Eric Bowersox, BAP's Director of Operations, reflects on the benefits of continuing education and workforce development.

 

“Train your employees and they might leave. Don’t train them and they might stay.”

I do not recall when I first heard this statement, but it is something that I have never forgotten.

The lifeblood of any organization is its people. The people that show up to work and perform their tasks day-in and day-out are what allow every company to stay in operation. With the addition of training to a dedicated workforce, a company can go from merely operating, to excelling.

In the injection molding industry, it is common to find yourself in a company with people who never intended to work in injection molding, as was the case in other organizations where I have been employed and have worked with. These employees often start at an entry-level position, and through hard work and dedication, they climb their way up the ladder. At every step along the way, there is a clear opportunity for training.

Here at Beaumont Advanced Processing (BAP), things were different. I found myself working with a group in which 95% of the employees had received formal secondary education focused on injection molding. Though this had immense benefits, it also made it far too easy to lose sight of ongoing training opportunities. A dedicated focus on workforce development was easily forgotten because we were operating efficiently.

Fortunately, John Beaumont, the founder of our company, never lost track of his desire to educate. He challenged the managers of his company to never act as if we were done learning, because that is the point we would stop progressing. He recognized that if we weren’t investing in educating our employees, it would be a matter of time until the company was merely functioning within the industry and no longer leading it.

His key point to our manager group was simple: we offer this training to the industry and we speak of the need for companies to educate their workforce. Why should we act any differently?

When John presented us with this challenge, we made the decision to invest the time and energy to place several of our employees in the Plastics Technology and Engineering (PTE) Program through our sister company the American Injection Molding (AIM) Institute.

The PTE program requires a year-long commitment by both the employer and the employee. It is not an easy program and is not for the faint of heart. It requires several classroom hours in addition to weekly reviews and homework assignments.

Several of BAP’s employees have now completed this program. Every one of the employees which were selected had already received formal education at a university level for injection molding. In the early stages, some may have felt this additional education was not necessary; however, it did not take long for the benefits to become evident. New knowledge was gained, and old knowledge was dusted off.

Training our leadership team provided an instant return of our investment and was well worth the short-term challenges.

As a company, we believe that we cannot afford to stop learning. By continuing to focus on employee development and training opportunities, we know that we will continue to play a leading role in the injection molding industry for years to come.

To learn more about the American Injection Molding Institute, visit www.aim.institute.

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