E-learning Works —Just Ask PHCC

July 17, 2019
Selflessness, cooperation, and teamwork have made the PHCC Educational Foundation's e-learining program a valuable learning resource.

We’ve all heard the phrase “the devil is in the detail.”  But its opposite is true as well “success is in the detail.”

I recently decided to explore and educate myself about the current success of the e-learning process and its program, as it pertains to contractors – specifically the plumbing and HVAC industry.  I have to tell you that as an “old-schooler,” I was somewhat apprehensive and perhaps somewhat intimidated. I was though, fully prepared to learn about the technology and I sincerely thought that the story of e-learning would end right there — about the technology.  Online education is exploding and it would seem reasonable to assume that e-learning for an apprentice in the industry would be a no-brainer whose time has come.  It would also seem reasonable and make sense that the plumbing and HVAC industry would embrace its value. But that’s where the detail comes into play.

The success of e-learning in the plumbing and HVAC industry is a fantastic study in the principles of selflessness, cooperation, and teamwork – as demonstrated by the PHCC Educational Foundation and PHCC State Chapters.

What I unexpectedly stumbled into was an entirely weightier story. The success of e-learning in the industry isn’t merely attributable to a well-thought out structured program for contractors (apprentices) set on cruise control – and its success isn’t a random coincidence.  Looking back on over three decades of working for and with Congress, industry associations, and firms representing industry, I can rattle off a number of great programs that would have greatly benefitted industry (contractors) that never succeeded – never got off the ground. They failed. or at least fizzled out and I never really thought much about whyl but perhaps now I know why.

Yes, the e-learning program for the plumbing and HVAC industry in its design is very well structured – it’s an effective, state-of-the art online learning course for apprentices in the plumbing and HVAC industries, as created by the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Educational Foundation. But that’s just half of the equation and half of the story.  The success of e-learning in the plumbing and HVAC industry is also a fantastic study in the principles of selflessness, cooperation, and teamwork – as demonstrated by the PHCC Educational Foundation and PHCC State Chapters, their leadership and staffs.

The story really begins with a PHCC state chapter’s decision to pursue e-learning - which isn’t an easy task for all states…after all, this is an old-world industry that is bumping up against an entirely new world of technology.  But, acceptance of e-learning would only make perfect sense though…this is the age of the internet and online learning.  Any program that has the ability to teach online – would attract younger professionals who’ve grown up (and are comfortable) in the age of learning through technology.  Again, this is where the old-world contractor industry rubber hits the technology road.  Can those in leadership positions (PHCC state board of directors) envision the efficiency of e-learning and embrace its power?  This issue was successfully answered by a number of PHCC state chapters years ago (but not all) and executed by PHCC chapter staff (PHCC of New Jersey is a prime example of its power and success).

'The success of e-learning in the industry is two-fold. First, it's an effective and well-designed program. Second, its delivery process is a true success between the PHCC Educational Foundation and the PHCC state chapters. We hope this program is helping to fill the gaps in areas where apprentices and contractors cannot find apprentice programs.' — Nicole Urizzo, Executive Director, PHCC of New Jersey

Of course and without question, there are many details to implement e-learning.  Does your state authority for e-learning come from the federal or state Department of Labor and how long would it take?  What are the steps to make it happen?  Costs?  Where to find out more information?

Very important questions – but merely details if a state truly wants to implement e-learning.

The important piece to note and the important piece of this success story to understand…there is no worry – you have support and contacts to make it happen because of the commitment of the PHCC Educational Foundation staff and the PHCC chapter staff - to work with chapters who want to pursue e-learning, have questions about e-learning, and/or are perhaps having problems with e-learning.  The story has perhaps more to do with support of the technology, which parallels with what the association experience is truly all about.

Congrats to the PHCC Educational Foundation and Congrats to PHCC chapters! 

About the Author

Mark Riso Public Policy Professional

Former Legislative Director to two senior Members of Congress on Capitol Hill (Washington, D.C.).
Former Legislative Advisor on the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, House Banking Committe, U.S. House of Representatives (Washington, D.C.).
Lobbyist on Capitol Hill representing the Construction industry.

Mark can be reached by email at [email protected], or online at markriso.com.

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