PHOENIX - The Molders and Moldmakers divisions of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. last week introduced their plan to develop a career-development and certification program for injection molders. The program will identify job-related skills and ascertain the knowledge needed to perform job functions, said Ray Sutherland, chairman of the SPI Molders Certification Task Force, who unveiled the plan at the division meeting in Phoenix.
Sutherland, president of Michigan Plastic Products Inc. in Grand Haven, Mich., said that the group chose to focus on certification rather than training because in spite of the many training programs across the country, there is no way to actually measure the outcome of the programs. Once the outcome is defined, training organizations can then determine the best way to get that outcome.
``The program is a blueprint for training,'' said Sutherland.
Drew Fleming, director of the SPI Molders Division, said SPI will work with existing training providers to establish certification benchmarks.
``We don't want to reinvent the wheel,'' he said.
SPI chose CTB/McGraw-Hill of McLean, Va., to develop the study guide and testing materials and administer the program. Testing will be done using a question-and-answer format in conjunction with computer simulation in a performance-based method, said Anne Browning, national accounts manager for CTB/McGraw-Hill.
Fleming said McGraw-Hill will ensure that the test questions and procedures will be ``legally defensible,'' something that is crucial to companies that adopt the program.
Testing is meant to be used as a tool to help molding companies determine skill levels of present or potential employees, and discover where further training might be beneficial.
Testing criteria as well as job descriptions and definitions will be done through various committees made up of volunteers from the industry.
George Freeborn, chairman of the Certification Fundraising Task Force, said cost of the program is expected to be about $800,000. The group now has $80,000 to complete the first phase of the program, which includes a market research study to clarify requirements.
Freeborn said the program has benefits for every plastics industry player, and will require the financial support on an industry-wide basis. He expects support from machinery manufacturers, resin producers, and government programs.
``Molders should realize this is not just a donation, but an investment in their future,'' he said.
Cost to molders who wish to participate in the program has not yet been determined. The first test will be available in September 1996.
``We feel that this is one critical thing we can do for our industry in light of the many problems we have obtaining, training and retaining skilled workers,'' Fleming said.