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Adapting to Change to Bring Manufacturing Certifications Online Through New PEAK Learning Center

Angela Leamon is the Director of Operational Excellence and is a manufacturing leadership professional with over 24 years of manufacturing experience, driving continuous improvement opportunities by reducing process variability and cycle time through Six Sigma and Lean methodologies.

Change is Vital for Survival in Today's World

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” We have all heard that saying. But you can teach an old dog new tricks. Said dog just needs motivation, the right opportunity and the resources. The ability to adapt to changing situations is vital for survival in any environment.

On Wednesday, March 11, I facilitated a training class at the Smart Factory Institute. It was a face to face class – all in the same room. At that point, we had replaced shaking hands with elbow bumps or just a nod as we introduced ourselves. The threat of COVID-19 spurred some precautions, but the United States was operating business as semi-usual.

By the end of that week, COVID happened. Clients began emailing or calling to cancel upcoming classes in waves. Potential clients put training plan discussions on hold. Some were due to corporate mandates forbidding any visitors, some were shutting down, while others were still trying to determine next steps for their facilities. Within one week, we lost 90% of our revenue. Here is where the motivation and opportunity are added to this story.

Peak Performance’s business model was based on instructor led, face to face instruction and mentoring. We pride ourselves on finding solutions for our clients and their training needs to upskill incumbent workers. We realized we could not provide viable solutions in our previous format and were motivated to change our offerings and delivery methods.

"Instead of prepping for my next on-site class and going over the material in my head during the drive to my client’s site, I am learning how to make online classes engaging, determining best angles for Zoom calls (do I really look like that?), and tasked with managing implementation of a learning management system that will enable virtual learning. This was the opportunity to evolve, change and survive. Like all of my co-workers, I had to learn new skills and step outside of my comfort zone. Before it was a necessity to change, I didn’t think I could do these things. I was given the motivation and provided an opportunity."

Manufacturing leaders are concerned about a talent shortage, and they should be. The motivation and drive to increase skills for the incumbent worker, who is our primary target audience, is necessary for manufacturing survival due to rapidly changing technology. The days are gone of starting employment with a company and being assigned a job for your whole career that doesn’t require additional training.

The National Association of Manufacturers reported over 500,000 open manufacturing jobs in the last part of 2019. In addition, the millennial generation is not attracted to manufacturing careers, creating a gap. For every four retirees, only one new emergent worker is entering the workforce and that worker is often unskilled. Additionally, 2.6 million baby boomers employed in manufacturing are expected to retire in the next decade, according to Deloitte Insights.

PEAK Learning Center Makes

Incumbent Worker Certifications Easily Attainable

We have found that there is a need for manufacturing certification programs designed specifically for the incumbent worker that will upskill and promote current manufacturing employees, keeping pace with rapidly changing technology and creating a career progression. In the healthcare industry, nurses have a clear and articulated certification program such as a CNA, RN or a NP. We have taken this proven methodology of certification and credentialing and applied it to manufacturing and have developed twelve manufacturing certification programs for specialist, technician and professional levels. These courses and certifications are designed to be stackable.

The certifications and necessary training required to obtain these skills are hosted on a cloud-based Learning Management System called PEAK Learning Center. We invite you to visit and learn more about the opportunities and resources available on this site. You can also find the Peak Learning Center on the Peak Performance Website and click on Peak Learning Center in the menu.

We are all living in a world with a new set of rules and standards that we must learn to adapt to if we want to survive. In the same manner, if incumbent workers stay committed and open to learning new skills, the manufacturing sector will survive as well.

Don't believe the old adage, you actually can teach dogs new tricks.

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