September 9, 2020
Looking to New Horizons
With the COVID-19 pandemic making some future plans feel uncertain, I took an opposite approach and have recently renewed my goals and plans for the future. At Faith Technologies University, we’ve taken the opportunity to do the same.
I have been with Faith Technologies for five years, as part of the Talent Development team. I had left Arizona to pursue a full-time career as an instructor to help develop new electricians and fill in the gaps left by retiring leaders, exacerbated by a college-bound generation that felt like the skilled trades were too hard and too dirty. Maybe they fell for the lie of being under paid as well. I was promoted from technical training consultant to senior, and then, regional training supervisor and was supporting my team with training and curriculum, teaching all four levels of our apprentice program. In November, my leadership opened a door for me to pursue a new opportunity which included developing CEU classes and exam prep classes for Faith internally, and earlier this year, I was able to teach an exam prep class to an external customer.
For those who don’t know the history of Faith Technologies University, we relocated all apprenticeship training to Faith’s former Appleton office in August of 2017 with new office space, classrooms and room to build out our training labs. We added new training locations such as Tulsa and Atlanta, which made getting to class more convenient for our team members across the U.S. By late 2019, we had invested in a world-class lab to teach programmable logic controllers (PLC), our ICIAN program and other relevant hands-on training.
Then COVID-19 put a damper on everything, and we were told to stay safer at home until further notice. Our leadership team directed us to take advantage of the pause in training to develop new curriculum that would best align with the needs of the company and also our clients. We removed obstacles from trainees getting classified as journeymen or journeywomen and opened doors for more opportunities for apprentices to succeed.
But we were still missing something. All these things are good, and yet how will we deliver the training across the board, during a global pandemic and beyond?
New technologies have allowed us to look at opportunities to help apprentices learn at their own pace and excel or fast track their learning if desired. If additional help is needed, apprentices can take advantage of FTU’s learning advocates to help with understanding the modules and taking exams. This new approach to training delivery allows our learners across the country to get training from subject matter experts within the company who may have only been available to specific regions before. Most classes are now a combination of prerecorded and virtual sessions. We are working to get connected devices into the hands of all learners which will replace books. They will still need a NEC Code book, but we are free to explore new relevant content and allow more flexibility for each student to make decisions positively affecting their career. We will continue to support and train to exam preparations and content that is required for certifications, but can also tailor learning to the learner. Most importantly, we are creating new and better ways for apprentices to work smarter and potentially earn more, while learning the trade and becoming licensed journeypersons for Faith Technologies.
As COVID-19 caused us to discontinue in-person training, rather than pausing training totally, we are blazing new trails and facing the challenge head on. We have all been handed a situation that has presented obstacles, but at Faith Technologies, we have elevated our training to ensure we continue to deliver the best learning opportunities to anyone willing to put forth the effort to succeed.