I have to admit, it’s been some time since I’ve been asked to do some real work. So I jumped at the chance to visit the recently updated JLG Training Center in McConnellsburg, Pa. Situated down the hill from JLG’s main production facility, the training center represents the company’s commitment to customer education and support.

Onsite, for our tour and training, was Rick Smith, senior director, product training, for JLG. For the last three years, Smith has been leading JLG product training initiative’s globally, including service, sales, and Train-the-Trainer programs. Smith oversees curricula design, program development, and program implementation. He also manages training at three JLG facilities and several partner locations in the U.S.

Smith believes that JLG has invested in this at just the right time. JLG and other access equipment manufacturers are providing contractors more sophisticated equipment. Innovations have not only provided safer worker environments, but greater opportunity for increased productivity. “Our commitment to customer support extends beyond sales, our goal is to train operators and mechanics on how to get the most out of their investment.” says Smith.

JLG’s training facility houses 17,000-square-foot of indoor space that includes three classrooms, a coffee/dining area, and meeting space. The newest classroom can accommodate up to 24 people and includes a 20-foot atrium ceiling, large projection screen with dual HD monitors, and an audio/video control panel. In addition, an 8-foot door provides access to the bay to move small machines into the classroom. But it also provides something new for the access industry.

A Workplace of their Own

Walking from the high-tech classroom building to the 4-acre proving ground, students are provided a taste of the real world. The proving ground’s layout allows operators to practice a wide range of skills that can later be translated into safer and more efficient tasks. For example, there are two elevated platforms onto which telehandler operators can place and remove material pallets. But to simulate jobsite conditions, course designers have graded the track at the foot of the platforms to be of differing slopes and material bedding.

Smith says that the proving ground’s layout was guided with customer input. JLG wanted to create a setting in which students can gain confidence in operating equipment. Smith believes this is especially true when it comes to Train the Trainer Programs. “When trainers can practice new skills in a closed environment, they can be more effective in sharing these skills with their students,” says Smith.

Safety is ever present on the proving ground. There’s an anemometer mounted on a wooden pole just by the sidewalk to track. All JLG instructors are provided link to the wind-measurement device for warning of high winds. It’s an indication that the proving grounds want to replicate jobsite conditions so we try to operate on rainy, windy days.

Increasing Interest

Smith says that JLG’s customers are asking for more formal training. For example, JLG University, an online learning environment for JLG product training, now includes more than 24,000 registered users across the globe. Along with online learning, customers have expressed growing interest in classroom and onsite training. “We are anticipating more than 4,000 students will annually visit this center for instruction,” says Smith.

The JLG center provides four basic types of training:

  • Service Training: Courses are designed to provide service personnel with an understanding of the construction, operation and maintenance of JLG equipment. Successful completion of this course qualifies graduates to perform periodic inspections, prescribed maintenance and warranty repairs on specific JLG equipment.
  • AWP Operator Training: One-day (8 hours) Aerial Work Platform operator safety training based on the requirements of the American National Standards Institute/Scaffold Industry Association (ANSI/SIA) standards and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards.
  • Telehandler Operator Training: One-day (8 hours) JLG telehandlers operator safety training based on the requirements of the OSHA standards and the ISO standards.
  • Train-the-Trainer: This three-day (24 hours) course qualifies industry personnel to conduct JLG AWP and telehandler operator training programs that fulfill ANSI/SIA standards, ISO standards, and OSHA regulations.

For information on enrollment and training schedules visit http://jlgu.jlg.com.