How to Find Asphalt Training for 2020
BY Sandy Lender
Check out AsphaltPro’s dedicated Partner Courses page to discover more about opportunities to train your crew.
If anything has changed since last year’s installment of asphalt training opportunities, it’s the number of new employees entering the construction workforce. Whether or not these new workers have an agriculture, construction, engineering, mechanical, technical background directly influences the role they can assume in your company.
More often than not, companies like yours are bringing new blood to an industry that needs experienced workers. You’re being tasked with teaching and training basics such as how to grease bearings (see page 60), how to put water in a roller’s tank, how to keep tears and bump out of the mat (see page 14), how to keep your truck drivers on point, and so on. Neglecting to teach any of those lessons because you think a newbie already “gets it,” could be an expensive education for everyone mid-shift.
So far, these are truths you know. You’re living it on the daily. What you need is a way to bring new workers up to speed properly and a way to show new technologies and new equipment to veteran workers. You may also need to get new safety directives woven through the fabric of an entire company while setting up new fleet management recording with one sector of the company. Different needs for different workers means different training in different settings.
One example is CM Labs Simulations out of Montreal, developer of Vortex® training simulators, which announced in early August an update to its Motor Grader Simulator Training Pack wherein all operating metrics during training exercises are tracked and tallied into a single score that updates in real time. Companies like Volvo Construction Equipment, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, and Deere & Company, Moline, Illinois, also offer virtual experience simulators to help new workers get a “feel” for being in the cab. The good news is most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have some form of training to help you. Top Quality Paving & Training Proprietor John Ball shared that the team at Caterpillar has a CD-ROM to help paver operators figure out their new microprocessor and control panel on paving equipment. Everyone from software providers to heavy equipment dealers have some kind of webinar or sit-down training or hands-on training where you can learn the product you’ve just bought.
Now, if you’re staring at a 15-year-old paver with an 18-year-old who wants to join your team, you have some decisions to make. How will you train this young man?
Companies like Roadtec, listed in the sidebar, offer multi-day paving schools where he can learn every step. You can take him to World of Asphalt or, in the case of 2020, CONEXPO-CON/AGG, and make sure he has his butt in a chair in one of the paving workshops/seminars. You can go to your state asphalt pavement association lunch-and-learn programs or annual conference. If your state doesn’t offer that kind of programming, you can travel to the Rocky Mountain Asphalt Conference and Equipment Show (RMACES) in Denver for an amazing array of learning. Keep in mind, these are events you travel to, so there are extra expenses involved, of course. But your crewmembers get to interact with the instructors and see equipment that they can point to and ask questions about. Immersive learning can take place there.
I must also suggest the Asphalt Paving 101 online course that AsphaltPro magazine put together with industry consultant Ball. This course is back-to-basics and entry level learning that goes over everything from the different job responsibilities on a project to how to set up the paver for takeoff. It’s truly a 101 type of course, but it’s one that you don’t have to travel to take. You purchase it and get to watch/take it again and again with your crewmembers so everyone can fully grasp the lessons before moving on to the next lesson. In other words, it’s self-directed—and driven at whatever pace you want.
Getting back to the training directory concept here, you have options in this industry to get specific training from OEMs, dealers, distributors and so on. Whether the OEM has a facility built to provide classroom training or brings the training to you at your site, all you have to do is call and ask. For example, Meeker Equipment Co., Belleville, Pennsylvania, doesn’t have a formal training facility or formal training schedule, but does have experienced employees who will go to a plant location to help plant managers. TransTech Systems Inc., Latham, New York, doesn’t have a formal training schedule, but hosts customers at its facility for its TransTech Density Clinic to assist with non-nuclear density gauge set-up and training for best rolling patterns.
Look at your OEM’s website to see what training they can offer individually or in a group setting. You may be surprised by the cost-effectiveness of taking your crew to a dealer’s day of training.
Throughout the year, follow the “Training” department of AsphaltPro magazine for paving, compaction, production and other tips, implementable ideas for your crews, and leads on training opportunities. You can also subscribe to the free monthly Training Solutions eNewsletter, which offers an actionable training item on the first Thursday of each month. Visit here to sign up for that.
In the meantime, use the following pages of this year’s AsphaltPro Training Directory to gather a few more ideas for bringing new workers up to speed.
Where Can I Train My Asphalt Employees?
Many companies offer training to their customers if you call and request help. Some OEMs will provide training to individuals and crews who are not yet customers. Here are a handful of companies that responded to our request for information on their programs or who have advertised their training schools in our pages. If you visit this article on the asphaltpro.com, you can click on the advertisers’ live links with ease. Let them know you learned of their opportunities in AsphaltPro Magazine. We anticipate next year’s listing will be more robust as OEMs see the value readers place on finding them in a reputable directory.
AsphaltPro Magazine hosts the Asphalt Paving 101 online training course for a fee to learn in the areas of paving/compaction, QC/QA in the field, pavement maintenance, and heavy equipment maintenance. Visit www.TheAsphaltPro.com.
Astec hosts the 2020 Astec Customer Schools for a fee to learn in the areas of production/plant controls, plant equipment maintenance. Visit here for more information.
Bergkamp Inc. hosts Bergkamp Technical Solutions for a fee to learn in the areas of pavement maintenance. Visit here for more information.
CEI hosts the CEI Service Training Seminars for a fee to learn in the areas of production/plant controls and plant equipment maintenance. Visit here for more information.
The Clarence Richard Co. hosts the Asphalt Plant Operation Workshop for a fee to learn in the areas of production/plant controls and plant equipment maintenance. Visit here for more information.
Gencor hosts the Gencor University Training Center for a fee to learn in the areas of production/plant controls and plant equipment maintenance. Visit here for more information.
Martin Engineering hosts Martin Engineering FOUNDATIONS™ department for a fee to learn in the area of production/plant controls and plant equipment maintenance. Visit here for more information.
Roadtec hosts the Paving Professionals Workshop for a fee to learn in the areas of paving/compaction, pavement maintenance, and heavy equipment maintenance. Visit here for more information.
Stansteel/Hotmix Parts & Service hosts Hotmix University for a fee to learn in the areas of production/plant controls and plant equipment maintenance. Visit here for more information.
Top Quality Paving & Training hosts training at the contractor’s site for a fee to learn in the areas of paving/compaction, pavement maintenance, QC/QA in the field, and heavy equipment maintenance. Visit here for more information.
Wirtgen America Inc. hosts the Center for Training and Technology (CTT) for a fee to learn in the areas of production/plant controls, paving/compaction, QC/QA in the field, pavement maintenance, and heavy equipment maintenance. Visit here for more information.