The Education Foundation of the National Association of Electrical Distributors announces the introduction of a new, interactive training program, STAR (Solutions to Train and Retain). Designed to aid electrical distributors in the hiring, training, and evaluation of employees, STAR seeks to simplify the hiring process by combining the latest in candidate screening tools, position requirements, and employee training and evaluation resources into a single user-friendly system.

Developed by the NAED Education Foundation at the request of the association's members, STAR is specifically tailored to meet the needs of the electrical distribution industry. For example, the online program contains the most up-to-date training tools and seminars from the NAED Education Foundation, the American Management Association, the University of Industrial Distribution and other NAED-approved sources. In addition, STAR provides direct Internet links to these sources for accessible research.

Another benefit of STAR is that it puts comprehensive employee evaluation tools right at the distributors' fingertips. Working from more than 50 detailed position descriptions, distributors can generate everything from interview questions to work progress reports.

For Larry Albert, human resources director for Standard Electric Supply, STAR is "especially valuable for those distributors that are under 100 employees. It is really helpful to a branch manager, who can go in there and quickly get things together for an interview. And, the training component, where they can customize a training plan and have all those resources, is probably be the most useful thing of all."

Besides its convenience and versatility, STAR is also very cost effective for NAED members. Distributors do not have to invest in purchasing expensive software or program updates, since STAR is an online system that is automatically updated each quarter.

"If you went out and tried to create something like STAR, you'd spend about $50,000," says NAED's Industry Education Council member Alex Muro, training director for Mayer Electric Supply. "Normally you'd have to go out and hire a consultant to develop your core competencies. STAR is providing everything from helping you think about what kind of people you need, to how to train and assess their performance once you've found them."

Since NAED members can try the online program free for 30 days, STAR is literally a risk-free investment for any distributor. To sign up for the 30-day trial offer and for more information, call the NAED Education Foundation at 888-791-2512 or visit online by going to the "members only" section of www.naed.org.