Florida company finds a classroom aid for worker retention

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Compsys, which manufactures preforms for the boating and other industries, has sent about 15 percent of its workforce through the nationally recognized Certified Production Technician course. The course is sponsored by a local economic development corporation in Florida’s Brevard County as a way to promote manufacturing.

Crystal Jacoby, vice president of operations at Melbourne, Fla.-based Compsys, said the course gives employees a better understanding of manufacturing. “It’s been great for entry-level workers, and we also have veteran employees who have gone through the program,” Jacoby told Trade Only Today. “It presents a broad range of information so that everyone gains a better understanding of manufacturing.”

Jacoby went through the program and now has other senior staff in the 10-week course. Taught at Eastern Florida State College, it covers safety, manufacturing techniques, Lean Six Sigma and other topics.

It is being supported by the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, and scholarships are available to Brevard County residents. The EDC sees it as a pathway to entry-level manufacturing jobs, as well as as a resource for advancement in manufacturing.

Jacoby said that every Compsys employee who completes the course gets a “50-cent differential” in pay and becomes “first on the list” for promotions. “Some are now team leaders, and one is a facilities manager,” she said. “We also see the program as good for retention. We’ve been having trouble getting good workers and have found this is a good way to keep them.”

The 56-employee company hopes to continue to have staff take the course. Employees at Structural Composites, its sister company, are also taking the course, Jacoby said. “It’s an ANSII-accredited program, so it’s recognized nationally,” she said. “Employees can have it on their resumes, and it’ll be recognized anywhere.”

“With an 80 percent job placement rate after completion, our CPT course continues to be a vital resource for Brevard’s manufacturing sector,” said Lynda Weatherman, president and CEO of the EDC, in a statement.

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