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Technician Development
Cross-training and skill upgrades and renewal for a large research institution with hundreds of technicians. Included recruiting new staff, re-training existing staff and transferring knowledge from retiring senior staff.


Situation: A major technical organization needed to upgrade workforce skills and create career and development paths for an aging technician force with many years’ experience. Existing techs had largely learned their technical skills on the job in one discipline. They needed more formal training and versatility to function effectively in a rapidly changing and more demanding workplace. Technicians were frustrated and desired more career opportunities and clearly identified career paths.

Action: The Learning Consortium worked with a council of master technicians and in-house Human Resources professionals to create a complete competency-based performance system. The popular program included
  • Competency models for seven types of technicians at various levels
  • A process for assessment and reclassification
  • Four custom associates’ degrees created with a local community college
    • granted credit for in-house training courses
    • granted credit for skill assessments for credit (test outs)
    • contained policy guidelines for employee attendance, release time and tuition reimbursement
  • Career paths and promotional guidelines
  • Performance management tools
  • Recruitment and selection tools to assure consistency with desired competencies
  • Award and recognition systems and procedures
Results: The organization was able to raise the performance bar for existing employees in a positive, popular, and productive way with guidelines that rectified inequities and brought consistency and opportunity. The custom associates’ degrees attracted new employees for a candidate pool and assisted with recruiting as well as providing opportunity for existing employees. Many experienced technicians took advantage of the program to renew old skills and develop new ones. Complaints declined and morale improved within the organization.

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