The Republic Services Technical Institute began offering classes last month at its state-of-the-art facility in Dallas, Texas, but held its official grand opening this week! The new home for on-the-job training offers a tuition-free education experience to work towards certification as a Diesel Technician. We recently spoke with Misty Ross, director of the Technical Institute, to get her perspective on the role of the Republic Services Technical Institute in strengthening our best-in-class maintenance team and positioning graduates for success in their careers.
Can you tell us more about your career and your new role at the Technical Institute?
I was a fire truck/diesel technician in the Air Force and continued in that career until I transitioned into teaching diesel courses at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) in Arizona. I spent the majority of my career with UTI working my way from the classroom into the Director role in Student Services and then Employment Services. I started with Republic Services in September 2020, when the Institute was just a slab of concrete.
The Republic Services Technical Institute is a win-win for Republic Services and students. Can you share more about the opportunities for individuals interested in this industry and how the Technical Institute demonstrates our commitment to investing in the development of our people?
In all my years of advising employers on how to grow and retain talent, I have never seen a company invest at this level and it is why I chose to work here. Technical schools are a great way for individuals interested in this industry to get their foot in the door as a technician, but the training comes with a hefty price tag and creates debt. A lot of the challenges I saw for students were time management and financial strains, which got in the way of the overall learning experience. Many students struggled balancing a full-time job while they attended school, and some were not able to finish. Six months after graduation, their student loans needed to start being repaid and adding that payment on top of everything else while just starting your career is difficult. There are a lot of individuals who are just not able to afford technical training. Republic Services Technical Institute takes those strains out of the equation.
How does the Technical Institute prepare students for their career?
The Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship program doesn’t require prior training or experience. This 12-week program is Department of Labor (DOL) certified and upon completion will award credits to the apprentices that can be applied to furthering their education with various colleges that accept credits like this towards certain degrees. Apprentices will not have to balance work and school because they are hired as a new employee the day they start school and receive 32 hours of pay each week they are here. Once they transition to a BU, they will be working 40 hours+ each week. While at the Institute, they will train in technical content and they will also have courses in personal and professional development areas. This combination of training contributes to the whole person and future leaders of our organization.
What do you see as the main benefit of the Republic Services Technical Institute?
The main benefit is the investment in our technicians to learn and grow in their roles. The fleet specific training covered at the Institute will educate our technicians to perform efficient and effective inspections and repairs to keep our fleet operating in a timely and safe manner. The apprenticeship program offers residents of our communities an entry-level opportunity to start a career debt-free in a full-time job with competitive pay.
Can you tell us about the coursework and state-of-art curriculum?
Coursework begins by teaching entry-level technicians basic component identification, inspection and completing lower-level preventive maintenance. The training will continue to evolve and develop into courses that will build off this entry-level foundation into more advanced courses.
And to wrap up, how is the pilot class going?
The pilot class has been crucial in helping us fine tune the content and student experience. We have learned as much from the students attending as they are learning in the class. Just yesterday one of the students expressed how excited they were now that they are understanding what other technicians are talking about and that they have an opportunity to do this job.
A big thank you to Misty for spending time with us and providing great insights into the Republic Services Technical Institute.
If you or someone you know is interested in more information, speak with your HR partner or visit RepublicServices.com/TechInstitute.