Tuesday, May 1, 2012

WEDnetPA Success Story - Keller Engineers

A great success story coming from the WEDnetPA partner - Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center featuring participating company: Keller Engineers.
The ability to keep pace with technology is an on-going challenge.  To be competitive, our engineers, technicians and surveyors must utilize the most up-to-date software and equipment available.  In order to be productive and produce quality projects, we have to not only use technology correctly, but be proficient when doing so.   
The technical software used by our firm is updated every year; therefore, we must continuously train our staff to properly, efficiently, and effectively utilize the software.  Additionally, specialized trainings are required for many of our staff members in order to be certified/re-certified each year by state and federal agencies. 
Providing relevant, on-going training for our workforce is included in our firm’s Mission Statement and addresses an employee benefit.  We believe that providing quality training is not only an investment in our firm, but in our employees.  A well trained employee is not only more technically competent, but more satisfied and less likely to leave.   One of the biggest benefits is that our employees appreciate the fact that we care enough about them, and our clients, to address the need for on-going training.  They understand that with training, the end product we generate is a better quality product for our clients.
Hands-on training is necessary; however, removing our entire billable design workforce from production is extremely expensive.  This year, WEDnet funds allowed us to contract with a certified trainer to come on-site and provide training that was customized to address each department’s specific needs.  By setting up laptop computers, over the course of two days, our staff members received customized training using project specific work.   This year we will also use WEDnet funds for Microsoft Outlook-Working Smart training, Social Networking and Marketing training sessions, and we sent one technician off site to participate in survey specific software training.  He in turn “trained” other employees.
The fact that grant money to help with our training needs is available through WEDnetPA prompts us to focus on identifying our training needs and address them in an organized, timely manner.  Had we not received the WEDnet grant, we most likely would have delayed some much needed training which directly benefits our bottom line.  The entire WEDnet process was streamlined and easy to follow.  We apply for WEDnet grants every opportunity available, and encourage other businesses to do so.

Submitted by: Joseph G. Keller, P.E., President

Thursday, April 12, 2012

WEDnetPA Featured Success Story!

A great success story coming from the WEDnetPA partner - Greater Altoona Career and Technology Center featuring participating company: Norfolk Southern.

Norfolk Southern strives to be the safest, most customer-focused and successful transportation company in the world. Any program that helps our employees achieve those goals, particularly when it comes to safety, is an asset. Norfolk Southern has led the industry by capturing the E.H. Harriman Award every year since 1989.

The railroad industry will see nearly a third of its workforce reach retirement age within the next five years, and that means railroads are hiring thousands of new employees each year. Those employees must undergo extensive training to meet Norfolk Southern’s high standards for safety and performance.

WEDNetPA has been a valuable resource to aid in the educational development of our workforce.  In addition, the application process and the Information Sharing, Administration & Analysis Center (ISAAC) is very user friendly.  Our WEDnetPA partner has been readily available to answer any questions I have had throughout the process.  I encourage you to inquire about this program by visiting https://isaac.wednetpa.com/

Provided by: Megan Yanik

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Flexospan - A WEDnetPA Success Story!

A great success story coming from the WEDnetPA partner - Clarion University featuring participating company: Flexospan.

Since 1969, Flexospan Steel Buildings, Inc. has manufactured commercial and industrial steel roofing and siding products at our location in Sandy Lake, Pennsylvania.  The Company is known for specializing in hard to find heavy gauges and paint finishes that will stand up in extremely corrosive and abrasive atmospheres.  Flexospan has a self-storage facility division that can provide complete material packages for entrepreneurs beginning or adding on to self-storage facilities.  The Company also manufactures complete custom and pre-engineered steel buildings as well as structural components and accessories.  Because of the specialized skills of our workforce, we are able to respond to unique manufacturing requirements and to deliver an outstanding level of customer service that has been the backbone of our company since its inception.

In our industry, it is essential to offer solutions and options to our customers in their metal roofing and siding projects.  We provide first-rate training to our staff to give them the tools they need for these challenges.  Our registered engineering staff has undergone technical training on building design software specific to the products that we manufacture.  This targeted training has been a tremendous resource in allowing us to provide technical input and project options for our customers.  We have recognized that in addition to our high standards for manufacturing and our technical abilities, excellent customer service is essential to our continued success.  Flexospan’s customer service training is designed specifically for our Company and the industry we serve.  It provides tremendous motivation for our experienced sales staff to continually strive in exceeding the expectations of the customer with regard to both the quality of the product and the customer support they receive.

Our Company’s experience with the WEDnet program has been EXCELLENT in all respects.  It has been a real pleasure working closely with our partner organization, Clarion University, from whom we have continually received outstanding support and guidance through the entire WEDnet process.   We would encourage other companies to contact Clarion University for more information on this tremendous training opportunity.
Submitted by:
Lauri Frederick, President

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

United Envelope - A Featured Success Story!

A great success story coming from the WEDnetPA partner - East Stroudsburg University featuring participating company: United Envelope.

Our Company’s challenge is to find and train employees to work in our production areas and learn the envelope manufacturing equipment and processes.  Almost all applicants come to us with no knowledge of the envelope industry.  Some applicants have prior manufacturing experience and for others this would be their first work experience in manufacturing.  Therefore, we need to train virtually every new hire.
The type of training we need to provide is specialized based on the particular types of envelope manufacturing equipment that we have on our production floor.  Therefore, we need to do in-house training.  Our training and safety manager spends the first two weeks with every new hire and has a training process for those two weeks that involves hands-on training and classroom training. Types of training include – understanding the parts of an envelope; machinery safety such as guards, lock-out tag-out, and proper operation of the machine; quality inspection of the envelopes; packaging process; reading and working with job jackets; and PPE training.  He reviews daily processes, safety procedures, quality procedures, and more.  It is an expense to do such in-depth training, but our hope is that each new hire learns the business, remains with us and advances to other positions.  It is to their benefit and ours for them to have a full understanding of the work processes.
We heard about WEDnePA and contacted our local partner at East Stroudsburg University to see if it was a program that we could utilize.  What makes WEDnePA a perfect fit for us is that we can utilize our own trainer, even an in-house trainer.  We build a training plan to meet our objectives and WEDnetPA allows us to revise the plan if it becomes necessary during the contract year.  Submitting our invoice information as to training hours, reimbursement due, etc. is fairly easy.  The funds we receive from WEDnetPA allow us to do more training in other areas as it supplements the core training expense.  WEDnetPA is a program that helps employers to meet training needs and does so in a way that is not overly cumbersome to the employer.
Submitted to WEDnetPA by: Vicki Herman - HR Director

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Weiler Corporation - A Featured Success Story!

A great success story coming from the WEDnetPA partner - East Stroudsburg University featuring participating company: Weiler Corporation .

Weiler Corporation had many issues with their original data warehouse.  Performance was very poor and data was inaccurate.  Most users developed some type of workaround to satisfy their information needs. This involved running production reports and mining some data from the data warehouse through predefined reports.  In order to produce the required information, the user would manually consolidate the data and use MS Access or MS Excel to present the information.  This involved many non-value added hours to produce limited information.
Approximately two years ago, Weiler made a decision to invest in a more robust data warehouse/business intelligence solution to mine and provide critical management information.  MicroStrategy was selected for business intelligence because of its robust ad hoc reporting capabilities.  When I joined Weiler in June 2011, the team was still working on the project without any implementations.  After reviewing the status and strategy, it became very clear that the team needed more formal training to move this project forward.
In August 2011, we abandoned the two year effort and engaged MicroStrategy.edu, to train the technical and user teams.  The skills taught by MicroStrategy.edu included architecting a data warehouse, MicroStrategy configuration, MicroStrategy administration, data modeling, project management, ETL (extract, transfer, load), best practices strategies, dashboard creation, power user training and web user training.  I am happy to report that we completed our first implementation November 5, 2011.  Users are already reporting tremendous time savings and more accurate information.  In addition to the user reports, we have one dashboard created.  WEDnetPA funds for training were critical in the education of our team and rapid achievement of our goals.
This success story was provided by: Donna Piccirilli

Monday, January 23, 2012

January Success Story - financialfootprint, LLC

A great success story coming from the WEDnetPA partner - East Stroudsburg University featuring participating company: financialfootprint, LLC.
As a start-up business, credibility is crucial to building a client base.  In our case, establishing a team of competent accredited experts to provide one on one financial education and planning services is central to our value proposition.  For our team to be successful we must have them on a continuous training program updating skills and competencies.

The solution we require does not fit into a generic training prescription.  Our need is to tie personal finance technical knowledge with excellent communication, teaching and technology skills and competencies.  It requires a combination of internal and external training resources coordinated as an employee development program that we call “Personal Finance Guide” University. Our goal is to create the next generation of financial educators that focus on people’s needs, not trying to figure out how to sell a product.

The training curriculum we are advancing with the assistance from WEDnetPA specializes in ensuring (our employees) have baseline up-to-date knowledge of personal finance topics (debt & credit management, investing, insurance and budgeting) along with the social skills to deliver that knowledge to others in a one-on-one environment.  The education program has follow-up modules both as a refresher to original content and advancing key topics like ethics. 

The administrators at WEDnetPA helped us with three things that are now impacting the growth of our business:
  1. Clarifying what the WEDnetPA program can and cannot support
  2. Coaching us on how we can tie in the support to meet our business objectives
  3. Assisting with the application process to make it smooth and simple
The end result is a training curriculum that we otherwise might have struggled to afford and implement.

Friday, December 30, 2011

December Success Story - Miller Welding and Machine Company.

 A great success story coming from the WEDnetPA partner - North Central PA Regional Planning and Development Commission featuring participating company: Miller Welding and Machine Company.
Miller Welding and Machine Company started business over 40 years ago, catering to the mining and lumber industries in Western Pennsylvania, then evolved for decades with the steel industry as its core customer.  In the 1980’s, MWM became integrated in the manufacturing industry by providing customized parts for various industries including construction, plastics and food.  Three generations of Miller’s working all aspects of the business are helping to ensure the growing company’s workforce needs.  Today, more than doubling its size over the last year, MWM employs approximately 400 people.  While a blessing, MWM is now faced with real workforce issues.
Sharon (Drukenbrod) Engle, Director of Human Resources, has many priorities she wants to address this year.  The first is the lack of required skill sets coming through her door.  Two of these needs are skilled machinists and robotic welders.  Her second priority is communication systems/layers of supervision.  Because of the rapid hiring pace, MWM needs to focus on good communication to keep pace with the increased staffing and levels of supervision.  With focus on production, it is easy to forget the basics; how to deal with people, how people learn, how communication flows from one step to the next.  MWM is also focused on the building of an internal career ladder.  Hiring from within, skills are needed to move a person up the ladder.  Despite these challenges, MWM is confident that they will achieve their goals.
Partnering with North Central, Miller Welding has been benefiting from training initiatives funded through the WEDnePA program.  MWM completely believes in this program.  We know that North Central will work with us to address our training needs.  WEDnet is a great addition to the menu of services North Central provides us.  Donna Hottel has been there to support and guide us through the WEDnet process and will work with us to maximize our dollars.  She has truly been an asset to our company and many others in the North Central Region and is always ready and willing to help with anything needed.  She has truly made the WEDnet system user-friendly and easy to understand.