Case Study

A New Pipeline

When legislation changed their industry, the Iowa Chapter of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association looked to Diversified Management Services to help them adapt.

New Challenges

The Times They Are A-Changin'

The Iowa chapter of Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC-IA) serves the needs of the plumbing, heating and cooling professionals and hired Diversified Management Services in a time for legislative change for their industry. For more than 20 years, DMS has managed and supported PHCC-IA in their mission.

During the 1990s and 2000s, all new licensees were required to complete a 4-year apprenticeship program in order to obtain licenses to work in the Cedar Rapids area. PHCC-IA had a local chapter based in Cedar Rapids that answered the call to develop and provide apprenticeship programs: one for plumbing and one for HVAC employees. The Eastern Iowa PHCC Apprenticeship Program was administered by a third-party individual and served 60–70 students per year.

In 2009, Iowa required Statewide Licensing, a legislative initiative that allowed plumbing, heating and cooling contractors to work in any community in the state under one license instead of multiple city licenses. One requirement of the new statewide licensing was that before any individual could take the state journeyman exam for plumbing or HVAC, they had to successfully complete a four-year, Department of Labor-approved apprenticeship program. As the statewide licensing initiative took effect, the Eastern Iowa PHCC Apprenticeship Program was converted to a statewide program to accommodate the growing need for apprenticeship in the state of Iowa.

However, by 2013 the PHCC Apprenticeship Program had grown exponentially and it was apparent that the current third-party administrator was no longer equipped to support the program efficiently.

“PHCC came to DMS in a time of transition. New laws potentially threatened their ability to operate and they wanted to fix a potential problem before it became a huge one. Essentially, like a good plumber, they wanted to stop a leak before it flooded the house.”

-Kevin Kruse, Executive Director

 

Small Changes, Big Result

A Need to Adjust

“When PHCC of Iowa started our apprenticeship program to meet the needs of Iowa Plumbing and Heating Contractors, we had no idea how large it would grow in the first few years. We soon found out that our current project manager could not handle the growth of not just the students but the increase in paperwork and demands from the department of labor to keep the program going as well.”

-Rick Gustin, President, Iowa Falls Heating/AC/Plumbing

Diversified Management Services was asked to bring the apprenticeship program in-house, which was done in April of 2013. PHCC asked that DMS create overall processes and procedures for the program, update all OJT (on-the-job hours) and data for the Department of Labor, develop a system to more efficiently track OJT, hire additional instructors and work to market the program to increase the number of apprentices being served.

“What PHCC needed was organizational help. We needed to make sure they could stay true to the excellent work they were already doing, they just needed an expanded capacity to do it. We had the ability to give them what they needed.”

-Kevin Kruse, Executive Director

New Solutions

A Bright Future

Since bringing the Apprenticeship Program under DMS’ management, PHCC has nearly tripled the number of active students, kept up-to-date records with the Department of Labor, added a HVAC program in Des Moines, hired five additional instructors and developed comprehensive processes and procedures for all aspects of the program.

“DMS has taken our program from about 70 students and classes in one location to over 200 students this year and classes in two locations in Iowa. Also, those classes are structured two different ways for class time and management to meet the needs of the contractors in the areas they serve. Without the management expertise of DMS, we would never had gotten to where we are.”

-Rick Gustin

The success of the program has continued as DMS and PHCC-IA maintain their partnership and work together in striving for excellence in their apprenticeship program. Board response to the continued management of the Apprenticeship Program by DMS continues to be positive and the board and committee have praised DMS for their work with the program.

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Whether you know what you want or would like to hear more about what Diversified Management Services can offer, it all begins the same way—with a simple act of reaching out. Please contact us with any questions and we’ll be sure to respond.

 

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