Shoals workers get new training

Workers at two companies in Colbert County will soon learn new job skills to help their companies get more customers.

Martin Plant Services and E.S. Robbins Corporation employees are undergoing new training, thanks in part to two grants totaling $87,572 awarded by Gov. Bob Riley.  "We must continue to upgrade the skill level of Alabama's workforce to maintain the unprecedented economic success our state is enjoying," Riley said. "I am pleased to help these Alabama workers gain new skills that allow them to become more productive and more valuable to their companies."

Sheffield-based Martin Plant Services will use a $37,572 grant to pay part of the cost to train all 35 employees in methods to improve the quality of its service to customers. The company manages the inventories and stockrooms of the local plants of several companies in the aerospace, automobile and other manufacturing industries. Officials with the company expect the training to increase efficiency by 18 percent and reduce worker turnover by 15 percent. The training will help the company attain AS9100 certification, a requirement in many aerospace contracts. Martin Plant Services will contribute $76,875 toward the training cost.

A $50,000 grant will help Muscle-Shoals-based E.S. Robbins train 54 employees in methods to streamline production and reduce production downtime due to equipment maintenance. Company officials estimate the 12-month training will increase production efficiency by 5 percent and employees' long-term wages by 5 percent. The company, which manufactures a variety of plastic products, will contribute $64,454 to the training cost.

Riley awarded the grants from funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Labor. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs will administer the funds.