A new training center for what’s been described as “the most lucrative blue-collar trade in the nation” had its formal opening on Oct. 3 in Yonkers.
Bob Schaeffer, CEO and president of D&D Elevator Maintenance, which is based in Elmsford and operates the new training center, told the Business Journal that he’s confident the center will help fill industry’s need for highly skilled elevator maintenance technicians while opening up career opportunities for many who otherwise would never have been able to secure such well-paying jobs.
The Elevator Learning Center is at 200 Corporate Blvd. in the South Westchester Executive Park. In addition to classroom space, the 2,500-square-foot facility includes workshop areas where elevator mechanical equipment is set up and functioning for use in hands-on training sessions. The center is equipped with advanced communications technology, allowing students anywhere along the internet to interact with instructors using high-definition video streamed with high-fidelity audio.
“We’re struggling to bring in new talent,” Schaeffer said of the elevator maintenance industry. “Most kids today are opting for college degrees rather than the trades, so it’s very important to deliver education and give incentives for these kids to be part of this trade, the elevator industry.”
Schaeffer told the Business Journal that the Elevator Learning Center is in talks with the Yonkers school system about creating programming for the Saunders Trades and Technical High School. This would give students exposure to career opportunities resulting from elevator maintenance technician training.
For Schaeffer, the formal opening of the center brought great personal satisfaction. “For me it’s very exciting. I was involved early on in the actual process to create the Certified Elevator Technician Program and the accreditation process. We have an accreditation from ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ANSI (American National Standards Institute),” he said. The two organizations are involved in setting and monitoring compliance with various industry standards. “It’s a great satisfaction to see all these enhancements and being able to start delivering to, not just our company, but to other companies that wish to participate.”
Since its founding in 1981, safety has been D&D’s number one concern, Schaeffer noted. Not only safety for the public riding in elevators serviced by the company, but also for the technicians who work to keep them properly maintained.
“Safety is the number one important issue for us. Safety is an important factor in what we teach today,” he said. In fact, while addressing the guests gathered for a ribbon cutting and tours of the new facility, Schaeffer emphasized that travel by elevator is the safest form of transportation and D&D wants to continue doing its part to keep it that way.