Physical Plant has recognized and acted on the importance of training by publishing the most comprehensive training guide that an on-campus department has ever produced. The guide was recently mailed to all Plant employees.
The Learning and Performance team in Physical Plant evaluated the training needs for every position in the department and then identified the appropriate courses to meet those needs. The training is classified in the following four categories for each position: legal/safety courses that are required to meet all legal and safety codes or requirements of the job, Plant-required courses, and recommended and optional courses that provide developmental opportunities and that may be taken to enhance an employee's overall knowledge and/or skill level.
For example, an employee who is a Mail Processor A must take the following three courses to satisfy the legal/safety requirement: Defensive Driving, General Safety Overview, and Postal Regulations for Bulk Mail. Physical Plant-required courses for this position include Communications 101, Diversity Awareness, Introduction to Computers, Physical Plant Computing Environment, Receiving Performance Evaluations, and Working in High-Performing Teams.
Some of the recommended and optional courses include Repetitive Strain Injury Awareness, Time Management, and Leadership and Coaching.
The goal of the department is that during this calendar year, each employee will complete the legal/safety and Physical Plant-required courses. Managers and coaches will help employees select from the recommended and optional courses. The department expects that each employee will spend between 20 and 40 hours per year in training. Training will be scheduled so that there is always appropriate coverage on campus.
Most of the training sessions meet once for an hour or two. Some of the recommended or optional courses are longer.
The training guide gives a description of each of the courses and logistical information such as the date, time, location, presenter and prerequisites for each class. The majority of the presenters are MIT employees.
To develop the guide, training coordinator Laura Lucas and her team talked with employees at all levels in Plant as well as staff in the Environmental Medical Service (EMS) and the Safety Office.
"This guide marks one step in forming a learning environment where employees have the opportunity to gain the skills necessary to succeed in their careers as well as the skills that will move Physical Plant towards its performance goals," Ms. Lucas said.
In addition to Ms. Lucas, the Learning and Performance team includes Kenneth Martin and Claudia Mickelson from EMS; Kathryn Blass from the Safety Office; and David Barber, Gerald Hughes, Lisa St. Croix, Ellen Stordy and Neil Tomlinson from Physical Plant.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 4, 1998.