One of the River Valley’s most successful manufacturing companies, SEMCO, has discovered the benefits of training its employees through the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton Community Education Center. The condensed, specialized program will cut training time by nearly half for SEMCO employees.
With two of its three production facilities located in Morrilton, SEMCO is a unique indoor environment products manufacturer serving the key disciplines of air distribution, noise abatement, temperature, and humidity control in the commercial and industrial building markets. The 85 full-time employees at the Morrilton plants produce a complete line of desiccant-based products and systems that recover energy, increase ventilation, and control humidity. Products made by SEMCO are essentially the commercial heat and air systems found in shopping malls, schools, arenas and other commercial facilities.
SEMCO partnered with UACCM Workforce Development and Community Education earlier this year to shorten the learning curve from their current three to five year on-the-job training method and accelerate it one to two years in anticipation of increased production by 2015. As with all small businesses, cash flow was a major concern.
UACCM Workforce Development and Community Education Coordinator, Stephanie Ellis, applied for several training grants for 50 to 100 percent funding for SEMCO after learning that the company desired technical training and had difficulty attracting a qualified workforce with the necessary skills to meet production demands. Ellis was successful in her search for funds when she learned that the Arkansas Economic Development Commission would fund the training in full. Ellis said, "We were thrilled when we found that AEDC would fund 100 percent of SEMCO’s training which totaled $25,000. This grant will provide Industrial Control Systems training for 10 employees each receiving 84 hours of non-credit customized instruction."
SEMCO Petit Jean plant manager Charlie Lingo commented on the training as well saying, "This has been an excellent strategic business partnership with UACCM. One of my biggest challenges ... was finding qualified electrical resources in this area.
"Stephanie from UACCM has been a jewel in the whole process from beginning to end," Lingo continued. "The three folks who have already gone through the training are highly complementary of UACCM and the caliber of the instructors. This training from UACCM will accelerate the training curve in electrical and help us meet our goal of growing the business which includes the electrical department. SEMCO Petit Jean has already received benefits from the job profiling process with two great additions to the electrical team."
Curriculum for the training was outlined by UACCM Division Chair of Technical Studies, Robert Keeton, in collaboration with training instructors Robert Tipton and Mike Williams. This instruction will also provide 11 hours of prior learning credit should participants choose to continue their education at UACCM. SEMCO will also receive additional funding from AEDC for job profiling and will begin requiring the Career Readiness Certificate in order to identify and attract qualified applicants.
SEMCO’s training consists of three cohorts. The training is outlined in two phases and includes three modules for each phase. The first cohort began Jan. 28 and concluded May 10. The second and third cohorts begin simultaneously in June and will conclude this fall.
Prior to training, two prospective trainees did not have their GED. UACCM strongly encouraged SEMCO to require this attainment for all trainees. As a result, both SEMCO employees attended UACCM’s Adult Education classes during the evening hours and earned their GEDs.
For more information or to schedule training, contact Stephanie Ellis by calling 501-215-4898 or visit www.uaccm.edu/communityed.
(Megan Reynolds is a staff writer and can be reached by phone at 501-505-1277 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter @meganpreynolds, @LCDonline.)