach thousands of stakeholders around the country with information about the Map and energy efficiency careers. Workforce Development - Image & Recruiting Building a valid Career Map requires a passionate team of Subject Matter Experts and a strong facilitator. Industry validation is important to the success of a career map. Having a team of subject matter experts (SMEs) with varied backgrounds, who are well versed in the industry, ensures end users are presented with accurate information, free from bias. It is important that end users are confident that the career paths articulated in the map are realistic. Experienced SMEs know what employers seek and strive to provide the most accurate information. Each SME has a level of understanding of what skills and traits are necessary to be successful in industry occupations, giving the end user a vision and a direction to explore, along with a sense of what it will take to get there. Additionally, having a strong facilitator with industry expertise will help ensure a valid outcome. Each SME brings a unique and passionate perspective to the process and discussions can become spirited as SMEs debate what careers to include in the career map. It is important the facilitator has the skill sets and knowledge to challenge the SMEs thought processes, while simultaneously bringing the SME group to a consensus when different ideas are presented. When building a nationwide career map, salaries and hourly wages for specific job titles can vary greatly. Salaries and hourly wages vary greatly from state to state and region to region. Even within a given state, wages can differ between urban and rural regions. The U.S. Government Bureau of Labor Statistics ratings can help significantly with salary data when a specific job title is classified under the Standard Occupational Classification System, known as SOC codes. However, in many newer or targeted industries, including the green buildings and energy efficiency industry, job titles do not have a formal SOC code. Jobs can also have alternate titles, adding to the challenge of identifying accurate salary information. In order to ensure geographic salary differences were represented in the GBCM, salary and hourly wage data is presented as a range. Users are able to conduct further localized research, on job boards for instance, where more accurate information is provided on local wages for a job. A robust outreach plan is an instrumental part of a successful career map. Developing a high-quality career map is only part of the equation. A strong outreach initiative is paramount to ensure the career map reaches the intended audience. IREC experienced this challenge firsthand with its two previous career maps —the Solar Career Map and the Careers in Climate Control Map (HVAC/R). For these earlier maps, available funds were mostly for development and only included a short outreach window. Even with IREC’s robust connections to clean energy industry stakeholders, it became clear a longer-term outreach plan with corresponding funds was needed to increase the impact of these online tools. When applying for U.S. Department of Energy funding to develop the Green Buildings Career Map, IREC included in its project plan a robust, multi-year outreach effort. In this initiative, IREC has the funding and a comprehensive outreach plan to maximize the return on investment for the Green Buildings Career Map. Since the GBCM was launched IREC conducted a webinar on how to use the map with over 200 people in attendance. It has been covered in many publications, including New America (https://www.newamerica.org/education-policy/edcentral/community-colleges-green-jobs-irec-energy-efficiency-careers-that-dont-require-degrees/), Construction Dive, and Utility Dive, Facility Executive, Building Performance eJournal, and Fine Homebuilding Podcast. IREC and its partners have also generated nearly 50,000 impressions on information about the Map via social media, email, external websites, conference presentations, and webinar views. A Career Map must be engaging and user-friendly. In today’s world of mass media, where visual representations often trump the written word, it is critical that tools for career exploration, job recruitment, and retention are engaging and highly interactive. Competition for students’ and job-seekers’ attention is intense. The ubiquity of smartphones, tablets, and computers, where users have immediate access to information, intensifies the need for online resources to be interesting, engaging, and informative. Additionally, building trades jobs have been stigmatized, with many in younger generations indicating less interest in trade jobs as four-year colleges have been lauded as the route to success. Developing an online tool that is easily accessible, user-friendly, and visually appealing can create excitement about the opportunities that exist for high-quality, well-paying, jobs with clear career advancement opportunities. It is important to identify the right organization or company to help develop the career map. Choosing an organization or company that has strong industry knowledge, the right educational expertise, and savvy web design capabilities will help ensure success of the project. That organization needs to have a comprehensive understanding of the entire value chain for development. Industry validation is important to the success of a career map. Having the correct team of subject matter experts (SMEs) with varied backgrounds, who are well versed in the industry being “mapped” will ensure end users are getting the most accurate information to help with their decision-making. The backgrounds of many SMEs often mirror the types of advancement pathways that are represented in a career map, bringing additional authenticity to the process. Do not underestimate the importance of a detailed outreach plan that includes a wide variety of promotional outlets, including in-person events, where demonstrations of the career map can be given. The map only becomes successful when individuals use it. The goal is to get it in the hands of as many people as possible. Identify all the organizations that would benefit from seeing the map and contact them. Once on board, they can share the map with their members and similar stakeholders. This is the URL for the Green Buildings Career Map. IREC’s landing page for all three (3) of its career maps - Solar Career Map, Careers in Climate Control Career Map, and Green Buildings Career Map. Mary Lawrence
Filling the Gaps: Alaska Safety Alliance addresses workforce training, safety, and operational efficiency through employer collaboration. Alaska Safety Alliance 2021-08-13 The closure of the Alaska Field Federal Safety and Health Council left a significant unmet need for workers and industry in Alaska. With many high-hazard industries operating in the 49th state, Alaska was in need of a centralized safety council to foster and support safe workplaces, and workforce development and training. This opportunity allowed the Alaska Safety Alliance (ASA) - previously known as Alaska Process Industry Careers Consortium - to rebrand and prioritize the needs of Alaskan industries and workers. Now established as Alaska’s regional non-profit safety council, ASA has successfully introduced nationally accredited reciprocal training to Alaskan industries. Aligning workforce safety and innovation, in 2020 ASA fully modernized the North Slope Training Cooperative (NSTC) Unescorted 8-hour course. Previously only delivered in a classroom setting, the NSTC Unescorted safety program has now been fully converted to an interactive online training, vetted and approved by all major North Slope oilfield Operators (ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Hilcorp, Oil Search, and Eni). This training is now presented online as a self-paced training with required proof of competencies, allowing individual trainees to avoid health hazards during a global pandemic while still preparing them to work safely. In 2020, ASA also created a brand-new computer-based training program, North Slope Orientation (NSO). This Alaska-specific program pairs with a nationally accredited reciprocal training, Basic Orientation Plus (BOP). The successful completion of these two courses (NSO+BOP) allows fully trained workers to transit between Alaska and other states and work sites, with fully recognized and reciprocal training credentials. The reciprocal training allows for quick onboarding and mobilization of the workforce, saving many hours of re-training, and significant travel and accommodation costs. All training credentials issued by Alaska Safety Alliance are stored and accessed in ASA Online; a secure online verification platform for workers and industry employers. Alaska Safety Alliance also actively supports apprenticeships. Oil and gas is an essential part of industry and a major employer in Alaska, but very few O&G employers utilize apprenticeships to train their workforce. The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) recently developed the Pipeline Career Pathway to address a national training gap. Alaska Safety Alliance is currently an intermediary program sponsor for the Pipeline Operations Technician occupation. Over the past two years, ASA has worked closely with NCCER to develop five pipeline OJL-RTI outlines and performance checks. With national interest and the support ASA received for this project, Alaska Safety Alliance developed the National Program Standards for five pipeline occupations. These are brand new apprenticeships with federal recognition, further supporting industry and workers in Alaska. Workforce Development - Training & Retention Moving the needle together: Fostering collaborative cross-industry effort to establish a recognized, universally accepted reciprocal training Collaborative effort and industry buy in was essential. For the creation and overhaul of the NSTC training courses, the challenge was getting all North Slope Operators to agree upon which training components were necessary and should be included, and which should be handled by individual employers. Due to recent major operator turnover, newer members of the NSTC Operators Group needed to be quickly brought up to speed, consulted on ASA’s ongoing efforts, and their approval gained. This was a ongoing complex process that required all Operator members to consider industry-wide training needs, while relaying information to their internal corporate decision-makers, addressing internal concerns and inquiries, and ultimately granting approval from their individual organizations. The overall process relied on established and strong professional relationships, a “perfect storm” of significant changes in Alaskan industry, frequent and purposeful stakeholder communications, and an organization that was ambitious, forward thinking, and nimble enough to navigate many unforeseen challenges and see the project to fruition. A Perfect Storm; Loss of a major funder, a closed revenue stream & a pandemic. Overcoming challenges, seizing opportunities & pivoting accordingly At the end of 2019, ASA was reporting our strongest year of revenue to date. We had successfully launched a new customized training for our largest funder, BP Alaska. ASA had also recently reorganized under a new name and branding – previously APICC, now the Alaska Safety Alliance. Establishing ourselves as Alaska’s regional non-profit safety council, our successful handing of the BP Induction training had created opportunities for management of additional training, but ASA lacked the training space needed. In November 2019, we signed contracts on a five-year lease on a new office and training space and invested many thousands of dollars into the new facilities. Less than a month later, we learned BP was selling their assets in Alaska and leaving the North Slope. The BP Induction training – our largest revenue source, was coming to an end the first quarter of 2020... Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, just as we had moved into our large new training space. Our training operations were shut down by the pandemic before they even started. To overcome these many unforeseen challenges and unfortunate circumstances, we needed to pivot quickly. As a support organization for oil and gas, we work in an industry that does not stop – Operations occur 24/7 even in a global pandemic. The NSTC Unescorted course, managed by ASA, has been a twenty-year-old staple of industry in Alaska – All workers headed to the North Slope are required to take this in-person training. In attempt to continue to meet industry needs and be able to offer the NSTC in a safe and socially distant manner, ASA went to work on transforming the eight our in-person training into a completely online, self-paced, computer-based training. An obstacle that we anticipated being much more challenging to overcome, was the technical abilities of the trainees. However, COVID forced workers of all abilities to become more familiar with computers and web-based learning. This helped smoothed the path for ASA to deliver these trainings to a diverse group of trainees, much faster than we had originally anticipated. The silver lining of a global pandemic is that it forced us to quickly evolve our trainings and required end-users to adapt to the new platform. Communicate frequently and update stakeholders regularly There are multiple steps required in developing curriculum and hands-on components for quality apprenticeship programs, and the entire process takes time. Once the program standards are developed, more time is required for the application and approval process. Frequent communication with the employers can be challenging, especially when there seems to be little progress made between conversations. But, even when the progress is halted, program supporters need to know that the organization is managing any barriers to keep moving forward. Often, we found that when we ran into obstacles employers and other stakeholders were ready to roll up their sleeves and lend a hand. The initiative began with an industry need and employers recognize its importance to their business. Keep them engaged and they will be your partner in achieving the goal. The Big Picture: Look to the future and build a solid foundation With the future in mind, we combined our Learning Management System with a badging system that will allow us to issue badges that, after completion of all necessary training, will allow workers to gain site access. The badging system we chose is compatible with the infrastructure in place at job sites throughout the state. Future development of this badging aspect will save our members additional funds, as many members already individually pay for, and administratively support, their own site-access programs. Centralizing control of site access will further save time and resources as many workers are transient between various industrial sites in Alaska and retraining would not need to occur in many scenarios when this method of training is utilized. Collaborate and capitalize on common needs In general, the ability to take training before you enter a work site saves field time and resources and ensures employees are trained before being exposed to any work site hazards. Having all this training occur through one common source adds consistency across sites when and where possible. Because training requirements are quite similar at industrial sites around the state, all employers benefit when ASA develops and manages training programs that meet multiple employer needs. ASA continues to add new, innovative and, when possible, reciprocal, trainings to our course catalog. A wide selection of course offerings, including customized site-specific orientations, further frees up field time as many HSE staff or trainers currently perform this duty daily. Create a matrix Looking forward, we have identified that gathering company-specific training requirements (employer or site-specific training matrices), and gaining approval for equivalent and reciprocal, trainings between those companies, further benefits the industry overall, helping to avoid unnecessary retraining and cutting down administrative and staff training burdens significantly. Foster industry partnerships. Build a consortium of employers with similar workforce and skills training needs. Identify mutually beneficial ambitions and the key players and contributors. Ask questions. Listen. Document the long term plan through a white paper or other document that can be referenced and revised as needed. Establish a rock star crew. Communicate internally and with external stakeholders. Work your ass off and make it happen. The website provides resources for multiple audiences - from secondary students, to jobseekers, to seasoned workers, to employers. The site gives a big picture look at the organization and shows how ASA actively engages in workforce development. Learning management and records verification - this is our login portal for both trainees and employers, to enroll, complete, and verify training, run reports and manage records. Alaska Safety Alliance was notified this week that we are a semi-finalist for the NSC Green Cross Safety Award and are excited to be considered alongside companies like Amazon, Dow, and UPS. This white paper explains the return on investment that the ARSC reciprocal training programs provides for employers. Cari-Ann Carty
Training & Technology Ecosystem Helps Make Workforces Safer, More Productive, Efficient Alliance Safety Council 2021-08-13 Alliance Safety Council’s training and technology ecosystem helps its members and industry partners with training records management, data integration and gate entry. Alliance’s database solution, Pyvot Track (formerly iLEVEL), is a personalized and customized records management system that allows contractors to track their training via the web and standardize records between multiple branches. Subscribers have the option to set private or public records; grant access to third parties; upload scanned records and certifications; create scheduled reports, email notifications and reports at varying intervals; evaluate training gaps when an individual switches jobs; determine worker qualifications; and much more. The database is an easy-to-use solution to verify training and compliance in real time. With a username, password and business account access, employers can query their employees’ training records 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Through Alliance's secure online records retention and management system, they may view or print student training history reports, attendance reports, expiration reports, receipts and more. If they prefer, their records can be downloaded into a spreadsheet or imported into their database nightly. Alliance's training management system provides complete and uninterrupted access to training records regardless of weather or location. In addition to Pyvot Track, there is Pyvot Connect and Pyvot Explore. Pyvot Connect was created with hiring managers in mind. With all the tasks managers are required to carry out daily, they simply don’t have the luxury of spending time sorting and organizing paper employee applications. Through this mobile responsive web application, managers can organize and access permanently stored employee applications. No more paper. No more email overload. Instead, you can sign in at your convenience, review applications and set up times to speak with applicants within minutes. Pyvot Connect offers its users the gift of time. Pyvot Explore allows individuals to easily find learning materials tailored to their needs. With Pyvot Explore, users can discover and earn the skills necessary to drive toward specific career goals. Pyvot Explore also benefits the business by filling critical skill gaps in an ever-changing work environment. With Pyvot GateCheck, Alliance's mobile-friendly training verification tool, users are able to verify workers’ training compliance, as well as background and drug screenings, all before they enter the facility or training location. Workers' badges will appear as “Compliant” or “Non-Compliant” after a quick scan of their badge, ensuring the safety and security of the workforce. Multiple people can scan badges via smart phones or tablets at any agreed-upon location, creating a virtual gate. No app installation is required to use Pyvot GateCheck. Alliance has also implemented Pyvot Verify, an identity verification technology for remote training, through a partnership with Integrity Advocate. This ensures organizations know that training is being received by those it was intended for and can also confirm the desired participation of the learner. Identity verification technology is ideal for a geographically dispersed workforce with limited access to proctored computer labs. One of Alliance's newest solutions added to its ecosystem is ReadySafe Locations, which provides instant gap analysis of workers for one or many sites. Owner companies can post and share site/job/unit requirements, contractors are able to view site/job/unit requirements, and contractors are also able to check multiple workers’ readiness. For the learner/worker, Alliance has several highly acclaimed signature programs, several of which are now available in a virtual format - reinforcing Alliance's commitment to meet members where they are. These include Certified Occupational Safety Specialist® (COSS), Certificate for Occupational Safety Managers™ (COSM), SAF Frontline Safety Training and several OSHA-authorized training courses through the Mid-South OSHA Training Institute Education Center. Mid-South is a consortium between Louisiana State University’s College of Engineering and Alliance. The center is one of only 26 OSHA-authorized centers in the U.S. and the only center located in Louisiana. Mid-South offers OSHA training to Region VI – Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and New Mexico, as well as other cities upon request. Up-to-date OSHA awareness-level orientations are also delivered online through the suite of Safety Awareness Fundamentals (SAF) courses. The SAF training library consists of an extensive list of fundamentally sound, standardized and convenient courses that are the building blocks for a safer workforce. They include topics such as HAZCOM, fire safety, lockout/tagout, PPE, scaffolding and respiratory protection, to name just a few. Ultimately, Alliance's aim is to streamline operations and increase training efficiencies through this training and technology ecosystem. Workforce Development - Training & Retention The Importance of Focusing on User Experience First The Alliance team learned from developing its legacy software that a user experience (UX) team was needed that would focus on user experience and usability. The best practice related to user experience would be the process that our Director of Product Excellence and his team uses to complete customer interviews, mock-ups and reviews leading up to a minimum viable product (MVP) solution. This has made a huge difference for us in delivering quality software. Departmental Groups and Developers Must Work Together, and Work Together Daily It is impossibly easy for teams to become out of sync and lose sight of the end goal without consistent touchpoints across all departments with a vested interest in the project/product. The importance of People Over Processes Good, focused, passionate people can overcome a bad plan, but not the other way around. Lock in Your Vision Before All Else Create a long-term product vision up front, get buy-in and incrementally build toward that vision. Prepare to change course/direction as new information presents itself. Avoid dogmatic ideals and details that may prevent you from ultimately delivering that vision. Keep It Simple, Always Keep a product on focus and as simple as it can possibly be. Rather than constantly increasing scope and building complex systems that end-users ultimately don’t understand, don’t use and will struggle to maintain. This ultimately creates waste, opportunity costs and unhappy customers. Sometimes it’s what you don’t do rather than what you do. Simplicity is an art; not all opportunities are worth chasing. The highest priority should be to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable solutions. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage. Build your project/solution around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. Continuous attention to excellence enhances agility. At regular intervals, the team should reflect on how to become more effective, then fine-tune and adjust behavior accordingly. The best solutions emerge from self-organizing teams. Meagan Kohls
Nailed It! : A Handywomen Training Series Workforce Solutions Borderplex 2021-09-22 What worked for past generations is no longer working. We’ve teamed up with local educational institutions to rethink how a new generation of construction workers could obtain the skills they would need to enter the industry and flourish. Amid an industry-wide workforce crisis, women are an untapped market with a wealth of potential to bolster the sector, ensuring its long-term health. Nailed It! is a multi-collaborative pilot program in El Paso, Texas. Participants enroll in a certified skills training program in partnership with our host campuses, Western Technical and Vista College. To attract a wider net of applicants, locations are conveniently located across El Paso. Thus far, we’ve had two graduating groups with a third institution joining Nailed It! as a host campus for our next cohort. Each college offers a unique version of the program based on the school’s strengths and instructor approach. Students tour construction through a series of micro-workshops throughout the course, each focused on a specialized field within the industry. From construction basis and HVAC to plumbing, electrical, and more, the goal is to introduce students to a variety of professional possibilities, identify the areas they excel in and allow them to gain confidence in a casual environment dedicated to their success. Standard equipment and facilities don’t account for women. Nailed It’s breaks down barriers to entry, helping women find their stride into the profession rather than being deterred. Working in conjunction with our extraordinary team of instructors, we’ve established a casual and collaborative classroom environment where everything from the custom L-shaped workbenches encircling the room to the time of day the workshop takes place is fine-tuned to the students. Upon completion, participants receive a certification, verifying their accomplishment and skill-set from a recognized institution, along with gift cards to home improvement stores to begin accumulating the tools of the trade. This portion of the program functions to instill confidence, empowering women to believe in themselves. It’s this belief and the spark it generates that interests them in taking the next step with us. At this point in the pilot program, graduates decide what’s next. We have career navigators on stand-by ready to connect students to viable positions based on their specialization. They also have the option of continuing their education through one of our affiliate partnerships or apprenticeship programs. Workforce Development - Skilled Craft Labor It’s About What You Do With What You Know : Limiting The Pool Of Candidates, Stifles Success Conceptualized for women in domestic violence shelters, Nailed It! sought to alleviate the construction workforce shortage, simultaneously giving women an outlet to learn valuable skills with the potential to afford them financial independence and much-needed confidence. In theory, our approach promised success. Despite our good intentions, the application lacked. There was much more involved in crafting a program concentrated solely on this hyper-specific group than we had anticipated. The construction industry’s predicament proves that limiting your pool of candidates is detrimental to the profession and those it serves. Rather than allow our initial misdirection regarding the target audience to dissuade us, we decided to examine the facts and design the program based on what we knew to be true. -The construction industry is predominantly male. -It’s an industry on the verge of a workforce crisis. -Despite societal norms, acquiring tangible, physically challenging skills with market value appeals to women. -The skills employed in the industry induce confidence and feelings of self-empowerment. -Women are an untapped asset and an ideal solution to the workforce shortage. Like the construction industry, our initial approach limited what we were capable of achieving. As a result, we expanded our perspective, opening the program to all women. This significant step allowed us to grow the program, formulating the three phases of Nailed It!, which have become its pillars. Personalize or Perish : Developing & Retaining Talent Relies on One’s Ability to Adapt & Personalize the Experience The first pilot program took place at Western Technical College. Every participant who began the course saw it through to the end, earning a certification to highlight her achievement. However, the initial group was smaller than our objective. We decided to go directly to the source, the participants themselves, to find out how we could improve for the next group. After speaking with them, the mistake became apparent. Nailed It! was designed for every woman, but it wasn’t every woman who showed up each week. Despite initial discomfort around power tools and electrical circuitry, limited transportation, and children, the most responsive to Nailed It! were immigrants and females living in low-income areas. These were the women who would benefit most from gaining a skilled trade. So, why weren’t more signing up for a free, certified course that would impact their quality of life? For every woman forced out of her comfort zone, there were numerous more who couldn’t overcome the hurdles. Asking women with barriers to find time at the beginning of the day, multiple times a week, to attend classes at a location across town was an impossible ask. Lesson one, personalization is everything. Nailed It! evolved, increasing our locations from one to three across Borderplex, ensuring that each facility offered a unique course catalog at times corresponding to bus schedules and school hours. We more than doubled the participants from cohort one to cohort two by supporting the women who supported the program. Lesson two, be willing to adapt to whatever comes your way. Construction Needs A Remodel : Reconstructing An Industry For The Modern Worker, By The Modern Worker To learn the first two lessons, we had to unearth the fundamental truths disrupting the construction industry. Our findings, this third lesson, are the basis from which Nailed It! was built. Conventional vocations, blue-collar trades in particular, are suffering. The deceleration of sectors once believed invincible is a consequence of the societal shift from manual to mental work. This shift has bred a new generation of workers with different aspirations and expectations than their predecessors. The days of walking 10 miles in the snow to go to work are long gone. What these fields have in common is their outdated approach to the workforce. In a world of professional atmospheres like Facebook campuses with green smoothies, who market a comfortable, diverse environment with high pay, labor-intensive employment with a reputation for tin lunchbox-style meals doesn’t seem appetizing. To recruit the modern worker, construction as an industry needs a people-centric rebrand rather than industry-centric. Understanding this, we disregarded the standard ‘sells’ when attracting recruits. Construction has immediate relevance to every human’s life. And that’s where we started. Making Nailed It! appealing meant making it relatable. Rather than speak about professions and industry, we highlight the viable life skills necessary to function in the world around you without calling a handyman. We encourage people to pursue the areas they excel at in comfortable environments where they want to learn more of their own volition. We change the perceptions that have disillusioned a generation by showing them another side where craftspeople work together on a trade that builds civilizations. Community Collaborations Were Pivotal Piece To The Program’s Progress The strides made for all involved and the effect on local industry resonate throughout Borderplex. Nailed It’s success is attributed to numerous factors, but none as prevalent as community collaboration. From concept to completion, every stage of the program is made possible by our tireless partnerships with local organizations, businesses, and leadership. The initiative burgeoned under Workforce Solutions Borderplex’s newest committee W.E. At Work: Women’s Equality is a work in progress. With the weight of their support, Nailed It! was able to gain rapid traction and funding through a grant from the Bank Of America, allowing the program to commence in earnest. The subsequent cornerstone collaborations were the partnerships made with the local educational institutions who agreed to host Nailed It! and customize workshops in a way that supported the participants. The college’s involvement took the program from concept to tangible construct. Even including these decisive allies, a concept and course without the right audience is simply a good idea awaiting an opportunity. This is where Borderplex’s businesses stepped up for women, construction, and the community. Local organizations, people, and non-profits were pivotal to the recruiting process. From spreading the word to promoting the program using their vast networks, participants came to us through various sources. A community's economic welfare depends on its infrastructure and ability to grow and adapt. All of which are facets made possible by the construction industry. Transferring our model requires organizations to capitalize on this inherent need with those who have a vested stake in the economic welfare of the region. Initiating relationships with locally recognized colleges, universities, trade schools, construction companies, businesses, and community partners nurtures a mutually beneficial environment, establishing the robust foundation necessary for a self-sustaining program people trust. From increased organic promotion and access to private networks to funding, construction skills build communities and with local partnerships, it will build your program as well. Between the growing skilled workforce shortage and a pandemic that didn’t help, the construction industry is in crisis. Consider what comes to mind when you think of a construction worker. The typical image involves a safety vest, boots, and a yellow hard hat worn by a man. The key to replicating our program’s success lies with the more than 50% of the population who have remained an untapped labor resource, women. Programs focused on preparing women for a career in construction will guarantee the long-term health of a faltering industry. Duplicating our approach rests in the program’s primary objective. Nailed It! doesn’t simply attract women to the construction industry. It recruits, trains, and supports them down a potential career path. Success relies on understanding the negative stereotypes associated with the profession, more importantly, the profession in regards to women. Knowing the mental impediments they’ll face, gives organizers the edge they’ll need to mitigate potential challenges by establishing programs that empower women with the skills, knowledge, and confidence to step into a new industry and own it. When designing curricula and considering how to inspire this group towards a possible career change, a personalized approach that examines the trade from a female perspective goes a long way towards breaking down barriers. Workforce Wednesday goes behind the scenes of Nailed It! speaking with participants and College instructors for a sneak peek into the program and what women are getting out of it. Webpage and accompanying press release announcing Bank Of America grant the program received to take the initiative from detailed outline to reality. Marisela Correa
Innovative and Custom-built Company-wide Training Program to Enhance an Individual's Construction Skills Harder Mechanical Contractors Inc 2021-09-24 Prior to COVID, training was delivered in-person with the belief that in-person training was essential for attendee participation and comprehension. COVID drove most of our employees to work remotely and we had to find a new way to train and develop our employees. Considering how the tools with which people process information are becoming more technologically enhanced, we decided on using QuickBase, a low-code application development platform, to build our own custom cloud-based training program. The program would administer and track all technical training. Training content would be developed and administered by experts within the company covering project management, project accounting, asset management, Lean construction, human resources, quality control, and more. Trainings would be delivered live and recorded twice weekly during regularly scheduled online sessions hosted on Zoom. Recordings of live sessions and the corresponding documentation would be made available on-demand online to all employees for future reference and/or for administering their own training. Employees would be placed in groups based on their title, and each group would have a prescribed set of training that the group was expected to receive. Employees and managers would be able to track the progress that their team members were making. Training content developers would be able to receive direct feedback on how their trainings were being received based on quiz scores and reviews completed by training attendees. The program has transformed the way Harder develops employees from interns, to new hires, to employee transfers, and even to seasoned veterans. Prior to the new program, we averaged a couple hundred employee technical trainings per year. With the new program we have completed over 9,500 in just 16 months. In the past, we had logistical complications and expenses with getting people across states to attend in-person training events. Now we reach anyone at any time with minimal impact to their work responsibilities and personal lives. In the past, training invitees left the training with documents or files that started becoming obsolete the moment they left the event. Now training content is always current and accessible to anyone that needs it. In the past, we had to cite multiple rosters and use numerous spreadsheets to track who got training and deduce who still needed training. Now we have a single dashboard showing who has and has not completed what. In the past, employees had to hope to be invited to a training event where they would be exposed to a massive batch of information all at once. Now they attend right-sized live sessions and/or use on-demand features at their own discretion. The program currently has than 40 formalized technical trainings. Additionally, these 40 trainings are supplemented by hundreds of micro trainings that address specific “how to’s” that don’t warrant a lengthy formal training. Feedback from our employees has been very positive with an average rating of 4.6 stars (out of 5) across over 7,300 reviews. Workforce Development - Training & Retention Online Training Events are Valuable Prior to the COVID outbreak, all employee training was delivered in person. The paradigm was that in-person training was essential to deliver to a coherent message and to get the desired participation from attendees. The world, including the construction industry, is changing at an ever-accelerating rate. The tools at our disposal and the ways in which people interact with their environment and process information is becoming more and more technologically enhanced. When COVID drove most of our employees to work remotely, we were forced to challenge our existing paradigm and find a way to train and develop our employees without being in-person. We took matters into our own hands and using QuickBase, a low-code application development platform, we built our own custom cloud-based training program. The result was we delivered more and better content to more people involving much less complex logistics and overhead costs. Employees Value Training There is a common perception that “nobody enjoys sitting through training”. This may be true; however, we have found that at the same time it is true that people value training. It can be very uncomfortable and frustrating to be expected to perform when you are unclear on how to proceed. The feedback that we received from people attending these trainings was generally that of appreciation and enthusiasm. We even saw people attending training events that did not pertain directly to their day-to-day responsibilities out of a simple curiosity and/or desire to be exposed to another aspect of the company they work for. Feedback from our employees on the quality and value of the training has been very positive with an average rating of 4.6/5 stars across over 7,300 reviews. A Single Platform for Training Prior to the new Training Program, training was being managed in various ways, by different parties, and in multiple locations. This approach did not lend itself to standardization or control of training materials. It was also inherently inefficient for the trainee to obtain desired training, as well as for the managers to assess who yet needed what training. Our new program allows us to administer and manage training of all types (e.g. application, accounting, project management, Lean, safety, etc.) from one application. From this application, the trainee can obtain the training that they need when they need it regardless of their location, and the content is current by default. Managers can ascertain from a single dashboard and automatic notification system who on their team needs what training. The program is built with a feedback system that allows the Development Team to continuously make improvements to both the training content, as well as how the program functions. Any improvements made to the program are immediately available to all employees across all training types. Training Delivered by Internal Experts We have all likely experienced situations where training is delivered by those whose job it is to train, or by some representative from Human Resources. We have seen with our program that there is real value in having training be delivered by our “local expert”. This seems to make people feel more valued, as well as help breed community, empathy, and understanding for why we do things the way we do. Prior to deploying our new program, it was often not feasible to have our local experts deliver the trainings due to time constraints and logistical challenges. Limit the Depth and Length of Trainings Before the new program, training was typically administered in large batches due to the logistics associated with the availability of the trainer(s). With the training being administered online under the new program, most of the complications around logistics were eliminated. Consequently, we were able to discover that people often did better when training was administered in smaller batches. It was easier to get people to attend and to hold their attention when trainings were kept to less than one hour. To validate trainee participation and measure comprehension, we ended each training with an electronic quiz administered via email. Each quiz had a short set of multiple-choice questions geared at providing data to track trainee participation, as well as ensure that the key takeaways of the training were comprehended by each trainee. Record Everything and Make it Accessible Cloud meeting platforms like Zoom make it easy to keep attendance, and to capture the audio and video of the sessions. Video platforms like Wistia make it easy to store, manage, and access video content via the cloud. We made a practice of recording every online training session. If the most recent training session was delivered better, and/or had more current content it would replace any previously recorded sessions. These recordings stored in our new program are the basis of our On Demand feature for employees that were not able to attend the live session, or for future hirers or new team members that may have a new need for the training, or for people to simply revisit for reference. Collaborate. Pull your content experts and key stakeholders together and outline a program and/or strategy that represents everyone’s ideas and needs. That outline should include the definition the members of the development and deployment team, as well as ongoing touch-points to keep stakeholders and decision involved as the plan evolves as it progresses. Commit and invest. Once you have an outline of the desired program, present it to the executives to get their buy-in. It is important that that buy-in includes the understanding that people will need to be assigned/committed to the endeavor meaning they will need to shift responsibilities such that they can dedicate time to the program. Just start. Don’t fall into the paralysis by analysis trap. If you have a common goal and have committed the right people to the task, you don’t need it all in place before you can deploy and start getting value. If we had tried to sell the concept of what we now have at the onset, people would have likely been intimidated and shied away from even trying. Make mistakes, learn, improve, repeat. Michael Strachan
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