BRANCHBURG TOWNSHIP, NJ (Somerset County) – Faced with the impending retirements of essential maintenance technicians and the need to upskill new mechanics and attract new talent, L’Oréal reached out to Raritan Valley Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing program in spring 2021 for help.
The results of that initial request were marked on August 30, when representatives from L’Oréal and RVCC celebrated the successful training of workers in L’Oréal’s Industrial Maintenance Pilot Training Program. The event, which was held at the College’s Workforce Training Center and included a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the L’Oréal Maintenance room there, focused on six L’Oréal mechanics who, as a result of the RVCC partnership, are now skilled as pre-apprentices.
The workers are based at L’Oréal operating companies in Piscataway and Franklin.
“Raritan Valley Community College’s successful, innovative partnership with L’Oréal offers a wonderful example of how we can team with a leading company to train its future workforce. This private-public partnership serves the best interests of L’Oréal, the College, and the community and truly represents the future of higher education,” said Michael J. McDonough, RVCC President.
The Industrial Maintenance Pilot Training Program was developed by a team of educators and industry experts, who spent several months determining program objectives and establishing curriculum based on industry needs, ensuring that the curriculum was up-to-date with industry standards and technologies.
The program required careful planning and coordination between RVCC and L’Oréal Operations in Piscataway and Franklin. The team determined what specific skills and knowledge areas were needed for industrial maintenance in each L’Oréal facility.
The planning team then determined the resources required for the program, including funding, facilities, equipment, and instructional materials. With assistance from the Greater Raritan Workforce Development Board, a government grant was secured to cover tuition costs for the students.
As a result, the six workers—guided by industry expert/educator Robert Gebel—successfully completed 250 contact hours of training at RVCC’s Workforce Training Center. L’Oréal provided assistance with instructional materials, equipment, and training, which focused on such areas as Electrical/Pneumatic/Programmable Logic Controllers; Machining Fundamentals; and OSHA 10.
“Being able to witness these six, recently hired L’Oréal workers upskill and develop professionally has been profoundly rewarding. It has been a pleasure to see all six students flourish in mastering new knowledge, skills, and abilities. The value of this experience goes beyond mere job satisfaction; it is the heartbeat that fuels our passion and commitment to delivering impactful workforce programs,” said Conrad Mercurius, Director of the Center of Advanced Manufacturing at RVCC
Along the way, RVCC Workforce ensured that the training facility was equipped with the necessary tools and equipment to simulate actual industrial maintenance scenarios. In addition, RVCC implemented a system for continuous quality assurance and improvement through pre-and post-assessments; regularly assessed the program’s effectiveness through feedback from students, employers, and industry partners; and identified industry-recognized certifications and credentials upon completion of the training.
As pre-apprentices, the six participants have been introduced to the on-the-job learning required by the apprenticeship. The L’Oréal learners have all completed the pre-apprenticeship requirement and will now become apprentices in the field of industrial maintenance/mechatronics. They will be required to continue their job training, which includes competency assessments in areas identified by L’Oréal to earn journey worker status.
With the pilot program deemed a success, the next group of workers is scheduled to participate in L’Oréal’s Industrial Maintenance Training Program in early 2024. RVCC plans to foster additional collaboration with other industry partners who have identified a similar need to produce highly skilled maintenance professionals, as well as continue its training of local high school students.
For additional information about RVCC’s Advanced Manufacturing program and training partnership opportunities, email Conrad Mercurius at firstname.lastname@example.org.