Preparations are under way for the next round of Assembling Industry: Manufacturing and Education training.
“We’re about to hold our 16th session,” said Clinton Community College Coordinator for Workforce Development Jodi Faucher.
The idea for Assembling Industry arose from an open forum hosted by CCC, OneWorkSource and ETS employment service, where a common finding was local employers’ dissatisfaction with the skills that job candidates were bringing to the table.
The partners set out to develop a program that would provide basic skills needed in manufacturing as well as “soft skills” needed to land and hold a job.
Participants receive 120 hours of training in six weeks.
Aimed at adults, the program is challenging, Faucher said, with strict attendance policies and some long days.
It starts with tours at local manufacturers, such as Nova Bus, Swarovski and Mold-Rite Plastics.
That gives participants a feel for different types of manufacturing in the area to help them find what they are interested in.
Faucher said it’s a win-win, as the companies get quality employees and job seekers find good-paying jobs.
“The companies have been wonderful,” she said.
Class work includes basic-safety-in-manufacturing certification from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Safety and Health Administration, certification in Lean Manufacturing 101 from CITEC and the National Work Readiness Credential for soft skills that help employees succeed.
Also, there is training at CCC and CV-TEC for skills that involve use of hand tools, power tools, precision measurement, blueprint reading, basic electrical assembly and introduction to programmable logic controllers.
The course ends with an employment seminar. And employers who are hiring gather for quick interviews with the graduates.
“Many of them end up with jobs shortly after that,” Faucher said.
SpencerARL has had good results with employees who went through the program, Plattsburgh General Manager John Vermette said.
But it remains a challenge for his company to find enough of the kind of qualified employees Spencer needs as the firm expands in response to a ramp-up of production at Nova Bus. That includes soft skills, such as punctuality, appearance and teamwork.
Vermette has noticed the people who participated have a much better understanding of what they are getting into at SpencerARL and what is needed to succeed.
“We’ve had much less turnover with people from this program than with our traditional hires,” he said. “Because of the tour, they seem to have an idea that they would like to work here.”