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Wednesday, Nov 29, 2023

The Briefing

Most businesses say their top problem is the shortage of qualified labor. And those at firms in the fast-growing high-tech sector feel the problem is particularly acute. Creative solutions to the dilemma have ranged from importing workers from foreign countries to establishing partnerships with local educational institutions. One 15-year-old Chatsworth firm has come up with an idea that puts the solution squarely in its own backyard. Pacific Coast Cabling, a $19 million company operated by David Burr, has established its own in-house training facility to educate the 118 technicians it needs to fill its needs. Burr explains how the Pacific Coast Cabling Education Center, which opened in January 2000, came about. “The idea for the school has probably been festering almost three years. Our problem in being able to act on it early was that we were not physically located in enough space to accommodate it. But then we relocated our corporate offices (from Arleta) in September of 1999. “When we moved to this location, we found it had more warehouse space than we needed, so it provided us with an opportunity to build out the training center. “The work we do is structured cabling, and is similar in scope to what electricians do in a building, but it’s low voltage and much more intricate with regard to installation practices. “There wasn’t any place to send (my entry-level workers to get training). We had previously just done on-the-job training where we tried to match entry-level personnel with more experienced personnel and have them work side by side for some time. But the down side was that you sort of got the individual flavor of each person (doing the training). “The problem was the consistency of the work. So what we decided to do was grounded in our support of BISCI (an industry association). What they have done is craft a whole training program for entry-level technicians people who range from absolutely green right up through their fifth year of experience. “We took one of our top technicians and sent him to Florida where BISCI is located to go through their two-week training program. Now he’s certified to conduct the three-level training program within our offices. “We sponsor the cost of the course for our employees. It’s about $1,150 for each of the three one-week courses. The cost to set up the education center was about $50,000, plus another $5,000 to $10,000 for the training materials. It also cost about $5,000 for our training to go through the BISCI course.”

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