Group PicturesmallBy Bryan McClure, Senior Training Manager at L.P.R. Construction Distance learning for craft training programs continues to gain popularity because it can be implemented around work schedules. Distance learning is not only convenient for the craft professional, but it can lead to significant cost and time savings for the contractor. Our craft instructors at L.P.R. Construction teach the NCCER Ironworking Curriculum using online videoconferencing with craft professionals working on projects throughout the country. The videoconferences are held once a month, last four to six hours and include PowerPoint slides displaying curriculum content. Apprentices can watch the instructor and follow along in their books on site. Instructors can also see and interact with students, and the program allows multiple employees from different states to participate in the same training session. In fact, we have had as many as 28 employees from six different states plugged in to one training session at a time. Every three months, instructors follow up the videoconference and modules with daylong site visits to administer the corresponding NCCER performance profiles and on-the-job training. SAM_1142smallerApprentices who successfully complete the training program can then take the NCCER written assessment at their designated Authorized Assessment Site or at L.P.R.’s home office in Colorado, which is an Accredited Assessment Center. After successful completion of the written assessment, apprentices become NCCER Knowledge Verified (formerly known as Certified Written) and can then take the corresponding Performance Verification to become NCCER Certified Plus. L.P.R. places a premium on hiring and retaining craft professionals who are NCCER Certified Plus because they not only have the knowledge to be journeymen in their profession, but they have also demonstrated the skills required to be considered a journeyman. There are many benefits to distance learning, such as fewer costs and less unproductive time lost due to travel for the instructor. Since training is on site, craft professionals are away from the job for less time. The training also allows instructors to see and interact with students in real time and monitor their understanding throughout the class. Another big advantage is the effectiveness of the trainers because they can connect with their students more frequently than a traditional training system.  With the flexibility of distance learning, we can be in front of more students for shorter periods of time. In addition to the NCCER Ironworking Curriculum, L.P.R. also teaches Welding, Field Safety, Safety Technology, Project Supervision and Mobile Crane Operator from NCCER’s curricula to their apprentices, supervisors and journeymen seeking upgrade training. More than 500 craft professionals have received NCCER training through 42 videoconference classes that have been taught since the distance learning program began this year. We encourage contractors who are seeking flexible training programs for their workforce to consider distance learning as a viable and affordable option. NCCER certDon't forget, beginning Jan. 1, 2015, the name of the NCCER credential "Certified Written" will change to "Knowledge Verified." This change only affects the terminology. The written assessment required to obtain this credential and the value of the credential have not changed. To become Certified Plus, the highest credential offered by NCCER, individuals are encouraged to take the associated craft Performance Verification after becoming Knowledge Verified.

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NCCER develops standardized construction and maintenance curricula and assessments with portable credentials. These credentials are tracked through NCCER’s National Registry which allows organizations and companies to track the qualifications of their craft professionals and/or check the qualifications of possible new hires. The National Registry also assists craft professionals by maintaining their records in a secure database.