MINSTER — The Nidec Minster Corp. believes in investing in its most important asset: its employees.
That’s why the company, a press manufacturer headquartered in Minster employing more than 500 people, has put $1 million into its new Employee Education Center.
New employees and existing employees used to be trained out on the manufacturing floor, but now they get hands-on and online training in a 3,160-square-foot state-of-the art lab.
The lab features training tools for skilled laborers in mechancial, hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical and CNC programming and machining displays, according to a release from the company.
The education center is necessary because the employees are not “button-pushers,” said Brian Styer, manager of employee relations at Nidec.
Employees have to know what they’re doing and how to do each process and make each part or press, as each one is custom-engineered.
“There is no high-volume production work at this facility,” Styer said. To “make it all happen, they have to understand hydraulics, pneumatics and the electrical portion of it, so they’re skilled trades. They’re all skilled trades. That’s why we want people coming in with a foundation.”
Though the training and the curriculum the trainers and staff have developed are important, Steve Gruber, president and chief operating officer, said he thinks what is special is that the “whole organization got behind this.
“There was a lot of interest from experienced folks in being trainers,” he said. “We put our best of the best out there to train our new folks.”
Doug Thobe, a 42-year employee of Nidec, and Russ Bell, a 20-year employee, are the trainers in the education center.
“I enjoy learning myself, and I’m going to learn a lot and … I like helping people,” Bell said, adding that the position as a trainer is his “dream job.”
“Young people are really excited about actually being able to do this,” he said.
With the upcoming and current workforce shortage, Nidec is constantly hiring and isn’t always able to find enough candidates from local technical schools and colleges. With the center, the company can recruite graduates from area high schools, as well, and train them from the beginning.
The training lasts two to four years and is intermingled with work and on-the-job training.
New employees “are going to learn and keep on learning,” Thobe said.
Reach the writer at 567-242-0511 or on Twitter @DanaeKing.