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Looking for examples of utilizing contingent workers efffectvely


As most in the industry know, we are mostly operating with skeleton in house crews.  We have started supplementing the shops with contract workers to support the online schedule.  Does anyone have any success stories or industry contacts of plants that have good onboarding processes and training to set contingent workers up for success? Any input from travelling workers on what would make coming into a new plant easier? This is more from a training and work management perspective as I have no ability to effect pay/per-diem and know it's really the ultimate driver, but still looking to make sure we're not setting ourselves up for failure.

Nuclear NASCAR:
I can only speak to what has begun to work at my plant, Callaway.  The unfortunate thing has been that hiring usually doesn't happen until people are retiring which hinders knowledge transfer.  Both maintenance and operations have been utilizing training coaches (Union craftsmen who concentrate on training, both initial qualification and continuing) to drive training. What used to take 5 years or more has been trimmed to 2 years or less on average to get the majority of qualifications needed for journeyman status.  It took a major change in attitude on both sides of the table but it was really proven because of the training coaches ownership and persistence.  Support from department heads, providing both the training coaches and the journeymen needed to do OJT & TPE's along with training department people who believed in the process was crucial. 

I was in on the brainstorming session where we set the goal to have new Assistants/Apprentices fully qualified on the major tasks of their respective crafts in 2 years or less. I have to admit that I was skeptical based on past experience, but thanks to the tenacity of those driving the success of it I was pleasantly surprised.  The last 3 classes of Assistants in the Electric shop, dating back to 2015, have been qualified as journeymen in 2 years or less.  This not only gave us more qualified personnel but also gave those individuals higher pay more quickly.  I hope this helps.  Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.


I've been contracting for years and been in-house a few times in operations, maintenance and support.
So I've been around and seen things from various sides and what I've seen is the slow sure degradation of our industry.
Bringing people in, you want the better ones, as there are many subpar contractors out there, especially these days.
So finding the best requires identifying them, attracting them and keeping them.

As a contractor, here's what you look for:
Who's paying the highest wages and per diem. We're here to make money.
What state gives highest unemployment?
What location is easiest for me to reach?
What shops, crews, are enjoyable and not toxic.
What shops offer me what I would like to do, versus getting crap all the time. Money isn't everything.
Leverage what positives you have.
I liked working Southern sites because they were generally friendlier even though less pay.
I liked working near cool things I wanted to see or go do.
I liked working where I had friends to see.

So, offer great money.
Find the good ones, not with HR who couldn't find them if they tried, but by talking in online forums, asking other good contractors and plant supervisors.
Get the ability to bring people in yourself that you want.
Otherwise you'll get HR and contracting recruiters randomness and riff-raff and rejects from other sites they're trying to dump on you.
A gem contractor is worth several slothing useless contractors who got into the industry somehow or are permanently tired and retired.
You'll get productivity and less headaches versus trouble and rework.
Next. Get good trainers if you can.
Too many trainers are just spent tired techs going through the motions.
But, getting them is difficult.
For some reason our industry makes terrible choices over and over.
They staff positions not for who's best for it, but for who they're wanting to get rid of from somewhere else.
I was in-house VY Senior I&C with lots of Maint and Operations experience.
We needed an I&C trainer. I wanted the job but didn't have the experience in training.
Which didn't matter because I knew all the material and much more.
But, the dummies there hired an experienced trainer who was a mechanic, to train I&C, which of coarse he couldn't.
So I went back to changing lightbulbs on the RX Control Panels planning my departure from that sinking ship.

Quick list.
Training is time consuming. Find the heavy guys out there, pay them well. They'll teach your guys something.
Get training to blaze off their qualifications.
Half of my I&C training was just signed off and believe me, it didn't matter.
There are contractors out there I've met who'd run circles around in-house guys, other nuclear and gas plants, oil rig techs.
Energy. Get ones who can and will get out of their chairs.
Watch-out for the few like me who are too much out of their chairs and you can't find them.
I like to talk and explore. ADHD is a curse and gift.
If onboarding is a challenge for anyone, then that used to be a great screening to reject them.
Only an idiot or slouch has trouble with the onboarding process.
Making that easier is NOT a good thing. God help our industry.
Watch out for the dangerous ones. Those who are serial rejects from other sites or shops.
Get clear on the goal- is the contractor just a helper to a qualified in-house tech or do you want a fully qualified tech?
I liked working with an in-house guy as their assistant tech. I could help, CV, etc, give advice from my experiences and knowledge.
My quals and training could be lower, fast, easy, but maximum on the job through the in-house guys.
Places where they want me solo, lead on a job were usually difficult and messy.
I had no acccess to all the things and support the shops guys had so being integrated gave that to me through the in-house guy.
If I had a young in-house tech, I could be practically be lead without redoing all the boring training.
Now, if you hire a young less experienced and less educated contractor, pair them with the heavy guys. They'll help and learn.
Best to you-


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