WASHINGTON—NIBA's new president, John Grasmeyer, is pushing forward on plans to launch the association's digital certification and training program.
The executive vice president of Behabelt USA talked about the program during the expo portion of the annual meeting, held recently in Washington.
Bringing the developed program to the wider membership is one of the two most important goals for his term as president, he said.
"That's definitely something we've been working on for numbers of years," Grasmeyer said. "I'm passionate about it. It's taken a lot of work to get it to the state where it's at. That'll be a great success if we launch that and get some traction with that next year."
The certification and education program began as a vision within NIBA about six years ago, and ramped up when the group was in the process of looking for a new management company, he said. NIBA saw other associations reaching success with similar programs and realized it was something that could be important to members.
NIBA currently has five online certification training modules that are in the final stages of testing. The plan is to go back to manufacturers over the next few months to encourage commitment to endorsing and supporting the product, Grasmeyer said. The modules allow employers to bring their employees up to a certain level of training all at once, from a brand new hire to the employee who's been on the line for a year.
"We think it brings some benefits to them because they can make it a prerequisite to go to one of these certification modules. They don't have to cover it in their training," he said.
The digital modules involve a PowerPoint presentation with a voiceover followed by a multiple choice test covering the material. Passing employees receive a certification of completion for those programs, NIBA Executive Director Michael Battaglia said. They cover topics including belt selection, fabrics and compounds. NIBA also teamed up with key manufacturers to bring in approved images to create consistency for employees.
Grasmeyer has been part of the committees and boards watching the program develop years ago, and said it's exciting to see it come together. NIBA doesn't do any benchmarking, and members have been protective of information.
"This will be a great way to say, 'We're in this together,' " Grasmeyer said.
The modules will start off with the basics of belting to ensure that new employees and those with some experience get the same start in the industry, he said. If employers can get some of the simple basics out of the way as a prerequisite for more advanced training, it will benefit the member company and the industry as a whole.
NIBA's Education Committee is in the process of working on the next versions of the modules and working on expanding the total number of completed ones, he said. The goal is to have 10 offered by the end of next year.
NIBA will keep the modules open and available, not behind a member wall, Battaglia said. Pricing still is being determined, but will provide discounts for those with multiple employees involved.
The second major goal for Grasmeyer's term is to ease the transition into NIBA's next three-year strategic plan, he said. The association is finishing the final year of its current plan, and beginning development and discussion of the next.
"It's making sure we get the foundation for the three-year strategies implemented at the committee level as a foundation, so we don't get diluted after year two or year three," Grasmeyer said. "That's always very important to have that first year to make sure those are priorities."