Mechanics Begin Hands-On Training Program
Facilities Management has partnered with Dunwoody College of Technology's Workforce Training Department to provide periodic refresher training to mechanics and other FM personnel on specific topics that affect U of M operations. By targeting problem areas, FM believes the partnership with Dunwoody will enable mechanics to become more proficient and efficient on certain tasks, which will eventually lead to better safety and cost savings.
The previous training program (2009-2011) utilized computer-based training every couple of months. Mechanics read about topics on a computer and then were quizzed on the material they had read. Feedback from participants revealed that they preferred training where they could learn by seeing and doing a task, rather than reading about it.
In order to provide a more effective training program, FM began interviewing vendors and Dunwoody had the best offerings for the current set of programs that FM wanted to implement. The fact that the trainings could be conducted on campus and tailored to FM's specific needs were big pluses. Some FM mechanics were even included in the development of the class content.
Dunwoody instructors will collaborate with Energy Management and District staff to create customized training outlines and content. The first training, held in October, covered coil draining (including glycol and air dried coils), valving, circulating pumps and fall maintenance of heating water loops.
Dunwoody's training programs will consist of a one-hour classroom session in Walter Library followed 2-3 hours of hands-on training in the basement machine room. Some supervisors will also be able to attend the training to get better understanding of their mechanic's challenges.
"I thought the training was well organized, succinct, and relevant," said St. Paul-West District Team 1 Manager Kevin Taylor. "The instructor used the time well and was quite knowledgeable. It was nice have training that the material fit the time allowed. Not always the case before."
Training programs are in place for the rest of the 2013-14 school year, with plans are to continue into 2015.