One of my favorite sayings is the African proverb "it takes a whole village to raise a child," a philosophy that's been widely adopted by the education sector. In working with area businesses and industries, I have come to believe it takes a whole community to develop the partnerships necessary for great training programs.
One great example of a community working together is the Machine Operator Training Program (MOTP) through Fisher-Emerson that has been in operation for more than 10 years.An employee who completed the training program about a year ago and is now employed as a machine operator at Fisher-Emerson says, "The training topics that were most helpful to me were print reading and CNC information. Blueprints are very different today than when I studied them in high school."
Iowa Works is the partner with whom the recruitment process begins, when it receives notification from Fisher-Emerson that the company is looking for potential candidates interested in working as machine operators. Other recruitment efforts are conducted through the local newspapers, radio stations, and websites. "Earn While You Learn"brochures are distributed in the community by Fisher.
Next, interested persons are directed to the Iowa Valley Education & Training Center to complete pre-employment assessments designed specifically for the machine operator program. Potential employees are assessed on their math and mechanical skills. Once the assessment process is complete, participants attend an orientation, tour the plant, and participate in an interview with Fisher-Emerson. Twelve candidates are selected for each MOT program.
At the first day of training, participants are signed up as employees through Temp Associates; they are paid during the 7-10 week training program. The training is conducted through Iowa Valley Continuing Education. Instruction covers everything from job success skills to math to machine-specific training. Upon successful completion of the MOTP, students may receive up to 8.5 college credits toward entering the Machine Trades program at Marshalltown Community College.
The new Fisher-Emerson employee states, "I have recommended the MOT program to several friends and have a friend who just passed the math test. It's the best program I've gone through, with great instructors. It has given me a career versus just a job."
From the local advertising to the training, culminating in a tremendous career opportunity at Fisher, this MOT program would not be successful without the involvement of our community. It's a real win-win-win program.
Jean Brownlie is an IVCE Business Solutions Consultant.