When B. Braun Medical Inc. automated its manufacturing, it was faced with a workforce that needed training — and quickly.
So it turned to one of the Valley’s leading technical schools, Lehigh County Technical Institute, for help in training its workforce on the new machinery.
“It’s not really part of our culture to let people go and bring in people with different skills to replace them,” said Chris Donigan, senior vice president of human resources at B. Braun Medical Inc.
B. Braun is a global manufacturer of medical devices with a 500,000-square-foot plant in Allentown and corporate offices in Bethlehem, in addition to another 500,000-square-foot facility in Southern California.
Donigan said the company chose to automate its manufacturing processes in the U.S. to avoid sending work overseas.
“We want to have manufacturing remain in the U.S. The company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in automation. B. Braun is a privately-owned family company, and we want our employees who have worked with us to develop their skills and remain with the company,” Donigan told Lehigh Valley Business.
LCTI teamed with B. Braun and helped it to create a curriculum which would fit the manufacturer’s needs.
“They’ve worked with us in partnership. They told us we’ll help you set up a training center for production employees and we’ll run classes on your site. We will help you,” Donigan said.
And LCTI does help. The school has set up equipment at the site and trains employees to operate a variety of machines and reach different levels of training.
For Jan Klevis, director of postsecondary and workforce education at LCTI, the partnership was a perfect fit for the school that works with companies and completes assessments on employees to determine what kind of training can help them compete within an ever-changing industry.
“We’re very happy to be instrumental in helping B. Braun keep manufacturing in the Lehigh Valley,” she said.
The school often works with employers, including Nestle Waters North America and Samuel Adams Pennsylvania Brewery, both in Breinigsville.
The staff has designed custom programs and sequences of classes to help employees stay up to date.
“Everything is competency based and driven by certain tasks. It is very easy to customize the training that we do,” Klevis said.
The partnership is not exclusively beneficial to the manufacturer, however. Partnering with manufacturers on the leading edge of technology keeps LCTI’s equipment and training facilities current and ahead of industry trends.
“What we do is very reciprocal,” Klevis said.
The myriad training programs administered by the technical institute have thus far educated about 600 of B. Braun’s workers.
But the work is far from over.
LCTI also offers a training program at the company’s Southern California facility.
“The idea when we developed the customized training was that we could pass it on to someone out there to administer it, but no one had the equipment and the technical training out there to do it,” Klevis explained. “It’s an exciting adventure for us to partner with B. Braun, which is known for being a leader in technology.”