by Robin Keller, NWIRC, Training and Strategic Programs Coordinator

Every year we experience the end of lazy summer days and welcome the fall with kids going back to school. Even though you may have graduated, and working in your manufacturing career, the learning never stops. Right now is the perfect time to think about some additional training for yourself and your employees, just as our future manufacturers are getting on the bus with new backpacks and lunch boxes.

Sending employees to educational classes is a great way to show how the company is investing in them and the business itself. You are grooming the next leaders of the company and training them to adhere to the company’s standards, encouraging positive employee engagement, improving self-worth, and growth within their manufacturing career. The return on investment from employee training is endless if the training is consistent.

Here at NWIRC, classes for leaders, human resources, finance, and the shop floor have seen an uptick in recent years. All employees can benefit from additional development with classes about communication, accountability, and coaching, whether a brand new leader or seasoned manager, with improving company culture in mind. Quality-related training for internal auditors focused on ISO 9001, IATF 16949, and AS9100 are necessary for maintaining certifications, but are also important for identifying weak spots in your organization’s operations to develop risk management strategies.

If you’re not exactly sure where to begin with developing your people, a gap analysis is a quick way to identify areas of focus. NWIRC’s no-cost training assessment explores needs for increasing or adding training both across the organization and for a specific job function. Most importantly, it can help you prioritize needs that will bring the biggest impact on productivity, safety, and employee satisfaction. The training plan created builds a roadmap and establishes benchmarks for evaluating training efforts.

There are some consistent themes we’ve seen over time with the training assessments. One is related to communication. Employees want more of it, and they want to be trained on how to be better communicators. Another is leadership development. It happens more often than not, companies put great workers in leadership roles but do not provide them leadership training. It’s often hard for someone to suddenly be put into a managerial role of staff who were fellow coworkers only a few months prior. Our training assessments look at internal challenges that can easily be resolved with more training.

Let’s face it, the manufacturing talent pool is getting smaller and some of the new staff coming in could really use some extra help to become the employees that will take charge, do what it takes to get the job done, and become incredible assets to your company. The skills they will gain with focused training will empower them to deliver better quality of work; and help them understand their roles and responsibilities within the organization.

As students return to the classroom this fall, think about you and your employees’ educational opportunities and the advantage your staff will have when they are called to take on new and challenging tasks in the ever-changing manufacturing environment. Let’s sharpen our pencils,
open that new box of crayons, and hit the books for new and exciting learning opportunities.

Visit for a current training schedule or reach out for customized onsite training at your facility.