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CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges
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CBTC Technical Recruiting and Training Challenges

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  • 1. “The Human Element—Part 2” Training & Education Challenges for CBTC/PTC Implementations M. J. quot;Markquot; Engels Railroad-Transit Signal Design Principal ESCORRT LLC Fond du Lac, Wisc. USA http://www.escorrtllc.com http://www.linkedin.com/in/mjengels
  • 2. “In The Beginning…”
  • 3. …and on the forty-sixth day…
  • 4. …and then…
  • 5. Today’s Topics • The Road Less Travelled • The View From Here • The Path Ahead
  • 6. The Road Less Travelled
  • 7. The Road Less Travelled • Educational Background • Exposure to the Railroad Industry • Entrance into C&S Career Path
  • 8. The Road Less Travelled: Educational Background • Lake Superior State University – Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (Accredited by TAC-ABET) – Bachelors of Science • Electrical Engineering Technology – Associates of Science • Computer Engineering Technology – Other Coursework • CAD design • PLC programming • Michigan Engineer-In-Training Exam Passed
  • 9. The Road Less Travelled: Experience in Allied Fields • Manufacturing (Michigan) • Embedded Systems Development – Automotive Press Rooms – Medical Devices • Field Service Technician • Verification Systems Engineer – Coordination with skilled trades – Design Validation Testing – Field Updates – Manual & Automated Systems » PLC program files » “Black Box” » CAD design files » “White Box” • Verification Systems Manager – Automotive Assembly Tooling – Telephony • Systems Engineer – PLC program development • Verification Systems Engineer – CAD file creation – Startup telco OEM » Engine assembly » Manufacturing work cells – Avionics • Verification Systems Engineer – Medical Devices (Minnesota) • Engineering Project Manager • Systems Engineer – Mainframe System Support
  • 10. The Road Less Travelled: Exposure to the Railroad Industry • Father’s hardware store – Next to Class I secondary main line • Ride-along with track inspector in hi-rail truck • Ride-along in caboose with local crew – Rule violations, but tolerated – “Set the hook” • General “Railfanning” – Photography various Great Lakes locations (US, Canada) – College Tour for SAE chapter of Algoma Central Railway roundhouse & shops – Ham Radio License • Tourist / Museum Railroad Operations – T&E service – Mechanical Dept. • Equipment Operator – Boom truck, Fork Lift, Front End Loader » CDL and operating experience from college summer jobs • Locomotive Wiring – Combining railroading interests with electrical education & experience
  • 11. The Road Less Travelled: Entrance into C&S Career Path • Tourist / Museum → Short Line / Industrial – “Utility Worker” • T&E • MoW • Mechanical • Loss of Engineering Work → Job Search – Class I T&E (no offers) – Short Line, Regional T&E (no offers) – Class I signal department (hired) • Commercial Driver’s License • Recent electrical experience • Promotion potential
  • 12. The Road Less Travelled: C&S Career Path Continues • Class I signalman – Pole Line Elimination – “Flasher gang” as necessary – Furloughing began • Another Class I hiring signalmen in area – Leveraged network (“know people who know people”) – Discussed technician’s job during interview – Out-of-town gang with “old school” foreman – Bid tech’s job at earliest possible opportunity
  • 13. The Road Less Travelled: C&S Career Path Continues • Class I signal electronics technician – Required written exam for bid – “Monthly rated” (salaried, overtime Sundays) – Supported • Six maintainers • One signal inspector (testman) • One signal construction gang • Territory profile – Double main line with CTC – Between 50-60 trains per day – Nearly 90 miles end-to-end – Located in two states
  • 14. The Road Less Travelled: C&S Career Path Continues • Class I signal & communications supervisor – Responsible for coordinating, coaching, testing • 10 signal maintainers • 2 relief signal maintainers • 3 communications technicians • 2 signal testmen (inspectors) • One signal construction gang • Territory profile – Single and double main line with CTC, two branch lines – Between 50-60 trains per day – Over 150 miles end-to-end – Located in one state
  • 15. The Road Less Travelled: C&S Career Path Continues • Work for engineering firms • Two six-month engagements – Perform QA review of signal circuit plans • Highway-rail grade crossing warning systems • Signal system upgrades • Hump yard communication systems – Systems assessment, preliminary engineering
  • 16. The Road Less Travelled: C&S Career Path Today Self-employed (ESCORRT LLC) Signal Design Principal – Client base – Industry Affiliations • railroads • AREMA – Committee 36 • transit operators (Highway-Rail Grade • engineering firms Crossing Warning • government agencies Systems) – Committee 37 (Signal Systems) – C&S Services – Committee 39 • Systems design (Positive Train Control) • Maintenance planning – quot;Introduction to Practical Railway Engineeringquot; • Construction QA seminar delivery team • Contract management • Training of field forces • Operation Lifesaver – volunteer presenter
  • 17. The View From Here
  • 18. The View From Here • Challenges in Recruitment • Challenges in Training • Challenges in Retention
  • 19. The View From Here : Challenges in Recruitment • “An Invisible Industry” • Experience, training from other industries – Post WWII • Certifications • 1 in 4 employed ISCET ETA – Today • nearing 1 in 40 NCSA/ESPA Microsoft – “You do what? Where? • Licensing WHY?” – FCC – NEC – Inside work – Daylight hours – Predictable work schedule – Frequent relocation not required
  • 20. The View From Here : Challenges in Recruitment (cont.) • The work doesn’t “sell well” – Outside, all times of day, all types of weather – On call (sometimes 24 / 7 / 365) – Versatility requirements • Drive trucks • Climb poles How many willing and able to do all these? • Dig trenches • Read meters • Shoot trouble – Industries facing similar attrition issue • Telcos • Utilities
  • 21. The View From Here : Challenges in Training • Railroad Signaling is unique – No other electrical discipline quite like it – Required 6-8 week apprenticeship training – Some positions filled by people “off the street” • Training Barriers (peers, supervisors) – “It’s not my job to teach you yours!” – “You knew that when you bid the job!” • If I teach you what I know, they won’t need me! • I don’t know myself, but I’m not telling YOU that! – “Here’s the keys and cell phone--go get ‘em, killer!” • Don’t get hurt! • Don’t screw up!
  • 22. The View From Here : Challenges in Training (cont.) • Training materials sparse – Vendor manuals • out of date • too general – Required 6-8 week apprenticeship training – Some positions filled by “off the street” people • Equipment vendors tech support of mixed quality – “Like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get!” – Really good techs are promoted or leave company • Frequently encounter techs with little experience • May turn out to be “page flippers”
  • 23. The View From Here : Challenges in Training (cont.) • Classroom and field training shortcomings – Timeliness • Sometimes comes long before employee can apply knowledge – “Use it or lose it!” • Sometimes occurs after an employee needs it! • Creates scheduling headaches for supervisors – If maintainer, adjoining maintainers do at least 1-1/2 times more work – Relief maintainer may be used, but only during non-vacation periods – If gang job, may leave foreman short resources for key tasks – Subject Matter • Wide variety of signal circuits still in service – Difficult, if not impossible to train on all types of equipment – Obsolescence • Changing technologies will require continual refresher courses in future – Limitations of practicality • Shortage of parts available to build reliable test/training systems • How many maintainers CAN fit into an 8’x8’ house, anyway?
  • 24. The View From Here : Challenges in Training (cont.) • “Non-traditional” training needs – Not just “old heads”, but new hires too – Computer technology • High-speed Internet connectivity • Email • Acrobat • “Dumb Terminal” • Testing and recordkeeping – Laptop – PDA – Database query – Configuration Management – Risk Assessment – Defect Reporting – Revision Control – Validation/Verification – Safety Plan (railroad, product)
  • 25. The View From Here : Challenges in Training (cont.) • Training programs required by FRA for future implementations – 49 CFR 236.921 • Training and qualification program, general – 49 CFR 236.923 • Task analysis and basic requirements – 49 CFR 236.925 • Training specific to control office personnel – In conjunction with 49 CFR 217 requirements – 49 CFR 236.927 • Training specific to locomotive engineers… – In conjunction with 49 CFR 240 requirements – 49 CFR 236.929 • Training specific to roadway workers – In conjunction with 49 CFR 214 requirements
  • 26. The View From Here : Challenges in Retention • Frequent relocation – Craft • Protecting seniority (forced to bid) • Exercising seniority (“bumping”) • Next job may be down the road or halfway across the country • Distinct possibility of numerous relocations given low seniority – Management • Force-assigned as determined by carrier • May be lateral move or punitive assignment • Those with options may exercise them – Back to the craft – Pursue outside opportunities
  • 27. The View From Here : Challenges in Retention (cont.) • “Where do you want to go today?” – On the gang • Variable work schedules from gang to gang – 4 on / 3 off – 8 on / 6 off – 5 on / 2 off • Possible drive up to 8-10 hours ONE WAY to reach hotel! • Per diems may not account for high-cost areas – Maintainer • Frequently required to live within certain distance of territory • UNPAID move may be required for family • May elect to live in hotel or apartment, but meals and lodging not always paid by carrier
  • 28. The View From Here : Challenges in Retention (cont.) • “Pressure cooker” culture – Fear • Don’t get hurt • Don’t screw up • If you do either, you must have broken a rule! • “Fair and impartial investigation” – Frequently neither! • Only guaranteed way to avoid is to do nothing! – The Trouble Call • Learn what you’re made of…best training on the planet • Guaranteed to be during: – Dead of night (“2 AM”) » Blowing Snow » Driving Rain » Dense Fog • Difficult to maintain family commitments – Birthday parties – Ball games – Dance recitals • Clinical studies underway regarding work-rest cycles and fatigue
  • 29. The View From Here : Challenges in Retention (cont.) • “Pressure cooker” culture – Relentless (24 x 7 x 365) • Some in craft are salaried • Having territory with lots of trouble calls pays same as one with few • Reliability of signal system frequently outside signal department influence – Soggy ballast (poor drainage) – Insulated joint breakdown (bad ties) – “track light on” or “island circuit down” (operating crew errors) – Maintenance of systems not regulated by FRA eats up “time” (yard switches, control panels) • When systems in trouble, EVERYONE’s phone rings – Job descriptions mean little – Everyone with a truck who hasn’t “hog-lawed” is fair game
  • 30. The View From Here : Challenges in Retention (cont.) • “Pressure cooker” culture – The dreaded “efficiency test” • Required by FRA – Demonstrates rules compliance by labor – Demonstrates rules enforcement by management • Not fun for either party (usually) – If used in wrong manner, promotes culture of fear – Senior management sets ET quotas for front line supervisors » Other responsibilities not mitigated » Failure quotas not formalized, but do exist » If everyone passes, then supervisor not doing job right » But what if everyone is indeed working safe?
  • 31. The View From Here : Challenges in Retention (cont.)
  • 32. The Path Ahead
  • 33. The Path Ahead • Enhancing Recruitment • Enhancing Training • Enhancing Retention
  • 34. The Path Ahead: Enhancing Recruitment • Railroads / Transits enjoy advantages – New hires • More computer literate • More able to work together in teams – Skilled trades availability in certain locations • Michigan / Indiana / Ohio (auto industry downturns) • Florida / Arizona / California (housing market busts) – No longer an “invisible industry” • (Positive) media coverage, advertising on History Channel, CNN, MSNBC, etc. • National elected officials have strong industry ties
  • 35. The Path Ahead: Enhancing Recruitment (cont.) • Develop recognition of licenses / certifications outside of our industry – “CLEP out” of first week of signal school – Give incentive for not attending • Work with labor to promote and offer – More inside work – More frequent daylight hours – More predictable work schedules – Fewer circumstances requiring relocation
  • 36. The Path Ahead: Enhancing Recruitment (cont.) • Embrace communities of individuals with affinity / passion for industry, technologies – Railfans (with careful screening) • Trains Magazine – Ham Radio Operators • QST • CQ – Electronics Hobbyists • Nuts & Volts • MAKE Magazine
  • 37. The Path Ahead: Enhancing Training • Craft • Management “structured progression” “structured progression” – Assistant signalman – Hire from craft, not street! • Can’t find ‘em, build ‘em! – Signalman – Recognize unique Signal & – Assistant maintainer Communications roles – Maintainer – Asst. supervisor FIRST! – Craft leadership – Structured mentoring • Lead Maintainer – Develop and universally • Inspector / Testman implement management • Gang Foreman trainee program • Technician Don’t permit anyone to be “set up” to fail!
  • 38. The Path Ahead: Enhancing Training (cont.) • “Don’t throw baby out with the bathwater!” – Encourage, reward mentors from craft – Time is of the essence due to attrition! – Enable career progression paths from craft to: • Supervision / Management • Circuit designer / checker • Trainer
  • 39. The Path Ahead: Enhancing Training (cont.) • Develop plan for training resources – Off site • Buy “in bulk” to help reduce costs • Develop local facility tours • Don’t punish those “left behind” – On site • Make investment in equipment and labor to build – Turnout, switch machine, gate mechs, etc. – Use for reliability testing when no training scheduled • Mimic operation of equipment on actual territory
  • 40. The Path Ahead: Enhancing Retention • Maintain vertical job categories – Signalmen • Heavy equipment operation • Manual labor • Constant travel – Signal Maintainers • Testing / Inspection / Maintenance • Less physical labor • Much less travel – More “carrot” and less “stick” • Reduce forced assignments to a minimum • Help give financial and time off incentives to make maintaining desirable again
  • 41. The Path Ahead: Enhancing Retention (cont.) • Change thinking about work / life balance – Provide time off guarantees • Not just during vacations • Assign larger territories to additional people • Each one “backs up” the other – At least one qualified, capable resource available when bad things happen and phone rings – Supervisor / assistant supervisor or supervisor “pool” – Discuss, develop pilot programs with labor for alternative working arrangements • Shift work (with assigned testing responsibilities) • 3 on / 3 off • Establish times of day where phone guaranteed not to ring • Reference new FRA HoS requirements
  • 42. The Path Ahead: Enhancing Retention (cont.) • Make supervision appealing again – Centralize administrative tasks • Purchasing • Scheduling of coverage • FRA test recordkeeping – Promote from the top down work’s importance • Not overhead, but a vital function • Provides for safe and efficient operation of trains • Benefits employees, company and public at large – Management support at all levels critical!
  • 43. Today’s Topics The Road Less Travelled The View From Here The Path Ahead
  • 44. Thank you! “The Human Element—Part 2” Training & Education Challenges for CBTC/PTC Implementations M. J. quot;Markquot; Engels Railroad-Transit Signal Design Principal ESCORRT LLC Fond du Lac, Wisc. USA http://www.escorrtllc.com http://www.linkedin.com/in/mjengels

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