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7 SELECTION, TRAINING, AND EDUCATION The introduction of advanced manufacturing technology has significant implications for the selection, training, and education of employees. In qaneral, ANT alter. the criteria used to select workers, tends to raise signifi- cantly the amount of training needed by the work force, and raises issues concerning the relationship between educational institutions and other sources of industrial training. SKI ECTION In the past, the criteria for selecting workers for industrial jobs were not complicated. Companies rarely assessed workers' attitudes and, in come cases, did not assess skills before hiring and assigning them to a job. Seniority played a major role in determining training opportunities and movement into new jobs. Workers will need to learn much that was never before part of the job, such as problem solving in teams. As a result, the new technology requires a selection process that values the ability to learn. Furthermore, the training for ANT jobs needs to start earlier, is Fore intense, and is expensive. Too many resources are wanted if a worker proves not to be capable of the job. It may be risky, therefore, to weigh seniority too heavily in selecting workers for the new jobs. Several of the plants visited have given a great deal of consideration to developing processes for selecting workers for AMT jobs. After going through an elaborate screening process that clarified the high demands of the new jobs, many workers have removed themselves from 51

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52 consideration for the jobs. Examples of the selection processes include the following: At a unionized automobile components plant (M), applicants for skilled jobs had to complete an 8-hour assessment of their technical and interpersonal skills, which was conducted by a local community college. They then took a 4- to 6-hour skill-level inventory. Finally, the applicants attended a family night with spouses ho discuss the program. The IS applicants remaining from an initial 100 were then ranked by seniority. Some of these 45 workers declined the new jobs, and 16 were eventually placed. At a unionized automobile assembly plant (L), selection was based on general ability, seniority, and previous employment with another division of the company. Seniority was the deciding factor only in the event of a tie score on the other dimensions. At a nonunion engine plant (C), the selection process took 8 to 10 hours over 6 to 8 weeks. In addition to orientation and interviews, applicants were placed in simulated problem-solvinq situations and evaluated on how well they responded. An automobile assembly plant (L) would not hire anyone who has not passed ~ standardized test of ability to read, write, and use simple mathematical formulas. The experience of two union plants (L and M) suggests that, by careful planning, union and management can devise innovative ways to give weight to selection criteria other than seniority and gain the confidence of the work force in the fairness of the selection process. If a company gives inadequate attention to how it will select workers for AMT jobs, it will use seniority alone by default. A new high-level job classification was created at several of the sites visited to prevent people trained for the new technology jobs from being bumped by employees with higher seniority. Managers have sought such sanctuaries in existing plants to protect their investment in training a few carefully selected workers. The value of such sanctuaries will decrease as more ANT is introduced in these plants. The investment in training will have been made for wore and more workers, thus reducing the need to single out any particular worker for protection.

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53 If unionized plants must reduce their work forces because of adverse economic conditions, however, seniority will still be used to determine the order of layoff. Another selection problem for existing plants, whether unionized or not, is that companies that establish a policy of promoting from within will limit the pool of workers potentially qualified for AMT jobs. Managers, however, may find that the benefits of such a policy, such as fostering loyalty among workers and reducing turnover, are worth the price of a smaller selection pool. The new selection policies of companies with AMT may have the side benefit of enhancing the mobility of minority and women workers. Often these workers have low seniority and no are excluded from advancement within the plant. Selection practices for AMT that are not based solely on seniority would appear to increase their chances for advancement. INCREASED NEED FOR TRAINING With traditional manufacturing technology, the training of personnel was seldom considered before plans were completed for plant layout and the deployment of machinery. Issues in training were simple and ~traight- forward--where to get it at the lowest cost. Production workers usually were trained informally on the job. Most companies did little formal training, relying on the school system and other institutions, such as the military, to provide the background that workers needed to perform their tanks. Only when a specific new process was initiated or a specific new machine deployed did the company pay for training directly. Normally, the vendor of the equipment trained a few of the company's engineer- ing staff, who then informally trained the workers. Companies did little systematic evaluation of training and had little interest in it beyond the teaching of specific skills needed to perform a necessary task. The introduction of AMT has considerably altered this picture. The knowledge and skills demanded by the deployment of this new equipment have necessitated large-scale formal training programs. This effort has been costly. According to the American Society for Training and Development, U.S. corporations are increasing their spending on technical training of

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54 . . . production workers. Further, training in not confined to the production worker, and companies that have successfully implemented AMT have also directed major efforts at training their managerial and engineering staffs. As AMT changes continuously, constant training is mandatory. Some companies have calculated that the Occupational half-life,. the time in which one-half of worker.' knowledge and skills becomes obsolete, has declined from 7-14 years to 3-5 years. As a result, companies are rapidly establishing new internal training departments and developing the capacity to train their employees continually. Because the implementation of AMT involves significant technical and social innovations, the technical knowledge and social skills of workers, professionals, and managers have a degree of obsolescence. Within every employee population, therefore, are individuals whose skills become obsolete and are not ultimately renovated by training. The committee focused on how workers were learning to use the new technology more than on what was done for the employees who did not. Nonetheless, both issues are important in planning for AMT. The changing content of training for AMT also increases the importance of training. Instead of learning a single skill or how to run one machine, workers must learn to integrate data, troubleshoot problems, and understand the relationships among increasingly integrated pieces of equipment. In brief, they must learn to think about the overall process of production and their role in it. Training requirements remain skills oriented, but the skills are defined more broadly to.include the ability to think about the process, a. well as interpersonal and team skills. These developments have transformed training programs into more general agrees in production strategies and trouble- ~hooting and have raised concern for management about such issues as the general ability of workers to read, write, and communicate. The extensive amount of training has also raised serious questions about the choice of training systems. Maw much of the training should be done by the company-- either in-house or through come other system? How much of the training can be done through the educational system, before people enter the work force? The demands for greater training create significant policy issues at the company and plant levels and for educational and

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ss governmental authorities at the national, state, and local levers. In every plant visited by the committee, training of the work force was an important function that plant and corporate management had to plan and implement care- fully. The ability to resolve some of the training issues that will be discussed below wan ~ major contributor to the successful implementation of AMT. CHANGING SCOPE OF TRAINING Training of Production Workers Companies that have successful! y implemented AMT are far more likely to have major training programs for the production workers who will have direct responsibility for the control, repair, and use of the equipment. Those training programs start earlier, lent longer, and include far more than their predecessors with traditional technology. Some examples found by the committee were the following: In anticipation of introducing computer-based machinery, the manager of an automobile assembly plant (I) established a training center months before the plant was operational. Skilled workers transferring to the facility from other plants received more than a year of training in the use of the equipment, before the plant was constructed. A large automobile components plant (H) established a learning center where at least nix workers on each shift were regularly released from their jobs to watch video tapes on technologies.used in the plant. The center had a library of tapes with recorders for workers to use on their own time at home. The center also conducted regular classes for employees. At another new facility (plant D), all shop employees were required to attend a f ree 3-month training program at a local technical institution before they could be hired. The program was designed to provide a mastery of machining principles, as well as hands-on experience with some of the technology. Program partici- pants were tested and their progress was monitored by the plant management. Upon graduation (held at the plant facility), they were eligible for jobs as they became available .

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56 ~~ In another plant M), where the manufacturer was installing an entire Factory of the future,. all workers selected for that part of the plant underwent an exten- sive skills assessment program and specific technological training, custom designed by a local community college. Initial training for semiskilled workers at a greenfield engine plant (C) included almost a month of familiarization with the product, an overview of the company's operations, and basic economics and Broader Scope of Training mathematics. Companies are training employees not only for work in specific areas of the plant, but also in far more general concepts, such as how a specific machine process fits into the entire plant perspective. Indeed, a good many of the plants visited showed far more concern with basic skills, the ability to read, write, think, and, perhaps most significantly, knowing how to learn. Companies appear to want workers who not only have specific skills, but also will continue to learn as ANT continues to change. At an automobile assembly plant (I), the manager determined that training of production workers in basic communications skills was mandatory if they were to contribute significantly to the weekly quality circle meetings. O An electronics equipment plant (A) extensively assessed the basic skills of its employees to determine what sort of additional training they would require. At an automobile components plant (a), training in basic and interpersonal skills preceded training in specific technical skills. Many of the companies visited by the committee had discovered a need to consider training as a continual process. Most of the maneqers said that they had underestimated the funds and organizational resources needed for the training process. Joint Training of Production and Salaried Employees Perhaps the most striking innovation in the training associated with the new technology is the increasing

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57 overlap of training for managers, engineers, and the work force. Indeed, implementation of the technology imposes new demands on the entire plant, often resulting in more interaction between segments of the work force. Companies in the past have generally permitted production personnel to be trained by the local managers, and professional and managerial staff to be trained at the centralized corporate level. Plants are increasingly using a single training system for production and sala- ried workers, especially skilled workers and engineering personnel. Some of the companies visited were setting compatible training goals for production and salaried workers and training them together. In a few of the plants, engineers were taking courses from the skilled workers. At an automobile components plant (H), engineers and skilled workers were sent together to a vendor's school to be trained in maintaining programmable controllers. The management said, HA few year. ago, we would have never spent money to mend production people to courses.. To stimulate interest in computer literacy, one smaller company (plant J) gave all managers and produc- tion workers the same discount to purchase their own personal computers. An executive of a machine tool company (plant P), at the time of the site visit, believed that 15 percent of the engineering work force would be permanently in training as a result of the adoption of .simultaneous engineering. (wherein the client works with the company to develop a concept into a machine, as opposed to the traditional way of building products from preset specifications). A major machine tool builder (plant P) upgraded skilled workers into programmers, transferring them into management ranks when it introduced a flexible manu- facturing system (FMS) that began to displace workers' machining skills. As their skills became obsolete, the workers were given an opportunity to learn new skills. At an electronics equipment plant (G), managers and owner operators were trained together for 12 weeks to ensure that the machines and the general process of production are understood by the entire plant. To decide what specific type of PMS to purchase, a company (plant K) formed an ~pleeentation tease that included workers, engineers, and managers. They spent

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58 it. . . 2 years learning about flexible manufacturing systems, visiting vendors and installations, and, finally, jointly recommending a system for the company to purchase. 0 At an automobile components plant (M), team- building skills were taught to production and salaried personnel together. Thin cooperative training was part of the building of a new spirit at this older facility. Retaining the Training Investment One result of greater training is the loss of a correspondingly greater investment if workers leave the plant or are laid off. Especially in some of the newer technologies, such as programmable controllers or computer-aided design (CAD), the training invested in workers often gives them greater job mobility. The issue for the company is how to continue to provide the required training without facing the continual threat of work force turnover and consequent further training costs. Means of meeting this challenge include competi- tive pay and working conditions, challenging work, advancement opportunities, a favorable work culture, and, in cases of a unionized work force, a constructive union- management relationship. . INDIVIOU" IMPS IN TWINING Workers are also investing their own time and money to train for AMT jobs. Voluntary enrollments at universities and community colleges near an electronics plant (G) increased 64 percent after the plant announced its future automation plans. O At another plant (A) of the same company, test technician trainees were given 400 hours of training over 20 weeks. Many of the trainees subsequently took courser on their own time from local educational institutions. e Workers who wanted to work at a military vehicle components plant (D) attended a local technical institute tuition-free for ~ 3-month training program required by the plant. These workers, however, invested their time; they were not paid for their 3 nights a week in the program, and there was no guarantee that jobs would be available when they completed the program.

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s9 Many companies reimburse workers for tuition if they receive passing grader in classes at local educational institutions. Time, however, may limit training opportunities more than money does, especially for workers with child-rearing responsibilities outside of work. A significant amount of training for AMT jobs involves evening classes and homework. EDUCATION AND TRAINING SYSTEMS The consensus on the need for more training in basic skills does not extend to the type of training system used. Indeed, the growing concern with training has produced a blizzard of options. Some companies depend on equipment vendors to provide training, while others use community college programs, develop in-house training centers, or work within governmental programs. Most of the larger companies use a variety of basic training systems. The choice of a training system appears to depend on the responsiveness of individual training systems and the amount of pressure to keep costs low in the local plant. Within this mixture of approaches, however, are the following themes: Training programs should be customized. Good programs are designed for specific company needs, including plans for the technology. The effectiveness of training programs should be continually assented. Some of the companies visited reported that training programs were successful only on hit-or-miss basis; managers were unsure how to ensure consistent success. Many of these companies now evaluate their training programs, through surveys of the training given or efforts to detect productivity increases. In plants H and K, these evaluations have resulted in modifications of the company's training system. Most training for AMT includes cros.-training or training in the variety of skills needed to run computer- integrated system.. The number of skills in which workers should be trained, however, is an open question. Some plants rotate workers in lobes others keep them within a particular work area. Good technical training is essential, and companies are willing to pay for it. The successful companies have found no shortcuts to a trained work force and, for specif to key technologies, will spend large amounts of

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60 ; money to train relatively few workers. As one executive put it, alto spend S5, 000 on an inferior training program that creates down-time on a S7 million machine without improving productivity in incorrect thinking.. The need for training raises the issue of the proper mesh between public educational institutions and companies' demands for training. Many public institutions have helped to develop customized training programs for companies. The committee's visits indicate that community colleges have successfully trained workers in the new technologies for local industries. One unresolved issue in how well this format could be used to develop retraining programs for engineers and other professional workers in the new technologies. While the immediate emphasis of many companies has been on retraining their workers, a more general concern exists about the U.S. work force and the skills required for AMI. How much hand.-on training should people have had by the time they apply for entry level jobs? Whose responsibility t the public school, the corporation, the individual) is it to pay for and develop this hand~-on training? Although the answers to these questions are not clear, the ca~mittee's mite visits indicate that employers are less concerned with initial hand.-on training than with the ability of their workers to read, write, and think. An appropriate balance might be for public institutions to continue to provide training in basic skills--reading, writing, computation, and communication skills--while companies train their workers in specific technologies. Attaining the appropriate mesh of basic and specific skills provides a real challenge to vocational school authorities. Instead of developing many specific technical programs for younger students, under the assumption that such training will get them better jobs, vocational schools might be better off promoting the concept that possessing basic skills will place an individual in a company, ready for further, specific training. Too narrow a vocational training could be disadvantageous to many young people seeking AMT job opportunities. In contrast, public institutions that focus on teaching specific technical skills to adult workers already on the job are also meeting a real need