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Picture of ApprenticesThe California Employment Traning Panel (ETP) recently awarded a contract to the Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California(CTCNC) to improve retention rates in the early stages of apprenticeship.

The CTCNC will target training for pre-apprentices in a program that will prepare individuals to enter the carpenter apprenticeship program.   At present, 50% of apprentices drop out of the program during the first year, and another 50% leave in the second year.  There are several reasons for the exodus of apprentices -- a drop in the hours of available work, problems with child care and transportation -- but there is also the issue of how ready apprentices are to enter the field when they begin the apprenticeship.  How much do they know about the tools, equipment, working conditions, and other key factors involved with being employed in construction? 

Leveraging Public and Private Funds

With the ETP funding, CTCNC plans to offer up to 192 hours of Commercial Skills training to 300 pre-apprentices.  Commercial Skills training is designed to give the pre-apprentices grounding in use of basic hand tools, power tools, and material handling.  Exposure to various aspects of the trade, including wood and metal framing, drywall  application, basic blueprint reading, basic roof structure, and concrete formwork, is included in the curriculum.Picture of Apprentices

In addition to the Commercial Skills training modules, an average of 108 hours of classroom/lab training will be provided.

CTCNC, a training fund jointly administered by the union and signatory employers, offers a stipend to pre-apprentices to help with basic support while participating in the pre-apprenticeship program.  The ETP funding will cover the costs of providing Commercial Skills training to 300 participants.  CTCNC is also working with local WIBs to match WIA-eligible particpants with supportive services.


State of California Employment Training Panel

Click here to find out more about the ETP.


Title, Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California

Learn more about the CTCNC here.






Ever watch "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel?  Then you might be familiar with Mike Rowe who was interviewed on Fox News this morning and plugged "Apprenticeships."  He said that this country has redefined the word work and only seems to emphasize professions that require a college degree. We seem to have forgotten about apprenticeship jobs that are done by men and women who go to work clean, and come home dirty.  People who do jobs that most of us don't want to do. These are the jobs that built this country, and without the rest of us would not be able to function.  Check out his website!
The following is a message from Kathy Sokolowski, Apprenticeship Training Representative.  Hear what she has to say about post-Action Clinic progress...

"Back in December of 2008, the first Action Clinic was held in Chicago, IL.  Originally conceived to promote integration and communication between state workforce agencies and registered apprenticeship stakeholders, the Action Clinics were aptly titled: “Collaborate for Success: Partnering with Registered Apprenticeship”.  Each state was tasked with assembling a team willing to embrace the vision and guide it along.  Chef Don Miller was invited to participate in the Action Clinic because both at Notre Dame and throughout the Michiana Community, he had for years, like his predecessor Chef Denis Ellis, tirelessly and exuberantly championed culinary apprenticeship excellence in both word and deed.

At the Chicago Action Clinic, seeds were sown that would grow and produce abundantly for the nation’s culinary apprenticeship community.  Inspired by the people, partnerships, and possibilities showcased there, and daring to act on his vision, Chef Miller, C.E.C., University of Notre Dame, would first encourage, then prod his national association, the American Culinary Federation* to avail themselves of the competitive grant opportunities available for innovative 21st Century Registered Apprenticeship initiatives.  

It was announced in August that the American Culinary Federation’s Education Foundation would be awarded $481,000 to revitalize affiliated registered apprenticeship programs throughout the country with 21st Century strategies.  The innovative strategies will be systemic and incorporate the use of interim credentials, technology-based learning and remediation, eco-friendly practices and enhanced competency-based training."

* “The American Culinary Federation Inc. (ACF), the authority on cooking in America since 1929, is a professional chefs’ association with more than 22,000 members in 230 chapters.  The American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF) is the educational arm and a separate entity under the umbrella of the association.”  {Source: abstract (attached)}
Alright, enough is enough.  I'm over this entire "recession" thing.  Call it whatever you want - "struggling economy", "economic downturn", "business cycle contraction", etc.  I found the following non-traditional definition that describes it well:

1) The term that people use for a depression when they are trying to avoid the fact that it actually IS a depression
2) When the economy sucks and you can't find a job because old people are working

Seriously though, I've had it.  My registered apprenticeship programs are suffering because employers are scaling back.  We have apprentices completing classroom requirements, but not coming close on their OJT because the work is drying up.  State governments are making huge budget cuts that are stretching state agency resources so thin that it's next to impossible to deliver the quality of service we should be providing to our customers.  You know things are bad when your supervisor starts becoming critical of a paperclip order.  "Why do you need these paperclips?  What is the business rationale behind it?  How might you streamline your paperclip needs with another department and perhaps share them?  Sure, there won't be enough to go around, but we are way over on our paperclip budget.  Would you like to transfer some funds from the staple budget to the paperclip budget?  Have you considered what would benefit the most people for the least amount of money?"  Oye vey.

I've actually instituted an unofficial moratorium on new programs until resources become available and I can hire field staff.  If an employer or organization comes to me and wants to develop one, then I will work with them on it, but I am certainly not circulating around the state like I did last year, trying to drum up new business.  This way, I can refocus my efforts on strengthening the programs we already have through integration efforts with other workforce development partners. Meanwhile, I will keep the faith that one day Registered Apprenticeship will get its day in the sun and a few extra dollars will be thrown our way.  I'll keep praying to Hardhatius, the Greek God of Apprenticeship and Porkiana, the Goddess of Plentiful State Budgets.  You've never heard of them?  Porkiana is step-sister to Athena, Goddess and Protectress of Commerce, Industry and Education.  Hardhatius is a cousin-twice-removed to Hermes, God of Trade, Profit, Merchants and Travellers.  Didn't know that, did you?  I am nothing if not informative.


The Aspen Institute's Workforce Strategies Initiative recently conducted a nationwide census project aimed at pre-apprenticeship programs in the construction trades. Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the survey explored the number, geographic location, and scope of construction pre-apprenticeship programs. To build on this work, WSI has received a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation to interview a select group of leaders from some of the nation's most successful pre-apprenticeship programs. The results of these interviews will provide a more in-depth analysis of successful program models and promising practices in pre-apprenticeship programs. In conjunction with the results from the survey, the interview results ultimately will provide decision-makers and stakeholders with a picture of several different approaches to pre-apprenticeship programs and strategies across the U.S.

To access the full report, click here.

I recently learned about an interesting partnership close to my backyard between the Pine Point School in Stonington, Connecticut (an independent school) and the Mystic Seaport Museum's educational arm.  Students at the school have the opportunity to participate in a six-week immersion "apprenticeship" in maritime and related crafts and trades at the Museum, under the guidance of master mentors.  Participating students also conduct primary source research in the Museum Collection, and give presentations about their learning experiences to their peers and teachers.  This program has also been replicated for area public schools as a new program called "A Day in 1876."  You can watch a YouTube video about the Pine Point/Mystic Seaport partnership here, and more information about both immersion programs is available here.

Though these programs are obviously not formal pre-apprenticeships, I think it's exciting to see the apprenticehip model being used for experiential learning in public and private schools.  I'm wondering if any of our CoP members from Connecticut or Rhode Island are familiar with these programs?  Or if any of you are engaged in similar efforts elsewhere in the country?  We'd love to hear from you!

CoP Continues to Grow
Posted on September 23, 2009 by Chad Aleshire
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Just wanted to let everyone know of two recent additions to the Community of Practice Resources pages that may be of interest.


# 1 is in relation to the news release Thao Nelson shared with us on ODEP awarding cooperative agreements to promote the development of innovative models of providing inclusive registered apprenticeship training to youth and young adults with disabilities.


In support of that announcement, ETA has issued Training and Employment Notice (TEN) 10-09, “Toolkit and White Paper on Improving Transition Outcomes of Youth with Disabilities through Apprenticeship.”


# 2 is a link to an article Kenya Huckaby blogged about on September 16.  That article has been added to our Resources Page under Education and Outreach Materials – Registered Apprenticeship Publications.  Read it here: Registered Apprenticeship: Stepping Up to the President’s Challenge.


I used the GI Bill when I was discharged from the military some 40 years ago after serving in Vietnam and coming home a Disabled Veteran, and sought help from the VA for Vocational Rehab and GI bill Benefits.  I became a carpenter apprentice and received GI Bill benefits which gave me a few extra dollars while being trained.

GI Bill Apprenticeship and OJT Program.  The following will guide you on the use of the GI Bill On-the-Job Training and Apprenticeship Program and explain the recently increased 2008-2009 payment rates.

  • If you are a veteran or currently in the guard or reserve, the On-The-Job Training (OJT) Program offers you an alternative way to use your VA (GI Bill) education and training benefits. The following is a summary of these GI Bill alternatives.
  • When you are trained for a new job, you can receive monthly training benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in addition to your regular salary. This means that you can receive up to $990.75 a month ($237.75 for Reserve/Guard) tax-free, on top of your regular salary! That's over $12,000 in cash benefits over two years, for training in an OJT or apprenticeship training program.
  • VA pays veteran GI Bill participants on a scale depending on the amount of time they are enrolled in the program. For example the program currently pays $990.75 a month for the first six months of training, $726.55 for the second six months of training and $462.35 for remaining training.
  • VA pays GI Bill Selected Reserve participants on a similar scale but at the following reduced rates; $237.75 a month for the first six months of training, $174.35 for the second six months of training and $110.95 for remaining training. Selected Reserve participants.

Qualifying Jobs

  • To qualify, your job must meet the following criteria:
  • You must be supervised at least 50 percent of the time.
  • Job training must lead to an entry-level position. (Management training programs do not qualify.)
  • You must be a full-time paid employee — not on commission.
  • Your training must be documented and reported.
  • You cannot have previous experience job experience in that field.
  • You must be recently hired (within one to two years).
  • The job must require at least six months training to become fully trained.
  • The employer may be private, local or state government.

Companies Who Participate in the Apprenticeship Program

  • Pirelli Tire Co.
  • Proctor & Gable Co.
  • Merck Pharmaceuticals
  • Cessna Aircraft
  • Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.
  • Lockheed Martin Corp.
  • Bell South
  • World Toyota
  • Comcast
  • Pratt and Whitney Engine Co.
  • Law enforcement (police, sheriff, State Patrol)
  • Dept. of Corrections (prisons, detention centers)
  • Local Fire Departments


  • You may be eligible if you are eligible for the GI Bill either under the Active Duty (Veteran) or Reserve GI Bill programs and:
  • You are no longer on active duty
  • You were recently hired or promoted
  • You left active duty less than 10 years ago or
  • You are currently a member of the Guard or Reserve (Reserve GI Bill)
  • So, if you are qualified for the GI Bill and you have started a new job or apprenticeship program, you should apply for this little known GI Bill benefit. In some cases, the VA will even pay retroactively for OJT from the past 12 months.
  • Note: You may not receive GI Bill OJT benefits at the same time you receive the GI Bill education benefits.

Take the Next Step

Your next step should be to contact your nearest VA Regional Office or local State Approving Agency (SAA). Your SAA will help you get started on the process and answer any questions you may have.

Related Links

New GI Bill, Not Michael Vick

FRA Names 2009 Scholarship Winners

More Than 600 Military Kids Awarded Scholarships

Post 9/11 GI Bill Application Process

New GI Bill Transferability Options Announced

New Post-911 GI Bill Calculator

Sound Off...What do you think? Join the discussion...


Check out this great article on Registered Apprenticeship in this month’s Techniques magazine- Registered Apprenticeship: Stepping up to the President's Challenge.

Techniques targets over 30,000 teachers and school administrators.  In addition, this publication reaches the Career and Technical Student Organizations; in some cases these students are also members of Future Business Leaders of American, and Future Farmers of America.

Editor's Note:  Our guest blogger is John Gaal, Director of Training & Workforce Development Carpenters' District Council and was a panelist at the Action Clinics this past year.  Check out what John has to say about the World Skills event he attended...

A little more than one week ago, I had the honor and privilege of attending the World Skills 2009 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. What an experience! The opening day of competition was Wednesday, September 2. Local news stations claimed upwards of 150k people in attendance. With nearly 900 participants and over 50 countries represented, secondary and post-secondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) students represented their industries proudly! In my opinion, there were no losers.

The World Team from SkillsUSA was made up of 16 students…three of which came from the ranks of Registered Apprenticeship. Kudos to the United Association (Pipefitters, Plumbers, etc.) and their representatives. More specifically, congratulations to Mr. Joe Young for earning a Silver Medal in Welding. Once again, I cannot stress the importance of linking secondary CTE students to post-secondary Apprenticeship Programs. We have the US President and Secretary of Education touting the value of CTE as a post-secondary education option…it's time for the Registered Apprenticeship Community to seize the opportunity!   

Please see the photos below for a taste of the eclectic atmosphere.

Rich Davy, Senior Field Representative from Minnesota saw materials for an economic development campaign called- "The 3/50 Project" Saving the Bricks and Mortars our Nation was Built On.

Rich is working on communication strategies about apprenticeship and thought that this was an excellent example for economic development and is the kind of approach that could be used as well for workforce development/apprenticeship.

Does anyone know about this campaign or who was responsible for this initiative including the communications or advertising firm?

This short video of electrician apprentices was interesting.  I enjoyed seeing how the apprentices were able to have so much hands on training.  As an apprentice myself, I know that the hands on factor is the best way to learn.  In these types of fields you can read all the books you want to on a given topic, but until you actually put that knowledge into real motion it is hard to grasp what you are learning.  Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that the books are not helpful, but hands on experiences allow you to think, feel and do all at the same time.

Tori Huggins

Let's meet Clay Kubicek
Posted on September 04, 2009 by Thao Nelson
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There's been several blogs recently about employers and what's in it for them.  I wanted to introduce you to one of our strong employer partners- Clay Kubicek who works for Crossland Construction Company as the Education Director.  Clay also is an active member of the Kansas State Apprenticeship Council and Industry representative for the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) Workforce Development Committee.

I met Clay a couple of months ago at the Kansas Action Clinic and his enthusiasm and passion for Registered Apprenticeship was contagious.  He made his case to the audience about why Crossland Construction embraces RA as one strategy to build their workforce.  Below are his thoughts about the clinic-

"The clinic managed to generate an numbers of ideas. It was informative. It was useful to see the big picture.  What is the next step? I have made a posting on what I feel is the need to create some consistency of expectations. Hopefully, some discussion will ensue.  I am looking forward to our apprenticeship council meeting this month to get more input on reactions from the clinic."

Stay'll hear more from Clay.
I came across this article in Business Cornwall, which announces a new partnership between the U.K.'s National Apprenticeship Service and, an online social network that connects mentors and learners in a variety of topical areas.  Through this partnership, the NAS aims to provide apprentices, and those interested in apprenticeship, with one-on-one coaching and mentoring from other apprentices and from individuals who have completed apprenticeships.  Here is the direct link to the apprenticeship section of the horsesmouth network.

It is always so exciting to see how others are using online communities of practice and other collaborative social learning networks to support both professional and personal development in innovative ways.  I would love to hear about state and local colleaugues here in the U.S. that are using "Web 2.0" social learning tools in their particular Registered Apprenticeship programs.  Please share your efforts here on the CoP so that we can all hear more about your efforts and their results!