Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 8

ON THE FLOOR

Jane Alexander
Managing Editor

An outlet for the views
of today's reliability &
maintenance professionals

Reports from Ground Zero:
Growing a Skilled Workforce

T

he cover and several pages of May's
Maintenance Technology might give you the
impression that we had a common theme
in mind: workforce matters. It wasn't by
design; it just worked out this way. The following
MT Reader Panel question fit the theme nicely,
though. Our Panelists began answering early and
enthusiastically. The bad news, again, is that we
couldn't include all of their responses in the print
issue. The good news is that we have an expanded
online version of this discussion on maintenancetechnology.com.) Here's the question:

Q 

How were their organizations (or client/
customer organizations) helping to
develop, empower, and enable skilled
workers for today's and tomorrow's
industries? 
While there are different
approaches to it, efforts
to develop, empower, and
enable skilled workers are
never-ending, or should be.

The following responses
have, as always, been edited for
clarity and brevity.

Industry Consultant, West. . .

Only a couple of my clients are addressing this
issue. The ones who aren't seem to think they'll
be able to entice employees away from companies
that are actually finding a way to train the workforce. Development of workers seems to be the
largest challenge at this time. Workers hired out of
high school have few or no skills that translate to
industry, other than moderate computer abilities.
Workers hired with tech-school training seem to
be hit and miss. Some have valuable skills, but lack
work ethics; others have neither.  
One client has created a tiered system that
has some similarities to previous apprenticeship
programs, but the tiers are self-paced, allowing

8|

MAINTENANCE TECHNOLOGY

more ambitious workers to advance (and make
more money) more quickly. So far this has been
successful, to a degree, but a stumbling block
seems to be that Millennials do not work for goals
that are two or three years away, but want results
in one year or less. They also seem to feel that if
another employee gets a raise, they deserve one
as well, no matter if they've completed the same
requirements as the other worker. While there
are exceptions to this, the situation can lead to
friction in the workforce.
Most of my clients seem to be doing well when
it comes to empowering and giving all workers
a voice. And most appear to be enabling their
workers much better than in the past. This helps
retain the long-term employees they have.

Maintenance Engineer,
Discrete Mfg, Midwest. . .

Our plant has begun retraining senior maintenance personnel to adapt to the ever-increasing
automation of our production machinery. We've
also started training some maintenance apprentices to begin refilling the pipeline to replace aging
in-house staff (average age in our facility is around
50). We're using the vocational school in our area
on basic skills (welding, shop equipment use,
power transmission, and electricity) for apprenticeship candidates and other technical specialists
who want to participate. The program is going into
its second year, and the only issue we're working
through is putting apprentices in situations where
they can use their newly found knowledge in
practical settings.

Maintenance Supervisor,
Process Mfg, North America. . .

Unfortunately, our organization is moving away
from technical training for our maintenance
people. It has imposed a limited budget for
training across the corporation and is using it to
train upper management on aspects of contract
negotiations and employee interactions. I only
have one technician scheduled for training on a
PLC course. Nothing else has been approved. This
is not an optimal situation, as technicians only buy
MAY 2017


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology May 2017

Maintenance Technology May 2017 - Cover1
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - Cover2
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 1
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 2
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 3
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 4
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 5
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 6
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 7
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 8
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 9
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 10
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 11
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 12
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 13
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 14
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 15
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 16
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 17
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 18
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 19
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 20
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 21
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 22
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 23
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 24
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 25
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 26
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 27
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 28
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 29
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 30
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 31
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 32
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 33
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 34
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 35
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 36
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 37
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 38
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 39
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 40
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 41
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 42
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 43
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 44
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 45
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 46
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 47
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - 48
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - Cover3
Maintenance Technology May 2017 - Cover4
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