’s March 2013 issue, I wrote an article titled “How to Make the Most of Technician Training,” where officials from several operations around the country shared with me practices they have in place to maximize training for their bus maintenance employees.
In the article
, the officials I interviewed discussed how partnerships, both between technicians and among neighboring districts, can provide opportunities for instruction, and they also pointed to the value of having good equipment and utilizing resources available through state pupil transportation associations.
Here, I’ll share with you some other training initiatives that didn’t make it into the feature.
Will Rosa, director of transportation at Parkway School District in Chesterfield, Mo., encourages his technicians to engage in self-directed study so that they can earn certificates with the National Institute for Automotive Excellence (ASE).
“Several have earned the master school bus technician designation by passing the required tests in all seven disciplines of school bus maintenance,” he says.
Don Ross, director of vehicle maintenance at the School District of Manatee County in Bradenton, Fla., provides hourly wage incentives for his technicians to complete ASE certifications.
He says that his operation pays for the techs’ first ASE test. “If they pass, they get 10 cents per ASE certification, up to 20 [certifications] — that’s an additional $2 per hour,” Ross explains. “If they get their state-certified ASE certification in heavy truck, we give them an additional 4%; if they get a school bus certification, we give them an additional 6%. So they can get an additional 10%, plus $2 per hour.”
Dewayne Ferrell, shop foreman at Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools in Nashville, Tenn., also uses monetary incentives to encourage technicians’ skill development.
“My mechanics get a bonus twice a year,” he says. “The bonuses are based off of their training and attendance — they have to have 40 hours of training and they have to have perfect attendance — and it’s based off of overall productivity.”
In terms of the training requirement, Ferrell says that in addition to cross training among the techs in the shop, they attend the Tennessee Association of Pupil Transportation’s School Bus Technicians Workshop, which Ferrell coordinates annually.
For the productivity requirement involved in receiving the bonuses, he says that his operation created its own repair manual using the manual that you’d find at an auto repair shop as a guide and modifying it to meet the needs of school bus maintenance.
“The manual gives you a specific amount of time to accomplish a certain task. As long as they’ve completed the task in the allotted time, they’ve met the productivity requirement,” he says.
Until next time,
| posted on Friday, March 15, 2013 8:55 AM