Developing Professional Trainers for Fortune 500 Companies since 1969

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ESF Clients...


United Auto Workers/General Motors (UAW/GM) ...

UAW/GM, at plants such as Rochester Operations, Delco and Delphi, formally began using ESF's ProTrainer competency-based training in February, 1984.

GM-UAW-Delphi ESF has completed the following projects:

UAW/GM ProTrainer Series ...

In 1984, ESF began offering its series of ProTrainer Workshops and Materials through General Motors Education & Training (GM E&T) Division. The ProTrainer series became so successful in many of its plants that when in the late 1990's GM E&T was dissolved by GM Corporate, UAW/GM took over training ESF's courses.

During this long and successful partnership with both the GM E&T's Training Center and UAW/GM, ESF has "professionalized" GM's salaried and hourly trainers both by instructing its training personnel in the ProTrainer series of courses and certifying a select group of trainers to conduct ESF's courses.

GM E&T and UAW/GM contracted with ESF for the following ProTrainer Courses:

  • IDLS-ProTrainer 1
  • Training Needs Analysis (TNA)
  • Interactive Teaching Skills (ITS)
  • Working with Challenging Learners (CL)
  • Developing and Conducting Skills Labs
  • Management of Training (MOT)

UAW-GM Center for Human Resources, Detroit, MI

UAW-GM Center for Human Resources, Detroit, MI

Rochester Products Division Logo

Rochester Products Division (RPD) Training ...

ESF's ProTrainer Training: Lifeblood of New ABC Concept UAW Contract

If the restructuring of production and skilled trade classifications is the heart of the newly ratified contract, then training is the contract's lifeblood. Financed with $4 million from New York State, $5 million from the Rochester Operations budget, and money from GM-UAW Nickel Fund, training will carry the life of the contract to those who must enact it.

"Training is critical, without it there would be no ABC Concept and little chance for us at all," said Mike Edwards, personnel director for Rochester Operations. "What we are trying to do with these contract changes is to develop classifications consistent with our needs. We must address our concepts with structured training, instead of the piecemeal way we have done it over the decades," said Mike Edwards.

Training Provides Flexibility

"We must increase our flexibility, to utilize people's time more efficiently," Edwards adds. "Employees must be capable of doing more than one job. Training will give us the flexibility."

Louise Paxton, supervisor of Employee Development and Training, and Dub Holler, Local 1097 vice president, are the coordinators for Rochester Operations' training programs.

"There is a minor goal and a major goal we have for all of our training," said Holler. "The minor goal is, that every employee knows how to do the job and does it. The major goal is, making our plant more competitive which provides job security."

Paxton and Holler administer the Local Joint Skills Development and Training Funds established in the 1984 GM/UAW Labor agreement.

"We examined the use of the Joint Training Funds, went to other divisions and looked at how they ran their training programs," said Paxton. "We saw some 'Taj Mahal' training centers but could not see their operating philosophies. Without direction, a lot of money is spent unwisely."

Holler added, "We didn't waste a lot of time with people already following the wrong direction."

Competency-Based Training


Holler and Paxton found what they believe is the right direction: competency-based training. "Training is the cornerstone of the ABC Concept," said Holler, "and competency-based learning is the cornerstone for our industrial training."

Rochester Operations formally began competency-based training in February, 1984. Some preparatory schooling, which is not competency based: basic blueprint reading, general math, General Education Diploma (GED), commenced earlier. "Once employees get the basics, we can go on to teach them specific skills," said Paxton. "Now, we have more than 200 employees in the GED preparatory program."

Competency-based training lets employees read work-assignment modules at their own pace, test themselves, re-do sections, and work until they achieve competency. They also get hands-on training in skills labs.

Finally, employees must demonstrate their learned skills to RPD employees schooled as trainers according to an itemized performance checklist.

Holler and Paxton have tailored Rochester Operations' competency-based training after a program developed by consultants Drs. Peter and Mary Esseff.

Training Trainers

"Our competency-based system survives because we teach people how to teach others," said Peter Esseff, "Once you have the teachers/trainers, you can keep yourselves and your training modules updated. You can create new competency-based material."

Joint Effort Creating Training Modules

GM Powertrain

The trainers usually paired, one salaried and one hourly employee per area, work full time creating job specific modules. Using illustrations and conversational English, the booklets break down job sequences into bite-size instructions. Through step, by detailed step, the modules show how to inspect, set-up, run or use equipment, machinery, or programs. The whole process of creating the learning modules is far from complete. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of hours remain honing the modules and the programs.

Trainers produced modules for:

  • Skilled Trades: Assembly, Die Cast, Machining and EGR/Fabrication
  • Skilled Trades, Maintenance & Utilities Trainers: Allen Bradley PLC-3, Texas Instrument TIPM550, Modicom 884, and GMF robots
  • Model Shop: Trigonometry refresher course and a CNC course
  • Tooling: Valenite head, milling machine control, and milling operations

Samples of Competency-based
Training Modules
Samples of Competency-based Training Modules

Worker In Skills Lab section of Competency-based training

Worker In Skills Lab Section of Competency-based Training

When asked how the training program affects hourly promotions, Holler responded "Competency-based training doesn't alter our 63-A (promotion) language," Holler said. "The language basically reads, 'When merit ability, and capacity are equal, seniority will prevail.' Now, we are going to let our competency program help us determine merit, ability and capacity. We will no longer be solely dependent on seniority."

AC-GM-Delco Logo "Some salaried employees will receive similar training," notes Paxton. "Supervisors need this type of training and will get it," Paxton added.

In 1988, AC Spark Plug and Rochester Products Divisions are consolidated into AC Rochester, AC Delco Systems Division.

ESF ProTrainer Certification ...


In the mid-1980's, competency-based training became the heart of part of the locally negotiated UAW contract.
ProTrainer Developers
In 1984, 16 employees in Rochester Operations' Joint Activities and Training Department were certified as GM professional trainer/developers by Dr. Peter Esseff through his company, Educational Systems for the Future®'s ProTrainer Series of instructional programs.

Within a few years, Rochester Operations had 39 certified trainer/developers. The trainers were responsible for creating the competency-based modules that provided job-specific instructions to Rochester Operations employees. These training modules, written and illustrated by AC Rochester employees, were the heart of Rochester Operations' employee on-the-job training programs.
DPSS Technician Training
"Currently there are 703 modules completed," said Tom Eve, Competency-Based Training Coordinator. "More than 350 employees have completed their competency-based training." All assembly operations modules are about 50 to 75 percent complete," added Eve. "By the September/October time frame we should have another 700 or more employees who have completed the competency-based training."

When done, they had created a total of nearly 3000 modules.

Certification Provided by ESF's Competency-Based Process

To earn GM certification as trainer/developer, the employees attended 80 hours of instruction, and had to pass their own version of competency based training: the first module each trainer writes has to be specially validated by an outside consultant, Dr. Peter Esseff. Drs. Peter and Mary Esseff introduced the competency-based process to Rochester Operations in 1984.

Training Is a Major Strategic Advantage

"Our training is one of our major strategic advantages over our competition," said Mike Chapman, plant manager, to the graduation class of trainer/developers. In the next five years you will see just as much change as in the past five years, and training will help us keep up."

Change was also part of the UAW 1097 president Ron Baug's comments to the group: "There are some in this room who would say we should be applauded for our joint activity and training, ...unless we continue to revitalize this joint training effort, we will lose jobs. There is much work to be done, and training is part of the plan."

UAW Solidarity Magazine