- October 9, 2019
- Posted by: Jennifer Hobbs
- Category: General
Over the past five (5) years, I have put in a fair amount of time researching workforce development grants for industrial clients I work with using Aladon RCM. What I have found is that there are State workforce development grants available across the Eastern half of the U.S. These programs are easily accessed and the program directors want to fund workforce development (i.e. they want to give away money). I mean they are motivated to help you receive grant funding. Their job is not to hoard money away and make the process burdensome an onerous, but instead they make the process as easy as possible.
Most recently I worked with the State of Arkansas to develop a workforce training grant to teach a group of cement manufactures how they could improve their asset performance and reliability with the use of Aladon Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM2). The grant application process we went through is specific to Arkansas, and while some State’s specifics very, I think what we experienced in Arkansas is typical for most State workforce development grant programs.
The State of Arkansas, through the Labor Department’s Office of Skills Development, is putting Arkansas workers and Arkansas employers first with their OSD Grant program. The OSD Grant program provides dollars for Arkansas workers, through their employers, to receive advanced training in specific technical skills. The OSD grants typically reimburse direct training costs anywhere between 25% to 75%. The most recent grant I helped prepare was to train the workforce in the methods and methodology of Aladon Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM2). The OSD Grant is available to fund a wide range of workforce skills development, but I am excited to say that this is the 3rd such grant that the Arkansas OSD has approved specifically related to Aladon RCM2. Arkansas’ trust in their employer partners and the potential of Aladon RCM2 to benefit both Arkansas workers & employers shows that the OSD is open to innovation to help propel manufacturing excellence in Arkansas.
Aladon Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM2) is a business management & cultural process that organizations use to improve equipment performance. In the training, the organization’s employees are taught a new understanding of how equipment acts and behaves. Chief among this learning is the fact that most industrial equipment fails randomly with respect to its age; in other words, most equipment doesn’t wear out. This is an easy point to state, but it takes a specific learning process to accept this idea and the new paradigm that comes with it. Like, as a facility gets older it is not more likely to break down. That’s a big change from traditional thinking and not a point you can get across in a 45-minute presentation. One manufacture I recently worked with saw an 85% reduction in unscheduled downtime after one Aladon RCM undertaking. What is just as impressive as the improvement, is that the organization has sustained this paradigm shift for over a year and is deploying across their facility.
The steps of the grant process are pretty simple in Arkansas, and this is typical of the other States I have worked with. The steps are:
Step 1 – Make a quick internet search to find the State’s workforce development website;
Step 2 – Find the phone number and call and ask about the process;
Step 3 – Download and complete the on-line form;
Step 4 – E-mail the completed form back;
Step 5 – Answer any questions the office might have about the application;
Step 6 – Make any corrections they suggest;
Step 7 – Receive the approval letter.
I have never received a rejection letter on a grant I have helped apply for. These workforce development grants are an almost given, provided the training does truly benefit workforce development and you follow the instructions given by the office. The instructions are simple, the workforce development office will walk you through completing the grant. If the office finds deficiencies, they tell you what they are and help you correct them. Then the offices look at the grant again, and if need be again, and again until the grant is approved. I am not saying you can get “underwater basket weaving” approved as a leadership development course for a paper mill, but you very will might get “underwater basket weaving” approved if you are a textile manufacture and can show a real business case for the effort. Within reason, the workforce development offices defer to their business partners on what kind of training the partners need to develop employee skills and improve business performance.
This program is propelling the Arkansas workforce well into the 21st century. Making Arkansas a modern cost-effective place to do business. If you have any questions about workforce development grants in Arkansas or your State feel free to contact me.
Strategic Maintenance Reliability
Director of Reliability