Business Topics

Red Metals Association Launches Ed Program

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MCN Editor Dan Markham

It’s back to school season, and not just for elementary and high school kids.

The Copper and Brass Servicenter Association has rolled out CBSA University, an effort to upgrade its educational offerings to its member companies, and non-members as well.

CBSA University offers three distinct areas of study for metals supply chain members. The Safety section offers 12 distinct courses, touching on subjects as disparate as forklift safety, heat stress, workplace violence and bloodborne pathogens in commercial and light industrial facilities. “It ticks off the requirements for OSHA,” says Liz Novak, director of marketing and communications for the Overland Park, Kansas-based trade group.

Beyond the safety lineup, the other two areas are Onboard Basics and Sales Essentials. Each of those subjects is broken down into three tracks each. Under onboarding, tracks on business basics, productivity and project management are offered. Within the sales focus, tracks are offered on relationship essentials, customer service essentials and persuasion essentials. Each track has two to four courses. The courses are available in both English and Spanish, a recognition of the modern workforce.

The educational offerings have been in the works for several years. “We were originally looking at going with another source for courses, but that wasn’t working out. We had to delay a little, but supply chain disruptions happen a lot,” Novak said.

CBSA chose Biz Library for its courses. Should the demand materialize as employees work through the existing offerings, CBSA University can tap other courses from Biz Library.

“We had done some member surveys to find out what they were having problems with. They said they were having a difficult time recruiting new blood, and once we got them in we weren’t sure what we were doing to get them up to speed. Those were some of the things we heard. That’s how the onboarding basics came about,” Novak says.

The details of each course vary, with some clocking in at 30 minutes to others that stretch out to an hour and a half. But each course is broken down into manageable pieces, so employees can set aside 10-15 minutes to work on one aspect of the course. The system will save the course where the employee leaves off.

The project was designed by the CBSA staff and its Education Committee, headed up by Christy Metals’ Lance Shelton. He’s excited about the new opportunities it will present companies such as his, as they’ll be able to choose which employees are suited for each track the university provides. Also, CBSA’s previous training webinars remain archived for members, “so we’ll consider pairing a brass rod seminar with one of the onboarding basic classes,” he says as an example.

The cost of each track is $199 per employee, with discounts if an employee signs up for more than one 
track. Non-members can also sign up for the courses but at a higher rate.

When an employee finishes a course, the system allows a brief time to offer feedback on the efficacy of the training. That feedback will allow CBSA to tweak the course offerings as time goes on to continually improve the system. “We’re going to continue to keep our finger on the pulse of what our members are looking for, and we’ll continue to add tracks going forward,” Novak says.

Though the rollout was done at the end of July, CBSA will use next spring’s Annual Convention to renew its push among the member companies about the university’s value to distribution companies of all sizes.