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Commitment to training pushes Bergelectric to the top of the class

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Lab rooms in Bergelectric's in-house training facilities provide a controlled environment where employees learn specific skills, such as conduit bending.

With a workforce of nearly 2,000 on track to perform more than 4 million labor hours over the next year, the management at Bergelectric understands that employee training is key - and a critical investment in clients as well as staff. Indeed, a well-trained and motivated workforce contributes to the morale and well being of Berg staff and is a huge factor in the company's growth and future. While the Berg training program encompasses many elements - including field training, safety, management, business skills, office training and employee advancement - a cornerstone is BergAcademy, a dynamic and progressive program designed to keep Bergelectric employees current in the knowledge and skills necessary to be an electrician. The focus here is on knowing and applying the National Electrical Code rules and changes, as well learning specific skills like conduit bending, electrical meters or motor controls. In addition, getting new employees off on the right foot is essential to retaining talent. To that end, Berg has instituted a fast-track program offering newly-hired individuals a week-long course of both classroom and hands-on application training in preparation for entry into the ABC apprenticeship program. Students learn safety on the job site, basic electrical theory, fundamental installation practices and skills needed for success. High-tech training labs provide a controlled environment where new employees can focus on learning.

Berg places emphasis on career advancement With an understanding that learning and growing on the job is fundamental to employee productivity and morale, Berg has designed the field-training program to match an employee's education with their career path. Beginning with the fast-track training program and followed by the ABC's four-year apprenticeship program, employees then graduate to BergAcademy, where they learn specific progressive skills. Further offering its employees an opportunity to excel, Berg offers an exam preparation course in anticipation of the new California's Journeyman Certification Exam. Berg has developed an intensive special training program - including an assessment test followed by an intense course - to help employees prepare for the state-mandated exam. Thus far, the program has been highly successful with a 99 percent passing rate for Berg electricians. Field employees have an opportunity to move to the next level of job education, foreman training, which is a 21-week program designed to provide potential foremen with the skills they need to achieve success, as well as their own fullest potential. Topics include installation methods, prefabrication opportunities, utility requirements, documentation practices, management tools and employee motivation.

Safety is emphasized both in the field and in the classroom Safety is the number one priority at Berg, so one of the primary goals of the Berg training program is to generate the most productive and safe workforce possible. Berg's nationally-recognized safety training program promotes safety first and productivity second-covering all job sites, regions and employees. By investing millions of dollars over the past several years in the safety-training arena, Berg has instituted a comprehensive program that includes 40 hours of mandatory safety training for field management and new hires. The company's in-house safety training extends far beyond OSHA requirements and is enhanced with such topics as how to prepare for OSHA inspections and maintaining a safe work site.

Matching client and training needs helps Berg offer first-class service Striving to maintain client satisfaction, Berg has often adjusted their own internal procedures to more closely mirror that of their clients. As an example, Berg developed a training program focusing on IDEC Pharmaceutical's specific commissioning and validation processes, enabling Berg field and management personnel to provide improved facility delivery. In another effort to tailor training to a client's needs, Berg developed a handbook for staff who would be working on nearly 200 Starbucks Coffee projects to install high-speed internet access. Based on Starbucks guidelines, the handbook was featured in an orientation program that specifically detailed topics such as hot-work training, reporting procedures, documentation and installation requirements of the java giant. While they encompass many elements and disciplines, "all of Berg's training classes and programs are carefully structured around client needs and methods," explained Tom Anderson, executive vice president of Bergelectric. "Our mission is to serve our clients and to be fully aligned with how they do business."

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