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Innovative offers one-of-a-kind service tech apprenticeship 
October 26, 2018

Innovative team members are ecstatic to announce the launch of our new service technician apprenticeship program. The program, which is the first of its kind in the nation, allows service technicians to earn their ammonia journeymen’s certificate while continuing to work their jobs throughout the country.

“We always want to be a leader in everything we do,” David Piller, Vice President, said. “We felt that there was an opportunity here for growth on the technician side. Innovative strives to become a world-class service provider.”

The apprenticeship program is through the United States Department of Labor. It’s the first one of its kind for ammonia service technicians.

Innovative wanted to take a ground-breaking twist on a typical apprenticeship program. The result was building a program that allows us to provide classroom learning as our service technicians are dispersed throughout the country. This allows them to complete the training without interrupting their daily operations.

The opportunity to earn a journeymen’s card will be available to Innovative service technicians beginning in January of 2019. It’s a 3-year course with 6,000 field hours and 432 classroom hours. The education is free to employees with a 2-year work contract after completion.

To make achieving a card while working possible, we will break the classroom hours up into small videos of our instructor teaching the information coupled with a first person view video of the work actually being performed. Then, the service techs in the field will physically do the task the lesson is on.

This new state-of-the-art program has been in the works for a few years. We’ve worked closely with Department of Labor, RETA and IIAR members to get it launched. The education level after receiving the journeymen’s card is equivalent to a college level degree in ammonia refrigeration.

Innovative is able to offer the apprenticeship program because of our access to degreed, professional engineers on our staff and Industrial Refrigeration Technical College on site.

Innovative’s senior technicians will have the opportunity to complete the course first; from there, it will be offered to all service technicians based on seniority. This education opportunity will help the more experienced technicians continue to keep up the great work and help new technicians thoroughly learn the ins and outs of the job.

A main goal with the apprenticeship is to facilitate the career development for technicians that are new to the ammonia refrigeration industry. Any service technicians that are hired at Innovative will be given the apprenticeship opportunity after their 90-day probation period.

Innovative is dedicated to going above and beyond in training their employees. We commit to making sure employees have the education and experience needed to excel in their work.

“What I’m looking forward to most about the program is just to see how it grows the techs,” Piller said. “To see how they become educated and how they hopefully will feel that Innovative truly cares about their future as technicians.”

Ammonia service technicians play a critical role at Innovative.

“The service tech role is extremely important at Innovative. We are not only a design-build contractor, but we go the extra mile to service our equipment and provide world-class service. There is really no other company out there that provides a one-stop-shop for refrigeration systems,” Innovative’s Continuous Improvement Engineering Manager said. “These technicians will be there at the drop of a hat. Regardless of whether there’s 4 feet of snow on the ground or it’s flooding outside, our service techs will get there and will keep that plant running. If you really think about it in the grand scheme of things, we are keeping America’s food cold.”

The service technicians fine tune the system and make sure they are always running at top efficiency. Innovative’s exceptional eService program helps them in this with maintenance, work orders, scheduling, estimates and more.

Knowledge gained through the apprenticeship program will pair with eService to best serve our customers. Service technicians will have a top education to be as efficient as possible. With this knowledge, we are able to properly maintain the equipment and prevent a machine malfunction.

Here at Innovative, we always work hard to go above and beyond expectations to service our customers. We are excited for the apprenticeship program to take our service team’s training and education to the next level!