Establishing ASA University as the standard by which all employees in the PHCP/industrial PVF industry are measured continues to be the focus of the ASA Education Foundation Board of Trustees.

ASA has set a strategic goal that our members’ employees will become the best-educated, best-trained and most professional in the industry by hiring the best, training to the highest standard and retaining an elite workforce. ASA University is the vehicle by which we will achieve this.

Within the next decade, we know our industry will lose more than 50,000 employees through retirement and recruiting, and retaining new employees will be critical to our success. The trustees, who engaged in a productive strategic planning session in suburban Chicago recently, tackled this issue by discussing how ASA University is poised to meet the wave of demand from new employees not familiar with our industry and entering the workforce with a new set of expectations.

For years, we’ve attempted to keep pace with the need for employees by recruiting from within and hiring people that spent their lives in and around this industry. For our success going forward, it will be necessary for us to look beyond the traditional sources of talent and bring new employees on board who have no institutional knowledge of our companies, no experience with our products, but have a capacity to learn and be successful. These demands are overwhelming, but with the help of ASA University we are better positioned to meet these challenges.

The ASA Education Foundation is able to answer our needs due to the support of the industry-built Karl E. Neupert Endowment Fund, which has allowed us to reinvest more than $7 million back into the industry with support, resources and training. ASA University currently delivers more than 29 role-based training tracks for critical job functions, customized training solutions and consulting, more than 275 courses covering a range of topics with more than 33,000 total courses already completed. Much has been accomplished to assist the industry in finding, hiring, training and retaining the best of the best, but there’s still work to be done.

During their meeting in suburban Chicago, the trustees committed to establishing our industry as an “industry of choice,” by supporting the membership to create a new culture of talent management by providing tools and resources to assist in learning, employee succession planning, roadmaps for career pathing and increasing employee engagement. The ability of ASA to expand the capabilities of distributors, manufacturers and reps to attract and retain high-potential employees has never been greater.

As a distributor, I understand the reluctance and fear of implementing a company-wide training program. For so long, we’ve depended upon on-the-job training and having our more experienced employees passing along their knowledge to the new.  We’ve resisted training because we may lose them to a competitor after we spent money to train them. Or we simply hate to admit that we don’t know where to start or what a successful training program looks like.

As we look around at our aging industry, it is important to put aside these fears, invest in the long-term and begin to create a culture of learning within our companies. And now this is easier than ever with the help and support of ASA University, the standard by which all our employees are measured. ASA University continues to grow and provide more value.

For any of us to be successful over the long-term in attracting and retaining the best-trained and more professional people, we have to demonstrate to our current and future employees our commitment to their development and their future.

Jump in and get training. Your future depends on it.