Without exception, industry experts describe the post-9/11 and -7/7 world as a ‘new operating environment,' increasing demands for better decision-making, collaboration, team-building skills and management of risk and uncertainty under stress. This new environment requires new knowledge and skills beyond the technical ones traditionally taught in professional training programs, which assumed individuals would acquire leadership skills "on the job" through experience. Yet, acquisition of these social skills is not occurring effectively—or fast enough—to keep pace with the demands of the dynamic operating environments of our global workplace. In our rapidly changing world, even technical and professional fields once strictly guided by licensing, qualifications and regulations—such as aviation, automotive, medicine, military, fire fighters, law enforcement, engineering, transportation, and emergency planning—have been challenged to become more flexible and collaborative than ever before.
Fast paced changes not only demand increased skill development for new workers entering the field but training for those already employed in the industry. A recent study by the US Secretary of Labor's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) redefined essential workplace competencies noting that in addition to technical competencies, training should include social skills such as teambuilding, leadership skills such as understanding complex inter-relationships, and sense-making skills such as creative decision-making and innovation. Another recent study, Training California's New Workforce for the 21st Century, recommended the development of "workforce literacy," including the ability to innovate and problem-solve in groups with varying capabilities, to understand and manage resistance to change, and to engage in life-long-learning as a means to keep up with perpetually advancing technologies.
In response to these global challenges, San Diego Miramar College created the International Team Training Center (ITTC) in 2005. ITTC is a unique educational organization seeking to advance these new workplace competencies for technical fields. Housed within the School of Technical Careers and Workforce Initiatives at San Diego Miramar College, ITTC is well situated to make innovative contributions in the training and research of high-risk teams. Under the leadership of Dr. Amy L. Fraher, Chief Pilot and Aviation Operations Program Director, the ITTC employs a Team Resource Management model based on Dr Fraher's experience as a Marine, Naval Officer, Commercial Airline Pilot, and international leadership scholar.
Partnering academia with industry, ITTC collaborates across organizational and international boundaries to provide team training for diverse groups. Perhaps the only team training center in the world focusing predominantly on high-risk professions, ITTC has positioned itself to meet the demands of a unique market using methodologies that emerged within the aviation industry, military training, group relations, and academic leadership programs. ITTC's goal is to be an internationally recognized center of excellence for team training.
With support from California state Advanced Transportation Technology funds and federal Carl Perkins Vocational Technical Education Grants, ITTC hosted its first Group Dynamics Workshop on Miramar College's campus January 20-23rd 2006. Advertised as AVIA 128 Group Dynamics for High-Risk Teams the course introduced twenty-four students to Dr. Fraher's "Team Resource Management" model, offering opportunities to explore leadership, teamwork, communication and sense-making through a series of experiential learning exercises. Participants were so excited by their experiences, they requested a follow-on module and AVIA 228 Group Dynamics II was developed.
ITTC's second Group Dynamics Workshop was held on Miramar College's campus January 19–22, 2007 with forty participants and an international staff of eight professionals once again supported by Advanced Transportation Technology funds and Vocational Technical Education Grants. Thirty-two participants enrolled in AVIA 128, six attended as the first cohort in AVIA 228—a 28% return rate—and two international participants, Dutch Police Officers interested in developing a TRM program in their organizations, also attended. Staff were drawn from experienced professionals in the UK, South Africa, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and USA.
ITTC's third Group Dynamics Workshop was held on January 15-18th, 2008 with forty-one participants and an international staff of ten professionals, financially supported by local Advanced Transportation Technology funds, Vocational Technical Education Grants and pay-for-training participants. Fifteen people enrolled in AVIA 128, eleven attended in AVIA 228, and fifteen participated in the new Team Resource Management Training Group (TRM TG) established for individuals outside the college system. There were five international participants within the TRM TG: One Dutch Police Officer, one Venezuelan consultant, one Canadian consultant and two Swiss consultants, all interested in developing TRM experiential exercises in their work. Staff were drawn from experienced professionals from Australia, France, The Faroe Islands, The Netherlands, UK and USA.
|Other college student||2||4||0|
|Naval Air Depot Aviation Mechanic||10||10||7|
|Other civilian at military base||1||0||0|
|Other Aviation Careers||0||5||2|
|International TRM Training Group||n/a||n/a||5|
The 4th annual Group Dynamics Workshop is scheduled for January 9-12. 2009. Anyone with a serious commitment to learning more about the dynamics of leadership, authority, and groups in organizational life are encouraged to join the membership. People interested in exploring the dynamics of high-risk teams—such as aviation, medicine, law enforcement, fire fighting and the military—are particularly welcome. In addition, students who have previously attended AVIA 128 and 228 can register for AVIA 277 Independent Study to further deepen their learning. Participants in these subsystems have the opportunity to collaborate with the international staff group to study the exercise of leadership, authority and teamwork within the "temporary organization" these groups build together. Staff will be joining from France, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Canada, UK, The Netherlands, and USA.