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Training for the Next Recession 2020 - 2021

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Training helps you recession proof businesses and jobs.

By Don Fitchett

Training Recession survival Tips


Recession survival tips for Manufacturing Industry:

The methods for US Manufacturing Industry to adjust for the knowledge vacuum caused by retiring baby boomers with training, while dealing with tight training budgets during the next recession 2019 0r 2020.


This article is in response to our survey of 200 companies who requested training quotes but did not follow through with actual training for their employees in last recession 2008-2010. Out of the 50 who had responded to the survey, an amazing 40% indicated training budgets were cut, due to the current US economic decline.


Ironically, the training solutions required to train the new workforce entering the market so they can adequately replace retiring baby boomers, is also an applicable solution to aid manufacturing companies in making their businesses recession proof. For the biggest part of manufacturing history, training was wrongly viewed as an overhead cost, but in recent years the manufacturing industry has come to recognize the great cost savings realized by increased training. Training also increases morale and decreases downtime leading up to the next recession, thus increasing productivity and the bottom line along the way.


But what we saw during the 2008 recession with businesses in recession, we will no doubt see in the upcoming recession 2020. That is employee training being set as a low priority again, making it one of the first budgets to get cut. US Manufacturing industry runs the risk of falling into the old paradox small manufacturers and businesses experienced in the past recession; "You can't get training because budgets are cut, you can't increase the budget because downtime cost has increased due to lack of training". Very similar and parallel to the paradox "You can't get a good job because of lack of training and experience, and you can't get good training and experience because of lack of a good job" that individuals experience all the time, not just during the last recession.


So what I want to offer below are some good tips and solutions to help recession proof businesses, manufacturing and individuals trying to secure their job and/or make more job opportunities available. The first advice is to follow President Obama's lead, that education (training) is a key to increasing and securing our future. His wise approach of slow and steadily building the economy resulted in one of the strongest recession-proof economies we've had in decades. So strong, it has lasted almost 4 years of the next president who ignored all expert advice. The following two rules, we took so long to learn, haven't changed. 'People are still our most important asset', and 'you have to spend money to make money'. How can you budget training, when you do not have that much money available? Below are some solutions and advice:


Recession Training for Manufacturers and Businesses in General ...


1.   Make your training investments count, resulting in the greatest return on your investment (ROI).

            a.   On-Site: Real-world hands-on knowledge transfer by an instructor to small groups on-site, customized to your facility equipment results in the greatest ROI. PLC Training example

            b.   Seminars: The second best option is real-world knowledge transfer by an instructor to student, generic in nature at a public workshop/seminar with a limit of 5-10 attendees per instructor. PLC Training example

            c.   Online Training: Relatively new to the trade professions, is a mix between On-site training, and Seminars (A&B above). If done correctly with live webcast by seasoned instructors with constant Q&A sessions, real-world applications, and simulation software. Some of these online training programs are a mix of A, B &D resulting in the most cost-effective solution and a great compromise. PLC Training example

            d.   Formal Schooling: Tech or trade school knowledge (Mostly textbook, generic in nature, theory, etc. With little hands-on, and real-world application) transferred by an instructor to a class of 10-20 students. Another more cost-effective scholastic educational method like formal schooling (minus the hands-on part), is this PLC Training video Library on DVDs.

           e.   Simulation Software: Real-world simulation allowing students to learn by tutorials, trial and error, without risk to man or machine. Mostly a self-learning through experimentation type training, but can be instructor guided also. PLC Training example

           f.   Book or PowerPoint alone: ("PowerPoint" as it is used here, refers to that type of presentation/software that only displays information, and asks questions on it. A PowerPoint to supplement solutions A-D above is fine.)The least effective of all solutions because they do not address all three learning types (Visual, auditory and kinetic). Also, they are typically theory-based, limited in knowledge transfer with little real-world application association.


2.   If your budget won't allow for everyone to receive onsite Instructor-led training directly, check with your local Private Industry Commission or employment office about receiving federal reimbursement under the Workforce investment act of 1998 which is typically managed and authorized by each state. Reimbursement is often 60%-100%. (Many don't realize, even though the act expired in 2003 and congress couldn't come to an agreement to re-authorize it, president Obama got them to come together and signed the act back into law in 2014.)


33.   if your budget won't allow for everyone to receive onsite instructor led training directly, send one or two to a workshop/seminar as part of a train the trainers program. They will then be expected to return to the facility, and transfer the new knowledge learned to other employees. The transfer will most likely be less than a direct transfer from a seasoned instructor trained to train employees, but much of the knowledge will be transferred.


4.   if your budget won't allow any employees to travel off-site for in-person instructor-led training, consider a good online training course. "good" defined as outlined in training solution 1c above. Either online training or formal schooling (tech./trade school) can be better than one another. Sometimes they are exactly the same, delivered from the same school as two different options. The important thing in deciding to pursue a local trade school solution or an on-line solution, is the student's schedule, local trade school topic availability, and offerings, but more importantly, which one has the best real-world knowledge transfer.


5.   if your training budget is under $1000, consider the only worthwhile training solution left, Computer-based courses supplemented with simulation training software. If you have bright individuals who can "figure anything out", self-study and experimentation learning through simulation training software should show a great ROI because you are not investing that much anyway.


6.   When shopping for training solution providers in today's US manufacturing market, look for Training attributes that increase the ROI. Like real-world, hands-on, only what you need to know, customized for your equipment, extra learning material for continued education, and the best way to perform tasks. (Reliably and Safely).


7.   Want to have the best employees and be able to keep them while lowering operating costs? Create a diverse training program for your employees. Seek instructor-led training for your employees, and encourage online learning opportunities. (Where employees train on their own time without incurring travel cost) and make training simulation software available to them.


A major step to recession-proof businesses, make as many employee training and development options available as possible.


Recession Training for Individuals ...


1.   Make your training investments count, resulting in the greatest return on your investment (ROI). Training delivery methods A-F above, have the same priorities for individuals, with the onsite training most likely not being an option for logical reasons. (Exception might be if you are currently employed and convince your employer to purchase onsite training.)


2.   Additionally, besides following the advice above for manufacturing companies, if possible, check the certificate you will receive for the seminar beforehand, check that it is a professional certificate with CEUs indicated on it. This will help with future employment opportunities as opposed to a black and white photocopied certificate.


3.   Check training material delivered at seminars. Do they give you a manual? Does the manual have instructor notes and/or additional information? Or is it just a bunch of pictures of the PowerPoints? To get the most for your money, you want extra learning material, so you can continue your studies on your own after you leave the seminar. (BIN does)


4.   If you are currently unemployed, or your current employer is currently on its way out of business, you might be strapped for money to pay for training. Ask the company delivering the training if they have a payment plan which will allow you to spread the training cost over several months. (BIN does)


5.   Check with your local employment office asking if there is any government reimbursement or funding available for the type of training you seek.


6.   If travel time or expenses are out of the question, look for online training that meets the standards outlined above under the company advice section 1C (Webcast, instructor available for Q&A, etc.). With online training as well as software-based training, you don't need time off from work, or you can continue to search for work, while you train.


7.   Consider less expensive training solutions, if that is all you can afford, like training simulation software. (A lot of our Training software certificate courses include simulators for free. So you get more for less.)


8.   Want to be the best in your field? Have a better chance of keeping or getting your job? Create a diversified training plan for yourself. Get real-world instructor-led training at seminars, followed by more extensive online courses and keep fresh in your skills with training simulation software.


In summary, if you are involved in the US manufacturing industry, you have no doubt heard the phrase; "Thinking out of the box". Apply this mentality when seeking training for yourself and/or your company. Payments can be broken into monthly installments to better fit within your budget. Look for government assistance with training costs. During the last recession, and with big companies having trouble, job security was at its lowest. This next recession will be no different. Companies should address their employee's concerns in this area, by providing them more training. Individuals should address this concern by seeking more training.


Seek the greatest return on your training investment. Hands-on, real-world training has a greater knowledge transfer per hour of training than textbook learning. Real-world training simulation software delivers more training per dollar than presentation only software. (Be careful when shopping for training software as many claim to be "interactive", where the interactivity is only clicking next screen/slide and asking you questions. True interactive training software simulates real-world activities while being interactive. Smart executive know during a recession one needs to invest more in advertising, not less. The same strategy should apply to the US manufacturing industry's recession training budget. To get your people to work smarter towards lowering operating costs, and increasing competitiveness, training budgets should be increased, not be cut. Help build and secure the future of the US manufacturing industry, help your company, help your selves; Increase your training initiatives.


It is critical that you implement this training advice before the next recession!


Business in Recession 2020 - 2021 Articles :


Case History of The Last Recession Survivors - There was a story available back then by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) about how smart companies during the last recession, used training to survive the recession, some even profited. One could read about Southwest Airlines who actually made a profit during the last recession by utilizing training increases. Also how Viacom attributed not reducing training to making it through the recession when 50% of their revenue is ad money (advertising the other key area companies mistakenly cut during a recession). During a recession, employee morale is a big issue and cost to companies, but training can boost morale and employee confidence. Dell in the article not only used training to boost confidence during the recession but to create a new employee culture! (Read ATD's latest recession article to learn more.)



Don Fitchett  - Business Industrial Network  (BIN) -

About the Author: Don Fitchett founded the activity based costing system called "True Downtime Cost™" (TDC), authored books and speaks at conventions on the topic and is president of BIN. Don has been in the industrial training sector for over two decades, set up training programs around the world, and still conducts training seminars to this day.

Business Industrial Network delivers instructor-led industrial training as well as software and online industrial training.


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