Technician Training: Funding Makes a Difference
It's one thing to beat the drum for developing a defined curriculum for maintenance and engineering managers and technicians. Numerous industry participants and observers — myself included — have done that for some time now.
It's another thing, though, to provide the financial resources technical schools, two-year colleges, and other post-secondary institutions need to actually develop and implement such curricula.
Now, there is more hope those resources are on the way. The federal government is starting to put funding where the need is.
Last month, the Obama administration announced an initiative through which companies, labor unions, and two-year colleges nationwide would collaborate to improve job training and workforce development. The president also rolled out several related initiatives, including a $35 million competitive grant to improve completion rates at community colleges in nine states and a $1 million annual prize to honor a top-performing community college. Plans also call for a competition to award $500 million in federal funds for a four-year program to fund a job-training initiative for community colleges.
For managers, as well as their departments and facilities, help cannot come fast enough. Despite high unemployment nationally, departments still need entry-level workers with the skills to operate and maintain both existing facilities desperately in need of modernization and new facilities featuring technologically advanced systems throughout.
The problem finding qualified technicians is not so much quantity as quality. Funding initiatives such as those now coming out of Washington offer managers promise that help is on the way.
Dan Hounsell offers observations about trends in maintenance and engineering management and the evolving role of managers in facilities.