Education in tilt-wall construction is one of many modules included in Haskell’s Field Technical Training program.

March 1, 2023

Field Training Program Helps Trades Learn Skills, Build Their Careers

Haskell has taken a cutting-edge educational approach to help field personnel learn new skills and fast-track their professional development.  


Victor Mendoza is a good leader, but he wants to be a great one. So, he’s thankful for Haskell’s new Field Technical Training (FTT) program, which he believes will help him get there.

Mendoza, a General Foreman, is among the first group of Haskell team members to take part in the innovative training program. “I’m going to absorb all I can,” said Mendoza, who’s been with the company about two years.

He was working for a Haskell subcontractor when a superintendent “saw some value in me and offered me a post here at Haskell.”

The training program helps Permanent Craft Employees (PCEs) earn professional certifications and progress into and through leadership positions. Haskell’s PCE program dates to the mid-1970s, when the company extended full-time employment and benefits to skilled tradespeople. The program provides stability to these professionals while elevating project standards.

Field workers learn construction layout using Robotic Total Station provided by Haskell in conjunction with Building Point Southeast.

Craft Development Specialist Mike Osborne joined Haskell in Summer 2022 to lead the program. He described its three-prong approach: videos to watch, textbooks to read and hands-on training in the field to soak in.

Much can be learned during on-the-job training, but that can easily be short-circuited by time constraints.

“A lot of times, someone is working on a project and trying to learn, but at the same time, they have to be productive,” Osborne said. “This is another way to hit the pause button and let them stop and think.”

Adding Structure to Training

The program germinated over the past five years, after Field Technical Training Director Mike McLauchlan came on board. McLauchlan said that, at the time, Haskell had a great deal of training available for field workers, but it wasn’t uniform. After talking with field leadership, he realized those up through the foreman level needed training imparted more effectively.

He and Osborne met when the latter was an authorized construction trainer for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). But Osborne’s background also includes extensive experience in construction, from a journeyman carpenter to a project superintendent. So, he is well-versed in possible training needs and opportunities for those workers.

The two said the program is set up to help employees master whatever skill or reach whatever level they’re pursuing. If a team member wants to be a carpenter, there’s a path for that. If they want to be a field superintendent, there’s a way to get there, too.

Ranked No. 1 in Training Magazine’s APEX Awards, an exclusive list of the leading training organizations worldwide, Haskell has taken an intentional approach to its educational offerings. The Field Technical Training program includes numerous offerings based on the core competencies established for the company’s field team members. Courses include Plan Reading, Construction Layout, Equipment Operation, and Formwork, to name a few.

One training module details how to set up a tilt wall system. It describes the wall-forming process, explains how to prepare a casting bed and identifies methods of forming tilt-wall panels. The video points out that the panels can weigh an average of 30,000 pounds, which is equivalent to seven full-size trucks and two motorcycles. It stresses that, as with every operation at Haskell, safety is the priority, and proper technique and execution are required.

Sarah Richards, Technical Training Development Specialist, works with Osborne and McLauchlan to coordinate and organize training for technical and safety programs.

She said the Technical Training team was working hard to ensure that project superintendents knew about the program and that team members were encouraged to participate. Training team members frequently visit job sites to talk with employees about what’s available and explain its accessibility.

“We’re trying innovative ways to get training to employees in the field that don’t have access to company assets,” she said.

Growing and Advancing the Craft Workforce

Creating a Haskell-specific program allows the information to be consistent with the company’s goals and values and is another example of its commitment to provide team members “the BEST job of their lives.” Osborne and McLauchlan credit Richards as vital to the program’s success. “She organizes it, and she pushes it out,” McLauchlan said.

The work that’s gone into creating the program has been extensive, and there will be more to do as the team continues to refine and grow it. But the payoff is that it reinforces with field personnel that the company wants to help them reach their goals and offers a variety of ways to make it happen.

Osborne believes the comprehensive program is the first of its kind in the industry. Because the program is voluntary, it can help identify those with great drive and high potential. He said he was excited about its potential for developing the expertise and enthusiasm of the craft workforce.

“I hope that two years from now you’ll see operational excellence,” Osborne said.

Permanent Craft Employees (PCEs) train in reading construction plans during classroom time in Haskell’s Development Center.

McLauchlan said that in creating the Field Technical Training program’s foundation, the team arrived at a concept that can be used for countless future training opportunities.

“This gives us the model for where we can go in the future,” McLauchlan said.

For his part, Foreman Victor Mendoza said he appreciated that the training offered him a concrete way to advance his career.

“Haskell is good about helping employees grow,” he said.

Haskell is hiring! Explore the many options available to join a growing company committed to educating and developing team members, enabling them to have the BEST job of their lives.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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