Bill Paulus

New training opportunities

Dear FM,

Training is an important part of our continuous improvement as an FM department, as well as for our individual development. You have also told us in past employee engagement surveys your desire for more opportunities for learning and growth. While we have many programs in place already, today I’m pleased to share two new opportunities.   

University Services Enhancement Program (USEP)
As some of you know, we’ve had a challenge finding new mechanics to replace our talented mechanics who have retired or will be retiring in the next few years. In order to promote from within when possible, we are offering a new tuition assistance program for Teamster represented employees who want to pursue a career path as a mechanic. Our new University Services Enhancement Program (USEP) is designed to help current Twin Cities campus Teamster represented employees pursue the training and 2-year degree necessary to become an HVAC mechanic. These degrees are offered by five local technical and community colleges. Eligible employees can cut costs in half through tuition assistance (up to $1,250/semester) from USEP. Once employees have received their degree, they will meet the minimum requirements for applying for mechanic openings to fill these critical positions. We will have more information on the nuts and bolts of this program in the next few days. Thanks to Curt Holewa, Tony Gutterman and Dave Hutton for their efforts to get this program in place.

U-Services Training and Professional Development Academy
We have also been working hard to continue creating our own in-house training classes. I mentioned in the Roadshow meetings last fall that we hired Lolita Johnson as a Training and Development Consultant in US-HR. The new process involves reviewing the job descriptions and meeting with employees to better understand their work activities and training needs. Starting with the mechanic II position, Lolita has been partnering with FM mechanics and supervisors to develop a series of training classes aimed at optimizing employee technical skills. Hats off to Paul Thorvaldson, John Cook, Joel Wagner, and Jay Denny, who have served as the subject matter experts to develop the training.  

We are excited to begin offering the following 3 classes over the next few months:  

  1. Level II Mechanical Drawings
  2. Level II HVAC
  3. Level II Technical Water Systems

These are initially going to be rolled out to mechanic II employees, and others may be added later as appropriate. Details on dates, times and places will be available very soon. We are working on 3 additional courses for mech II’s including: Air System Troubleshooting, Customer Relations, and Internal Business Processes. Once materials are finalized we will evaluate if these courses are relevant for other employees. We will next focus on B&G supervisors for evaluation of training needs and course development.

Reviewing training needs by position in a comprehensive way takes months to complete. I will keep you posted on our focus and status as we progress over the next several years. I am pleased that we can develop training tailor-made to FM’s needs in addition to the already excelling training programs we have in place today.

Have a great week.

Weekly Notes

  1. Jean Quam, Dean of the College of Education and Human Development, wrote a note of gratitude to the Burton Hall second shift crew saying “They have done a great job of cleaning our building and waxing the floors. . .  I wanted you to know that these team members do a wonderful job in Burton and I am not the only one who appreciates their hard work.” Watch for a photo of the crew on our digital signs and FM Intranet later this week.  

  1. Ruthann Manlet was just installed as President-Elect of APPA.  See a profile on Ruthann here.

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