Thomas J. Armstrong, University of Michigan
E-mail: tja@umich.edu
G656 IOE Building, 1205 Beal Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2117

IOE 591 Volunteer Work

Credit: 2 hours
Hours: 2-4 Fridays & tba1

Advancing technologies are having a profound impact on our economy and the way we work. Increasing reliance on volunteer work is an important example. Volunteers provide services that benefit all segments of our society. Some examples of volunteer work includes working in community shelters, community kitchens, gathering and distributing goods, caring for elderly and others with special needs, assisting in hospitals and clinics, education, fighting fires and other emergency assistance and developing open source software and information resources. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics1 62.8 million people volunteered Volunteered for work at an estimated value of $184 billion in 2015. These volunteers addressed many important for social needs that are not fully supported by federal, state, community or individual funds. 23.6% of volunteers are over the age of 65. Volunteer organizations may be minimally funded or not funded at all. Volunteers may lack adequate equipment, supervision and training. Many volunteers are very old or have conditions that affect their work capacity. Volunteers may be exposed o unnecessary risk of injuries. The consumers of volunteer services often have special needs. Efficient standardize work methods that recognize the capacities of volunteers and needs of customers are particularly important to take full advantage of available resources. This class will utilize real world experiences, readings and discussions to see how engineering work measurement and design and ergonomics can be applied to volunteer and other emerging work trends. Class activities will include:

  • Volunteer for one or more regular activities of your choice 2-3 hours/week3
  • Maintain a log that includes the dates, times and descriptions of your activities
  • Provide periodic oral descriptions and critiques of your volunteer activities
  • Read selected papers & take responsibility for leading class discussion of selected papers
  • Submit a Midterm and and final report that describes and critiques your volunteer activities and develops work improvement recommendations

    1The class will meet approximately every week depending on the class size
    2 www.volunteeringinamerica.gov
    3 The time spent volunteering may vary depending on the the type of location and type of activity