Original Date: 09/14/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Best Practice : Career Enrichment Program
In 1987, the Career Enrichment Program (CEP) was started as a partnership between Raytheon Missile Systems Company (RMSC) and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local 933. CEP operates as a pay-for-knowledge plan which enables hourly employees to obtain certifications for particular job units by completing prescribed courses. In addition, the program addresses bargaining unit employee participation, career development, compensation, and labor utilization. Prior to CEP, there was little communication between bargaining unit employees and management, virtually no defined hourly career paths, and no formalized incentive system to enhance skills. These factors, coupled with numerous job classifications and a rapidly changing contractual and technological manufacturing environment, created tentative job security for employees.
RMSC designed CEP to establish a flexible workforce, meet the changing contracting environment, and eliminate the perception that bargaining unit employees were underutilized. This employee/management partnership encompasses many avenues including career paths, pay for skills, workforce flexibility, job satisfaction, contributions, marketability, commitment, and employee empowerment for self-directed careers. The program uses the Main CEP and five Family Committees (assembly, fabrication, maintenance, process, and support job classifications). These committees design classes and certification challenge tests; develop unit descriptions; and utilize hourly employees as CEP instructors and subject matter experts.
Since implementing CEP, RMSC enhanced its job environment and significantly improved its labor utilization and flexibility. Occupation categories were dramatically reduced from 132 to 46. More than 400 salary tasks are now assigned to hourly employees, which reduced task duplication and costs. In addition, the number of certifications held by employees increased, thereby elevating the employee skill level and flexibility, and making them less vulnerable to reductions in force. CEP’s success is evident and well documented. To the program’s credit, its leaders and participants recognized the need to address evolving requirements; prepared their issues, concerns, and recommendations; and are ready to move forward to keep this successful program current and responsive to present and future work environments.
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