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Editor's Note:  This report was submitted by Nora Carlton, Regional Executive Assistant, Florida Office of Apprenticeship.

The Collaboration for Success Clinic held in April 2010 was the start of a journey back from registered apprenticeship’s decade long isolation from Florida’s publicly funded workforce system and other potential partners. 

Below is an excerpt from the report:

"Both workforce and education in Florida speak different languages.  However, for the sake of the employer, workers and the economic and social success of the state both need to understand each other and work to form a true collaborative partnership. That is what the Collaboration for Success Clinic and this report is all about.  This is a beginning for Florida.

The learning and understanding between Workforce Florida and Registered Apprenticeship was profound. Each group as well as other stakeholders began to understand the challenges and opportunities that a partnership could bring to each other’s future success. The three most important challenges are organizational, funding and leadership."  Click here to read more about Florida's Action Clinic and their plans to collaborate for success.

Editor's Note:  Anita T. Reyes, State Director from the state of Georgia submitted this consortium proclamation to share with the RA community. 

On July 28, 2010, Georgia State Director Anita Reyes, as a member of the Georgia Energy and Industrial Construction Consortium (GEICC), met with and attended the formal signing by Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue the Proclamation proclaiming the Georgia Careers in Energy Week which is featured below.

On January 12 and 13, 2010, the Office of Apprenticeship (OA) held two listening sessions on three areas of focus facing Registered Apprenticeship over the next year.  The listening sessions, held for National Labor Leaders on January 12, 2010, and for Employers and Industry Associations on January 13, 2010, focused on Green Jobs, Healthcare, and Other High Growth Industries; Pre-Apprenticeship; and Partnerships with the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the Education system. In addition, on June 11, 2010, OA held one additional public webinar which specifically focused on Pre-apprenticeship.  As a follow up, OA has issued a report to highlight the comments, observations and major themes that surfaced during the sessions, which will be used to help guide its strategies around these key areas.  The report is now available to be viewed and downloaded here on the Community of Practice.

As many of may know by now, the Registered Apprenticeship community lost one of its own last month.  On June 24, Operating Engineers Local 302 apprentice Vanessa Downing, 26, was killed in a work-related accident in Seattle, WA.  Vanessa was working as a welder and apprentice on the Seattle waterfront at the time of the accident.  First and foremost, the Registered Apprenticeship community extends their deepest sympathies to Vanessa’s family, friends and co-workers.  The news of this tragedy shocked us all, and though many of us didn’t know her personally, her story has re-affirmed our commitment to providing safe training opportunities to all of our Registered Apprentices.  

We often refer to the Registered Apprenticeship community as a family, and in this case, our extended family has lost someone who represented all that is good and right with Registered Apprenticeship.  Vanessa’s life had its share of ups and downs.  She came to the Local Operating Engineers Local 302 as someone looking for a fresh start.  From all accounts, Vanessa dedicated herself to the job, and dove into her training with the same spirit that she had used to overcome her own personal struggles.  I encourage you to learn more about Vanessa’s determination to make a better life in the July 1 Seattle Times article that ran following her death.  

Through her efforts and the opportunities she received through IUOE Local 302 & 612’s Heavy Equipment Mechanic Apprenticeship, Vanessa had turned her life around, bought her first home and was weeks from completing her Apprenticeship to become a journey-level Heavy Equipment Mechanic.  She would have been only the second woman to complete the Local’s program under its current standards.  Friend Scott Bennett, who Vanessa attended program-related classroom training with said, “Everyone I’ve spoken with who met Vanessa said they were impacted in a positive way by her one way or another.”  Scott also told of how Vanessa had a habit of painting or marking her tools with pink paint as a way of ensuring none of her male counterparts would ever be tempted to borrow her tools.  Vanessa told him the trick worked “because no man would be caught with a pink tool in his toolbox.”

Last weekend, former Local 302 classmates and friends Josh Gepner and Scott Bennett, organized a Memorial Ride/Drive Benefit/Bike/Rod/whatever u got benefit in Bothell, WA to honor Vanessa’s life and help support her family through this difficult time.  The benefit ride and follow-up Bar-B-Que brought together an estimated 75-100 motorcyclists who led a mile-long procession that included pink construction ribbons tied to antennas and handlebars in honor of Vanessa.  The event raised over $3,700, with all proceeds going to Vanessa’s family.  The organizers wanted to thank all of the Trades in the area for their support and asked that we extend a special thanks to Tami St. Paul and Sandy Winters for helping make the event a huge success.  

Vanessa’s story hit home for so many of us because her journey was emblematic of what Registered Apprenticeship can do for anyone that is willing to commit to the training, long hours and hard work necessary to become a skilled journeyworker in their chosen field.  The safety of our apprentices is always a priority for any of our programs across all industries.  This tragedy has only increased our dedication to ensuring that every possible precaution is taken to avoid accidents like this one from happening again.  Vanessa Downing was an inspiration to all those who knew her and will remain our inspiration moving forward as we work to provide the safest, best training available to all of our Registered Apprentices. 

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has launched a Regional Clusters Initiative that focuses on accelerating small business growth and job creation through clusters that leverage and align a region’s economic, business and workforce assets.  Regional clusters are networks of organizations and businesses in a geographic area that grow through increased collaboration, efficiency and innovation.


SBA has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for entities that lead existing regional clusters. SBA intends to provide resources to 10-15 regional clusters nationwide to provide business training, counseling, mentoring, commercialization and technology transfer services, and other services that support the growth and development of small businesses.  The due date for proposals is August 13, 2010. 


SBA is requiring that proposals describe efforts to build and nurture public-private partnerships aimed at growing the cluster.  Key partners include, among others, workforce investment boards, community organizations, Registered Apprenticeship programs, institutions of higher education (including community colleges), and non-profit organizations.  Proposals must also identify the unique assets and competitive advantages in the region, including the educational and training programs designed to develop a skilled workforce for the cluster.


Although additional workforce development resources are not available through this RFP, SBA’s Regional Cluster Initiative will create opportunities for workers to find and retain good jobs in the selected regional clusters.  Therefore, the Employment and Training Administration encourages workforce investment boards and other workforce development organizations to partner with entities that will be submitting proposals for the Regional Cluster Initiative.


More information on SBA’s Regional Cluster Initiative is available at