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Innovative Training for Industry Innovation

Rich Jefferson

CastExpo 2019 is April 27-30 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, and it’s shaping up to be a great edition of the CastExpo equipment show. Of interest to attendees will be a unique way they can demonstrate support for employee training that enables industry innovation. It’s simple. Visit Air Products in
booth 1819.

It works like this. For every visitor to the Air Products booth, the Air Products Foundation will contribute $100 to the AFS Institute, up to $15,000. Through this donation,  Air Products is contributing to the Institute’s powerful education tradition. Since 1957 the Institute has trained more than 89,000 metalcasters, and it has its sights set on another 100,000 in the next 60 years.

So far this year the Institute has 17 courses on the calendar, 111 e-Learning modules are available, and 80 active e-Learning subscribing companies.

The AFS Institute, formerly the Cast Metals Institute, is a 501(c)(3) organization, and as such it can accept donations. Its mission: “AFS and the Institute will lead workforce development initiatives and provide innovative education programs that meet customer needs and increase the skill levels of  industry workers.”

Air Products supplies foundries with innovative gas-based solutions and is an AFS Corporate Member. The Air Products Foundation donation will support innovative training that will push the metalcasting industry boldly into the future.

Employee training not only supports the bottom line by creating better workers, it’s a retention incentive for millennials, and it can help recruitment. Every employer is keen to hire the next generation of workers, and that means, for the most part, millennials.  

Nearly 50% of foundries polled this past fall said capacity has increased in 2018. That usually means more employees are needed. However, as we have been discovering, it’s not difficult to recruit people to work on the shop floor, but it is difficult to retain them. This is where training and engagement come in.

One of today’s hard trends is demographics. Boomers will continue to age (sorry, can’t do anything about that) and retire, and knowledge transfer will be more important with each passing day. One way to solve this problem is with the right employee training. Hence the support for the AFS Institute.

A study by the Gallup organization puts all this into a bigger context and helps us understand what’s going on with millennials.

According to the study, “Millennials don’t just work for a paycheck —they work for a purpose.” Along with this purpose-driven life, Millennials want job satisfaction, and they don’t want bosses, they want coaches.

Personally, after managing people for some time, I can tell you it’s a lot more fun to manage people who want coaching. But coaching often means training and a commitment to employee engagement, not old-style bossing.

Training magazine put it this way:

“In years past, members of older generations expected to learn their jobs gradually—to ‘learn the ropes’ over time. Members of the younger generations are more impatient to feel confident and to contribute right from the beginning. That means training. Be sure to explain to job applicants that you offer superior training. It will make a big difference in convincing them your company is a great place to work.”

Along with providing atmospheric and process gases for manufacturing, Air Products has innovative technologies for both ferrous and nonferrous foundries than can help lower fuel/coke costs, increase yield and productivity, reduce emissions, and improve quality.

Together, the Air Products Foundation and the AFS Institute support innovation in metalcasting, industry-wide. Innovation starts with the ways the industry trains and retains workers, which fosters creativity in product manufacturing and innovation.

Please visit the Air Products booth. You too can contribute to high quality training, and all you have to do is visit booth 1819 at CastExpo 2019.

Click here to see this story as it appears in the February 2019 issue of Modern Casting