Emerging Technologies and New Talent Pools

We are in the midst of a maintenance crisis and are facing highly sophisticated equipment challenges, budget cut backs, a mass exodus of skilled talent, and social stigmas that inhibit our youth from pursuing maintenance career paths.

This raises key questions. How can we quickly backfill the exiting boomer generation? How can we accelerate learning curves and how can we uncover new talent pools?

Well, I believe that the return of the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan is exciting news and they should be given a heroes' welcome!  We can do this by giving them the opportunity to develop new career paths in the maintenance field, and hopefully avoid the pitfalls we have seen in the past.

What is your company doing to reach out to veterans?

 The U.S. and state governments are now providing tax breaks and training dollars for companies who hire veterans.  With thousands returning to the crowded market place, it is imperative that we in the maintenance and reliability profession leverage this opportunity to build our workforce.  I have been meeting with national, state and even city governments encouraging them to provide a heroes' welcome by granting training programs, holding special job fairs and working with the commercial sector to provide preferential mortgages and automotive loans.  I also encourage companies to post their jobs on www.pipelinenc.com as this advanced job service may not only attract potential recruits, but also converts military service records into the transferable skill sets that help employers identify more qualified candidates for their openings.

To help advance workforce performance levels, I am also going to be working with employers to uncover their current and future projected skills gaps, and work to develop pathways and programs to mitigate talent shortfalls.

Recently, I discovered a company called AnTech Systems http://www.antechsystems.com/ and am working to help Weldingthem expand their work with the U.S. Navy to develop simulated workforce development programs for industry. They develop online training programs that do not put trainees to sleep, but challenge them and provide simulated work experiences to prevent future failures and maximize performance.  Companies could use their custom programming to develop training and certification programs to ensure that future generations of workers have the knowledge and validated skill sets to operate equipment and provide optimal asset care. Their past services have saved the U.S. Navy millions of dollars and ensured equipment was mission ready.  Since their programs are, in essence, video games, they become addictive learning tools and the trainees will gladly read equipment manuals as well as master procedures and best practices to increase their game (test) scores.

This approach of converting gamers into workers is already being implement by Lincoln Electric with their VRTEX 360 http://www.lincolnelectric.com/en-us/equipment/training-equipment/vrtex360/Pages/demo-video.aspx  simulated welding programs. High schools, community colleges, corporations, military bases and even prison systems are acquiring these systems to provide simulated exposure to master fundamental welding skills and help in developing the much needed pipeline of skilled workers that we will depend on in future years. 

If more companies work to upgrade training techniques become farmers of skilled talent and incorporate more veterans into their outreach campaigns, we will have the quality and quantity to fight back against the Maintenance Crisis.

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