Employees at United Copper Inc., a copper manufacturing plant in Denton, will soon begin taking technical skill training courses taught by North Central Texas College instructors, thanks to a training grant of $85,000 from the Texas Workforce Commission.
The grant, which is administered by NCTC, will help train more than 60 employees over the course of 18 months, providing a total of 3,174 training hours, said Diane Mannion, NCTC’s workforce development coordinator. The courses will cover topics such as hydraulics, industrial mathematics and occupational specific communications.
“Basically, we were looking to upgrade the skills of our employees and help the productivity of our business,” said Linda Bradley, human resource director at United Copper. “We want to invest in them to help them grow in this business and help us.”
About half of the classes will focus on maintenance skills to improve the reliability of the equipment, Bradley said, and another large focus will be leadership development, which will be geared toward the lead people in the production department.
“They normally get more technical training, so we want to focus on their leadership skills now in order to position them to move up in the company,” she said.
The classes will take anywhere from eight to 60 hours to complete and will be staged throughout the course of the grant so employees can take multiple classes.
The grant team from NCTC visited United Copper on Wednesday to learn about the equipment, the company’s needs and meet the supervisors so they can begin planning the courses. Based on this, Bradley said the company will begin to choose what employees will participate in which courses.
The program will be beneficial to NCTC to help build up its technical programs, Mannion said.
“It allows us to provide the training necessary, which affects the businesses, and it helps build our current programs that are in place,” she said. “NCTC has a phenomenal welding program and electrical program, and this helps us to educate them to become the best employees to help with retention.”
The training will begin July 18, and courses will be split about half and half between the United Copper facility and the Career Technology Center at NCTC’s Gainesville campus. Upon course completion, participants will receive continuing education unit credits as well as certifications.
Through all of this training, Bradley said that United Copper hopes to improve its conversion costs — the total cost of turning the raw material into finished copper building wire and, in turn, make the business stronger.
“What we’re looking to do is improve our conversion costs, so we’re always looking to do that better and quicker, improve quality,” Bradley said. “So everything they’re learning is going to contribute to that.”
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.