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LANSING, MICH. — The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. has begun sending job-analysis surveys to 6,000 plastics processors to gather data for its worker certification program.

The surveys are part of SPI's attempt to identify job-related processing tasks and the knowledge needed to complete those functions. Survey results will help SPI define key job processes so it can develop a certification exam.

In addition, SPI will use the results to create a content framework — in the form of a training guide — to help college educators develop plastics course curricula, said Drew Fleming, SPI's director of industry work force development.

The guide, which is expected to be available in August, also can be used for in-house training programs, Fleming added during an interview at Michigan Plastics Summit '97 in Lansing.

Washington-based SPI had a deadline of March 31 to sign up 1,500 thermoplastics processors, each from four groups: injection molders, blow molders, extruders and thermoformers. In mid-March, the association was 600 processors short of its goal, but enlisted help to meet its quota.

Survey participants are asked to rank task and knowledge categories on a scale of 0-4 by how important those categories are to their jobs. The categories were recently identified by having groups of SPI molders list their daily job functions during testing in Baltimore, Fleming said.

Task and knowledge categories are grouped under basic process control; preventive and corrective action on primary and secondary equipment; handling, storage, packaging, preservation and delivery of plastics materials; quality assurance and safety. Additional knowledge categories focus on general knowledge, and tools, tooling and equipment.

SPI expects to make the certification test available to the public in May 1998.