Focus on Workplace Training: A Winning Workforce
Waupaca Foundry’s new training assessment programs identify and build skills, reduce downtime and increase productivity.
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A leading producer of iron castings, Waupaca Foundry looked to Fox Valley Technical College’s Business & Industry Services team to develop, test and implement its new maintenance and electrical assessment programs. By using hands-on real-time tests, the assessments identify each employee’s skill level in about 16 different areas and identifies those that need improvement.
“We first determined what skills are critical for each position level,” says Gordy Barth, manager of employee development and training at Waupaca Foundry. “Both new hires and current employees take the tests and then work in positions based on their skill levels.”
FVTC instructors worked with foundry managers for almost two years to develop these testing systems. “Our managers were the first to take the tests to work out any kinks,” states Barth. “So far the results have been excellent.”
Waupaca’s maintenance personnel are encouraged to develop a wide range of capabilities. “We don’t have specific jobs for welders or robotic programmers,” says Barth. “When everyone has a full range of skills, our company wins because problems are recognized sooner and fixed faster—and that means improved productivity.”
Employees don’t have to test in all areas. For example, the electrical assessment test measures 16 areas, but test-takers only have to pass 12 to reach the highest pay level. If someone fails any area, they are immediately offered training. “More than 95% of the staff who needed training in one or more areas have completed it,” states Barth. “The program is win/win because it helps employees improve their skills and reach a higher salary level.”
Fox Valley Technical College’s Business & Industry Services (BIS) team is one of the state’s leaders in customized business training. Last year, BIS trained more than
1,950 employers, enhancing the skills of about 21,800+ employees.