In addition to proactively building their employees’ skills, some employers offer workforce development programs aimed at enhancing workers’ skills throughout their industry. In today’s Advisor, we’re taking a look at a few successful training initiatives.
Contractor Mentoring Program
Take the mentoring program at Gilbane Building Company. The program is designed to hone the skills of workers at minority, veteran, and women-owned contractors that work with Gilbane and other companies.
The 7-month contractor training program, in which Gilbane executives are paired with participants, is an extension of the company’s corporate university. Class topics include accounting, cost estimating, marketing, safety, procurement, technology, project management, insurance, purchasing, scheduling, business development, risk analysis, and financial management.
“The program helps develop ongoing relationships between a Gilbane mentor and a protégé, ultimately helping the protégé and his/her business become more knowledgeable and competitive in the construction industry,” Gilbane explained. In the past 6 years, 46 students from 32 firms have graduated from the program, and more than $15.5 million worth of contracts has been awarded to program graduates.
“Gilbane’s level of commitment to minority, women, and veteran-owned firms is exemplified by this unique program,” said Ryan Hutchins, senior vice president. “We continue to support the development of a diverse workforce through this training program that offers minority, women, and veteran-owned companies a competitive edge so they can excel, not only when working with Gilbane, but with other firms within the industry as well. This is about giving companies a chance to truly succeed in this industry.”
Construction Industry Training Center
Fluor Corporation’s U.S. Gulf Coast Craft Training Center in Pasadena, Texas, offers tuition-free, preemployment training in the welding, electrical, instrumentation, millwright, and pipefitting disciplines.
Each year, more than 300 students are trained at the center, which the company says provides an “intensive” curriculum certified by the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER). The center uses a combination of classroom-based and hands-on training to equip graduates with skills to enter a career in the construction industry, Fluor stated.
“Since the 1960s, Fluor has led craft training in the industries we serve,” said Mark Landry, the company’s senior vice president and chief human resources officer. “Through the U.S. Gulf Coast Craft Training Center, after-hours training at our job sites, and our supervisory training, we provide a comprehensive approach to training at every stage of a craft professional’s career.”
“Skilled craft professionals are in high demand throughout the United States,” said Jim Hanna, vice president of craft services and industrial relations for Fluor. “The U.S. Gulf Coast Craft Training Center creates new opportunities for individuals to embark on these rewarding careers, and Fluor is proud to be building and strengthening the pipeline of skilled craft professionals.”
Manufacturing Development Center
Axalta Coating Systems, a global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, recently opened its Powder Coating Learning and Development Center next to its Houston manufacturing headquarters. The company’s “first-in-the-industry” facility offers classes in English and Spanish both to Axalta’s customers and to others “interested in learning more about powder coatings or advancing their application skills.”
Taught by industry experts, the single- and multiday classes are aimed at helping students gain “hands-on experience with the latest application techniques using advanced powder coating technology, including a Nordson Colormax II spray booth, a Gema batch booth and a 512-cubic-foot gas oven for curing,” the company explained.
Axalta said the learning and development center encourages and supports “collaboration and relationship building.”