Work Force Skill Development

Third-party credentials help bridge predicted hiring gap


This program has grown and now includes certifications for many tools, pertinent to multiple disciplines. For example, current certifications include electrical measurement (multi-meter) and torque (mechanical and electrical), both of which are being offered at Part 147 aircraft maintenance schools. The curriculum is written so that it won’t add hours to a course, as instructors can break it into modules that fit into their existing course material. Students who successfully complete the course leave not only with an A&P license, but also with third-party certificates from a globally recognized brand.

Snap-on has taken a lead role in working collaboratively with educational institutions. Our third-party certifications benefit industry as much as they benefit the individual. A technician who is certified in the use of Snap-on torque instruments is much less likely to over torque a bolt, saving a company time and money.

Third-party certifications can help manufacturers and MRO facilities reduce the time and money they spend managing internal training programs, as long as the certifications are from credible providers. Currently employed technicians and their employers can take advantage of these certifications. Whether it’s a refresher course on proper torque tensioning or one that covers a topic new to the technician, these certifications add value by sharpening skills as well as teaching new techniques.

Third-party certifications benefit the technician by providing proof of transferable skills, improving their chances for employment, and paving the way for higher wages. Employers are more apt to hire someone who has demonstrated an interest in making themselves more valuable to their employer.

Perfect storm for training

In some cases, multiple organizations can work together to create a “perfect storm” for training. As a result of conversations about training requirements with representatives from the renewable energy industry, Snap-on representatives actively engaged wind-industry experts about the specific skill requirements for the next generation of workers. As a result, in 2010, the Ironworkers Union could take advantage of multiple training initiatives packaged together, supporting the wind turbine industry.

The training was held at Francis Tuttle Technology Center, a technical college in Oklahoma City. It included training in tower safety, rescue procedures, and certifications on Snap-on torque instruments. Similar discussions are taking place between representatives from the aviation industry, educational institutions, and companies that can facilitate training.

“A rising tide lifts all boats,” says Roger Tadajewski, executive director for the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3). “Communication between industry and educational institutions allows ‘real-time’ expertise to be shared in a training environment.” NC3 was established to assist with the development and implementation of industry recognized, portable certifications in the transportation, energy, and aviation sectors.

Wichita Area Technical College

Partnerships with technical colleges help industry keep their work force trained at the leading edge of technological advancements. An example of this type of collaboration is the program at the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT) at Wichita Area Technical College. Thanks to partnerships with both local aviation companies and globally recognized corporations, WATC is able to offer its students state-of-the-art training in composites.

Jon Pine, WATC’s program coordinator for Aerostructures and Composites, has worked with local aviation companies in addition to globally recognized corporations. Partnerships with companies like Cessna, Spirit, Bombardier, and Hawker Beechcraft make it possible for WATC to offer its students hands-on training specific to what they will encounter in the workplace.

Hawker Beechcraft donated a Hawker 4000 all-composite fuselage and Spirit donated 787 composite engine cowlings. Snap-on provided all the tooling and tool storage for the Aerostructures Lab and the Composite Lab; the latter has Level-5 tool storage, complete with foam and asset management software, giving students an additional lesson in FOD control systems.

Another example of industry partnering with education is the National Institute of Aviation Research’s (NIAR) relationship with WATC. As NIAR builds test panels for different manufacturers, students at WATC can observe their assembly and learn why they are being built one way and not another. In order to share practices and procedures nondisclosure agreements are typically required.

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