Re-tooling Through Further Schooling

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Kathy England began her career at U-M working as a call center representative in Plant Operations. She remained there for about three and a half years until her recent promotion to maintenance mechanic.  She loves her new position, serving the faculty, students, and staff who work and study in the Central Campus East Region facilities. “I like what I’m doing a lot,” she said recently while on rounds in the Modern Language Building; “it fits me!”

In the fall of 2012, Kathy had been encouraged by her supervisor at the time, Bobby Deskins, to enroll in the department’s Commercial Building Maintenance certification program, an accredited employee development program for maintenance staff. Bobby, himself a graduate, saw value in the program as a way for Call Center staff to deepen their knowledge of maintenance processes. “I felt the benefits we would all gain from Kathy taking the course would be much greater than the little bit of shift tweaking that was needed,” said Deskins. “Kathy jumped on the opportunity!”

When asked about whether her participation in the Commercial Building Maintenance certification program was beneficial in her transitioning from the call center to working with tools in the field, Kathy affirmed, “It really helped me out. When I was taking work requests in the call center, I gained a better understanding of the jargon. For example, ’what is a plenum’?  It helped me to ask clarifying questions and thus write more accurate notes.” Just as importantly, “my participation in the classes gave me a deeper understanding of the position I wanted to go into. We were exposed to the basics of plumbing and a variety of trades.”

Kathy added that her participation in the CBM program was noted favorably during her job interview. “I think it demonstrated not only my interest in the field, but also my willingness to go above and beyond my regular duties to learn something new,” she surmised.

Before moving on to continue her rounds in MLB, Kathy observed that having the courses onsite was “a hugebenefit for all of the participants. It really made the difference for the employees to not have to travel out to Washtenaw Community College after a full day at work to attend.” All in all, she concluded that “CBM is a great program!”