By Pat Hayes, CPP
The Industrial Fabrics Association International’s Craftsman Certification programs have been a point of much discussion during the past year. The programs were put on hold due to costs and limited member participation.
IFAI has seen fit to move forward, placing more responsibility on its divisions to not only sponsor and supervise their programs, but develop more efficient means of testing and certification. Several categories were dropped, and those remaining were given a broader scope of coverage.
In support of the concept of improved employee standards, I would like to quote from a letter received by the Tent Rental Division manager, Jan Schieffer, from Ken Keberle of Karl’s Event Rental in Oak Creek, Wis.
“The reason a trade association exists is for the mutual benefit of its members. Whether by presenting a unified image to the market, resisting unfair competition or putting forth beneficial legislation, the purpose of the trade association is to continually improve the business conditions of its various constituents. As jobs become more complex, regulations become more stringent and the marketplace gets more competitive, every tent company must commit itself to being the very best organization it can be. This starts with the men and women who execute the projects. By increasing the education level and professionalism of the tent industry, more members are better off. Increased safety, greater customer satisfaction and improved job site efficiency are primary goals of the Tent Rental Division’s educational program. Education is an ever-changing process. The goal line is always moving, and as an association we cannot afford to be complacent. We must constantly keep raising the bar on our performance”.
To that I say, right on Ken.
As a proponent of employee certification, let me give you my take on the concept. If you have ever been involved in projects related to public spaces and structures, you have no doubt run into AWS D1.2 Welding Standard. If your welders are not AWS certified, you incur the necessity of an independent testing firm being involved before, during and after production of the project. From a time and cost standpoint, having your staff certified just makes financial sense.
The same holds true for other technical services being offered today. Recently, the American Manufacturers Association, a 100,000-member group, announced its endorsement of a National Career Readiness Certification program. This is now their base certification to qualify for any industry covered by that association.
As this relates to our textiles industries, I believe we need to change our view on our employee’s certifiable qualifications. It is no longer an elite group of individuals that are being held in esteem for their measurable qualities, but a need for anyone within your company being able to prove their worth.
Being given a benchmark as a standard of competence is becoming a necessity for all, more than an achievement of a few. Watch for more information on IFAI’s Certification programs and consider having your employee’s participate in training and certification. It’s for the good of your business.