Add Veterans and Service Members to Your Manufacturing Team

The hiring push in manufacturing offers much opportunity for interested service members, especially if vets are given skills like instrumentation training.

Whether it’s the boatloads of tired veterans and service members coming home to a severe shortage of civilian jobs, or the reports of military families drowning under credit card debt, two organizations are disgruntled enough to take action.

America Wants You [], an initiative to get corporate employers to find jobs for service members, has teamed up with the 10,000 Jobs Challenge to create more opportunity for military families. The two groups will be knocking on office doors to encourage all kinds of fields to consider veteran applicants and post certain jobs for service members. But given the current hiring push among the manufacturing industry, the 10,000 Jobs Challenge should spread its efforts to power plants. Manufacturing plants require a variety of both general and specific skills, and much can be learned from on-the-job or online industrial training.

Industry-specific training, whether online or on-the-job, often means more to managers and employers than a college degree. For instance, operations and control personnel are much better prepared for the job if they receive some instrumentation and control training. Service members who worked with software or electrical maintenance already have a basic knowledge that could be fine tuned for an instrumentation and control position.

With instrumentation and control training, vets can get familiar with PLCs and learn how to collect accurate measurement data. Depending on their position in the military, they likely already have an eye for detail and the utmost regard for safety procedures. But beyond whether or not veterans and service members could be capable plant workers—and they could—they need the opportunity. Some say they need the chance more than unemployed civilians due to mountains of military debt.

A report by the Financial Industry Regulation Foundation shined an unforgiving light on the poor financial state of many military families. The survey showed 27 percent of participating military families had more than $10,000 worth of credit card debt versus 16 percent of civilian families with similar debt. More than one third of the enlisted or retired members surveyed had a hard time affording their monthly bills, and 10 percent of mortgage borrowers admitted being late on one or more payments in the past two years.

But, with doubled efforts from America Wants You and help from sites like CareerBuilder, hopefully unemployment and debt rates among service members will begin to shrink. The men and women serving our country shouldn’t be the ones suffering from the nation’s economic shortcomings. So, if you’re hiring instrumentation technicians or will be soon, consider reserving jobs for veterans, active duty members, or retirees. They have a well of knowledge and unique experience that can be honed with control training, and frankly, we owe them.


Three Components of Process Operations Success: Safety, Productivity, and Efficiency

Industrial plants rely on an equation of safety, productivity, and efficiency, which is optimized by process operator training.

There are three staples for any industrial group: safety, productivity, and efficiency. Plant work is no exception. In fact, industrial process operators must consider all three factors constantly. If they’re repairing new pipes or valves, modifying protocol, or installing a new turbine, operators must gauge how the choice will affect the balance between each factor throughout the entire plant.

Operations-related decisions are not easy to make, and they require analytical skills, teamwork, computer skills, and industrial training. But seminars and workshops can be expensive, especially if you’re attempting to train large groups. A more cost-effective form of process operator training is available online. Companies can customize their courses, train any number of workers, and improve process operator skills, both basic and advanced. With this level of comprehensive training, operators learn how to integrate simple but effective solutions. Improved operator skills help the team observe key details so troubleshooting is thorough and timely. This leads to a safe, efficient plant with high productivity.

Online plant operations training enhances productivity because it’s specialized, interactive, and consultative. You can design curriculums based on prerequisite knowledge, preferred learning plans, and the many nuances of your specific plant or process operations. Process operations training allows you to manage technology changes too. The program has an extensive online library, including real-world videos that provide practical application. These situational examples offer students the chance to witness troubleshooting in action. Media-rich formats have shown to improve retention, especially for intricate procedures, troubleshooting, and hazardous event management.

To regulate efficiency and productivity after the course is over, detailed workbooks and glossaries can be used as on-the-floor reference materials. The materials could also be used to measure retention, application, and keep operator skills fresh. Managers can track students’ progress and results throughout the process, especially once the training is over. It’s important that industrial operators implement the new skill sets immediately to help achieve new performance goals with plenty of positive reinforcement. This way, critical safety lessons learned from an employee’s home could be utilized on the plant floor.

Once new procedures or training is applied, industrial process operators can work out any kinks and identify potential snags. Their training will give them the critical lens to examine performance, output, and total productivity. If you can keep a close eye on the rhythm of the plant, it’s easier to recognize problems and discover effective solutions quickly.

Chemical Lab Training Can Protect Health of Lab Techs

Protecting the health of lab technicians through industrial training maintains safety for the entire plant.

For industrial lab technicians, a little danger is unavoidable. The duties of a lab technician incorporate various elements that can compromise a person’s health. And if the health of your chemical technicians is compromised, that means the health of your overall plant is compromised. The bottom line? Your output will suffer. But, there is a way to invest in your lab and protect its workers without spending a fortune: Chemical lab tech training that’s affordable yet extensive. Protecting the health of your workers ultimately protects your assets.

According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, continued exposure to lead, nickel, mercury, chromium, petrochemicals, and radiation can cause fertility issues among men. That risk, combined with the possibility of fire hazards, chemical spills, electrical shortages and beyond, make safety procedures one of the most critical lessons in chemical lab tech training.

Another significant health risk is posed by irregular schedules and extended workdays. Long hours or working at night/early morning can lead to sleeplessness and chronic fatigue, which may culminate in shift work sleep disorder (SWSD). The disorder is a result of too much regular shift work; the body can no longer tell when it should be resting or active. SWSD is characterized by excessive exhaustion, anxiety, and a debilitating insomnia. That level of exhaustion leads to careless mistakes and workplace accidents. Some shift work may be necessary, but plant managers can customize chemical lab tech learning plans to include the risks and warning signs so workers are prepared.

From metallurgy and liability issues to radioactive isotopes, chemical lab technicians don’t have much room for error. When finished products will eventually help support a family or get chewed on by a toddler, technicians who test the integrity of materials and packaging must be extremely thorough. As a result, the physical and mental demands of working as an industrial lab tech are often overwhelming. To keep chemical and manufacturing plants operating efficiently and safely, chemical technicians have to take care of themselves first.

The responsibilities of a lab tech tend to be uniquely stressful because minor mistakes can be very costly, regardless of the specifics of the work or plant. And when the stakes are high, everybody knows it. Chemical lab ‘best practices’ aren’t a suggestion or general rule of thumb—they prevent workplace accidents and maintain the wellbeing of the plant and its employees. But managers and administrators can’t expect or guarantee the best performance from their lab techs without investing in their safety and health through lab technician training.

Boost Production Output With Mechanical Maintenance Training

Boost Production

Production demands rise with consumer cycle.

According to economists, two key groups of consumers are spending again. Individuals are once more purchasing cars, electronics, and household appliances, and businesses are buying industrial equipment and new technology again. Active consumers and businesses with revenue translate into strong manufacturing growth and increased output—and thus the capitalist cycle regains some fervor.

But keeping up with renewed output demands means all equipment must be working at top speed. Even if new purchases are being made, much of your equipment is probably rather old. From keeping new machines in the best possible shape to preventing old ones from falling into disrepair, mechanical maintenance training is a critical piece of smooth-running equipment.

Many manufacturing plants face pressure to modernize processes with brand new equipment, but plant operators and managers can’t make a series of expensive buys on the mere promise of economic recovery. A less costly way to streamline and update equipment is mechanical maintenance training. Maintenance training goes beyond simply learning to fix broken parts, technicians learn how to foresee problems and implement preventive measures.

Mechanical maintenance learning plans can be tweaked for your team, equipment, or particular learning style. Identifying key topics, which may vary depending on the specifics of your manufacturing plant, help you customize learning plans. Most plans cover all of your bases: encompassing fundamentals, nitty-gritty details, and all the critical information in between. Mechanical maintenance training is never static because technology is constantly improving and each worker has different skill profiles.

Industrial manufacturing employs some 13.8 million people. It’s impossible for every single worker to have the same levels of knowledge about hydraulics and pneumatics and mechanical power transmission systems. Reduce workplace accidents and make equipment last longer by giving workers the benefit of manufacturing plant training. When your workers benefit, so does your factory, and manufacturing growth gets another boost.

If consumers keep spending and sustain manufacturing growth, production demands will only increase. Industrial mechanics will need to upgrade their skills so the oldest machine is running as efficiently as the newest one. Steady production is only as reliable as the technicians maintaining the equipment. And properly trained mechanics are able to troubleshoot potential problems so the line doesn’t have to come to screeching halt when equipment hits a snag.

Engineering solutions company Life Cycle Engineering (LCE) says 70 percent of equipment failures are self-induced. And between 30 and 50 percent of these self-induced failures occur because maintenance mechanics lack the basics. Mechanical maintenance training instills the basics and digs much deeper, and LCE says such training will increase production capacity by 20 percent.

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