Some partnerships aren’t only good for the parties involved. When they give back to their industry, they’re good for everyone.

In April, the National Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (NJATC) and 3M hosted a two-day media event at 3M’s headquarters near Minneapolis to announce such a partnership.

3M, the vinyl tape manufacturer, will embark on a five-year collaboration with the NJATC in which it will help develop an online training curriculum, donate equipment and training manuals for hands-on education in the classroom, and establish an annual scholarship to help with the continuing education in advanced studies of the NJATC’s National Training Institute instructors.

According to Steve Anderson, director of line construction curriculum development and training for the NJATC, manufacturers report that many problems resulting from improper installation can be addressed before they happen. The NJATC teaches installers how to properly use the products, meaning more success for the product and installation.

“The product is great,” Anderson said. “Understanding how the product is meant to be installed isn’t always so great.”

The concept is, once installers better understand how to properly use products, the products will perform better and last longer, helping the manufacturer’s image in the process.

However, NJATC training partners receive more than just good exposure.

“3M is investing in lifelong customers because installers will always come back to what they learned on,” said Marty Riesberg, director of curriculum development for the NJATC.

The NJATC found difficulty in bringing its training material to the web, and 3M will help accomplish that goal. However, Riesberg stressed that industry vets who prefer print or traditional education will not be disappointed. The online component will supplement print resources, so trainees can refer to the same material with more convenience. In addition, it will help instructors make better use of classroom time. The NJATC calls the approach “blended learning.”

Anderson credits 3M and its more than 120 other training partners with having the vision to invest for the long term.

“Working with NJATC is not going to have an effect on this quarter or next quarter’s numbers. We help breed new generations of workers, which will be their customers for the long term,” Anderson said. “We’ve been promoting 3M’s products for as long as we could. Hopefully, we’ll be able to expand it.”

3M said the five-year term for the partnership was simply to place a time frame for evaluation. The intent is to foster an ongoing relationship and renew the partnership indefinitely.