A new appropriation from the Idaho State Legislature to North Idaho College of $85,000 will be used by NIC’s Workforce Training Center to teach businesses how to set up and manage a Structured On-The-Job Training program.
The appropriation was included as part of the overall state budget approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Butch Otter recently.
According to Dr. Robert Ketchum, Assistant Vice President of Off Campus Workforce and Economic Development, “Structured On-The- Job Training reduces mislearning from peers. It is faster, better, and more cost effective than all other methods of training employees.”
Rep. Frank Henderson of Post Falls, District 5 a member of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, who led the effort to obtain funding said, “I was in the right place at the right time. I saw some money was available and went for it.” He continued “OJT is a critical service we can offer to employers and NIC is set up to do it.”
The appropriation will be used to launch a program that lets the NIC Workforce Training Center teach employees of a business to train others within the organization, a so-called “train the trainer” approach.
“In many businesses a new employee may be expected to ‘learn the job somehow,’ this kind of training can lead to costly mistakes, safety errors and, sometimes, high turnover,” said Ketchum.
Each business participating with NIC will use an Instructor Selection Test (IST) to identify those who have a teaching aptitude. These will be employees who have people skills, excellent communication skills, and are true experts in their fields. The IST is a tool that identifies employees that are most likely to succeed as trainers.
The job training is based on job and task analyses. A built-in evaluation system verifies that the trainees learned the knowledge skills, and the results are documented.
At this time NIC has certified trainers on staff who will serve as master trainers, and will add more as needed.
These trainers teach the most effective explanation, demonstration, and coaching techniques. They focus on quality control and teach the concept of error-free learning. The instructors-in-training develop and teach real tasks in a classroom setting, a practice that will prepare them to teach their fellow employees.
“Customized Training is prepared and excited to offer Structured OJT to community businesses,” noted Sherry Wallis, Director of Customized Training. “Our customers will experience immediate results when they implement this training. Benefits to their organization may include increased employee skills proficiency, improved employee loyalty, and greater production”
Businesses will also benefit by having all the OJT instructors trained the same way. They will be able to teach the skills efficiently and safely, conduct task analysis, and develop performance tests and job aids. The employees learn what they need and why they need it from those best qualified to teach it.
With a Structured On-the-Job Training program in place, cross training hi-tech employees to work in several areas of the company allows it to grow their own leaders.
“This is a wonderful opportunity,” said Ketchum, “we are ready to go.”