Crystal Steel Training Program Case Study

Maryland Works for Wind: Crystal Steel Training Program

Crystal Steel Fabricators, Inc.

The Client:

Crystal Steel located in Federalsburg, Maryland was founded in 1992 as a manufacturer and fabricator of structural steel. In 2021, Crystal Steel was selected by Orsted, the global leader in wind energy, to establish Maryland’s first offshore wind steel fabrication center at the Federalsburg, MD location. Crystal Steel is one of very few fabricators in the country that received approval to support the offshore wind project as it requires a high level of quality and traceability. To prepare for the Orsted Projects, Crystal Steel needed a comprehensive training program and to grow their workforce by 1/3, adding at least 50 new welders, fitters, machine operators, painters and general production personnel. 

The Challenge:

In support of Crystal Steel’s rapid growth needs and the opportunity to expand and support the Maryland Offshore Wind initiative, Maryland MEP supported Crystal Steel in developing and delivering a comprehensive training program for Crystal Steel’s current and future workforce. 

The Solution:

With Maryland MEP’s support under the Maryland Department of Labor’s Maryland Works for Wind Program, Crystal Steel was able to complete three essential trainings for the Orsted Projects which included supervisor training, technical trainings for their current workforce and welding training. 

Maryland MEP and Crystal Steel engaged Dale Carnegie and Associates to deliver the Skills for Success Training program to nineteen (19) supervisors at Crystal Steel. This 8-week training and provided participants with new skills including communication, leadership, problem-solving, time management and accountability. The supervisor training was essential to Crystal Steel’s dedication to a strong workforce that is capable of leading projects and managing high-performing teams. One of the graduates of the Dale Carnegie training was hired by Crystal Steel back in 2017 from Maryland MEP’s Manufacturing Boot Camp. The Boot Camp, supported by Maryland Labor’s EARN Program, is a program focused on recruiting, training and preparing job seekers for jobs in manufacturing. 

In addition to the supervisory and leadership skills training, Maryland MEP and Crystal Steel engaged JDH Energy Solutions to deliver Grinding Technician training for sixteen (16) of Crystal Steel’s incumbent workers. This training provided participants with an understanding of production grinding along with the knowledge and tools to make significant, long-term improvements to their grinding operation. This training was essential for Crystal Steel’s employees to be able to gain the technical skills necessary to support the increased production demands.

Finally, Maryland MEP and Crystal Steel worked with Hatter Welding to train twenty (20) employees at Crystal Steel in Welding. The Hatter Welding Team evaluated and consulted the welding processes during fabrication and provided basic skills improvement along with on-the job training for the Crystal Steel welding technicians. The welding technician training included a combination of both a reinforcement of the fundamentals as well as intermediate and advanced level welding skills and techniques necessary to support the Crystal Steel production processes. 

At the completion of this project, Crystal Steel had hired 25 new employees and trained 55 incumbent workers which has them prepared to successfully support at least three of the upcoming Orstead Projects, including the Skipjack Wind Program in Maryland and the Ocean Wind 1 and Ocean Wind 2 projects in New Jersey. 

Results & Impacts:

The Lonza Walkersville Intern program, organized with the help of Maryland MEP’s Maryland Manufacturing Internship Program, is a fantastic opportunity for us to make a meaningful difference in our community and supports our sustainability goals. It’s not simply 'the right thing' to do, but truly drives our values in a multitude of aspects, such as development opportunities for interns, leadership experience for assigned internal coaches and tangible business results. From personal experience, I know what an impact an internship program can have. In the beginning of my career in Switzerland, I had the opportunity for an internship in a Swiss pharma company. This experience helped develop clarity for me and a passion for work in a laboratory. It also evolved into a three- year apprenticeship as a lab technician, which set the foundation for further experience and my educational development. It started as simply producing my own soap – which by the way had way too much rose perfume in it – to creating a foundation for a career where I can now support a team making a meaning full difference within LONZA.