Content additions to METALFORM EDU such as metal forming lubricants arise from discussions with metal forming subject-matter experts, as well as from survey responses and repackaging of previously formatted training materials, according to King.
“We constantly survey PMA members as to the types of content that they are looking for,” she says. “A few years ago, we transferred all of our metal forming-specific training content from DVDs to METAFORM EDU’s online format, and most recently we transferred the content related to press brake training. New content added this spring included die protection, and by early next year we will have new content on metal forming lubricants. Then, we plan to roll out more focused course programming for marketing and sales.”
Expanded Soft-Skills Training
Another in-the-works METAFORM EDU offering, Express Train, involves expansion of soft-skills training.
“It will include leadership, strategy, project management, lean and Six Sigma, as well as regulatory and OSHA offerings to allow users to become more proactive rather than reactive—providing information to use when OSHA shows up at your door, but also preventive information so that OSHA won’t necessarily show up at all,” King says.
Training in soft skills and foundational skills proves invaluable as users climb the ladder toward leadership positions, according to King.
“Particularly with soft and foundational skills, we want to incorporate in-person and virtual instruction because these formats work well in allowing people to interact with each other, which is a key leadership skill,” she says. “When trying to become a leader, someone can’t just sit online without any interaction practice. Particularly when advancing employees from floor-level positions to team leads, these people may have become quite skilled at their jobs, but this doesn’t mean that they can manage people. We’ll be able to provide such training through Express Train, as well as through PMA’s current Management Development Academy. These offerings provide great opportunities to learn leadership, and even help as refresher courses for current managers.”
Such soft-skills training takes on added performance as new generations take their place in manufacturing settings.
“For example, Generation Z differs from previous generations in what it wants out of life, with social passions, interest in sustainability and beliefs about work culture,” King says. “Express Train and soft-skills training provide good opportunities to learn more about interacting across generations.”
Vetted Training Vendors
Express Train and METAFORM EDU’s other offerings include PMA-produced training as well as that from reliable outside vendors, important to note as the training landscape can be a minefield.
“PMA members, via METALFORM EDU, can receive discounted training through vetted providers, without having to find providers themselves,” King says. “We do the work so that members need not search out potential providers and figure out if these providers are competent and trustworthy. Such programming will be available for onsite learning or virtually.”
Vetting providers is just one more reason to choose METAFORM EDU as a training resource, especially for human resources (HR) and training coordinators from small and midsized manufacturers that form the core of PMA’s membership.
“HR professionals in these businesses are well-versed in compensation and benefits, and in other day-to-day HR functions,” King says. “But regulatory training and workforce development often demand a very different skillset. Thus, training becomes a reactionary approach rather than a well-thought-out strategy. Developing a training program for various career paths in a manufacturing environment becomes a daunting task. This is where workforce development through PMA can help. We can help HR and training professionals at these manufacturers create training paths and overall strategies that incorporate trusted partners such as the National Institute of Metalworking Skills. Concrete training strategies and implementation are key to attracting and retaining talent.
“PMA and METALFORM EDU,” King concludes, “help create learning pathways that pay dividends in so many ways.”
See also: Precision Metalforming Association