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Work is Not the Enemy
Posted on April 28, 2010 by Thao Nelson
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Have you seen "Dirty Jobs" on the Discovery Channel with Mike Rowe?  He's been promoting apprenticeships and even has a special page on his website.  Here's what he has to say about work and how steel-toed boots are back in fashion-

"Doesn’t it seem strange that we can have a shortage of skilled labor, a crumbling infrastructure, and rising unemployment? How did we get into this fix? Are we lazy? Our society has slowly redefined what it means to have a “good job.” The portrayals in Hollywood and the messages from Madison Avenue have been unmistakable. “Work less and be happy!” For the last thirty years we’ve been celebrating a different kind of work. We’ve aspired to other opportunities. We’ve stopped making things. We’ve convinced ourselves that “good jobs” are the result of a four year degree. That’s bunk. Not all knowledge comes from college. Skill is back in demand. Steel toed boots are back in fashion. And Work Is Not The Enemy."

Check out his website where he has a page for apprenticeship resources.  You can click on a state to find information on apprenticeships, vocational training and more.

Education Reform: At What Cost?


The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is currently a topic of discussion across this nation. Renewal of ESEA (formerly known as NCLB) will surely have a number of stakeholders weighing in on what is good for our children and, thusly, our nation’s future. Meanwhile, school districts in nearly every state have closed schools at all levels or slashed vital programs (i.e., career and technical education). Some, in fact, are considering going to a 4-day school week in order to cut costs and still deliver a minimum level of service!


Measuring success is difficult and often framed in business terms. To this end, Diane Ravitch’s recently published book suggests that we reconsider how we measure success within our K-12 system. Education is a public good similar to the service delivered by our police officers and fire fighters. Do we fire police officers or close police stations when the crime rate goes up? The point is that we should not judge teachers, students, and/or schools solely on one measure: standardized tests.


This author highly recommends that RAPs get involved in framing the discussion above (See link below for a model). Sooner or later, you will be dealing with the product of the K-12 systems mentioned above. Now is the time to speak-up or be prepared to deal with potential remediation issues in the future!


Registered Apprenticeship took center-stage on CNN’s ongoing “Where the Jobs Are” series last week.  This installment of the series, which highlights the experiences of employers and workers during the nation’s economic recovery, focused on a South Carolina-based Bosch Rexroth manufacturing program.  Through the program, apprentices work by night and attend Greenville Technical College (Greenville, SC) by day to gain advanced manufacturing skills.  The piece details the career opportunities Registered Apprenticeship provides and the benefits employers’ reap from training their own for the skills they demand.  The CNN segment also shows the changing face of today’s manufacturing worker, with companies now recruiting highly-skilled employees with advanced aptitude in math, communications and machining. 
Registered Apprenticeship’s ‘Earn While You Learn’ model is on full display as CNN takes a ‘day-in-the-life’ look at the experiences of a restaurant owner turned machinist who is working toward completion of his program.  Please post a comment on this great video as we'd love to hear your reactions and ideas on how to generate more coverage of your Registered Apprenticeship program.
Watch the Video Here. 

Survival Means Moving Your Cheese

Several years ago, a book hit the market that continues to maintain its best-selling spot on a number of charts: Who Moved My Cheese? Although it was a quick read, many of us did not heed its deep and meaningful message. Most of the jointly-trusted JATCs running RAPs are funded by means of cents per hour contributions garnered from work-hours. This author can count on one hand the number of programs that have not seen dramatic decreases in work-hours and, thusly, enrollment.

Despite this downturn, experts continue to make claims of an impending workforce shortage in the construction sector as the construction market bounces back in early 2012. As more workers from the Baby-boomer generation retire, the construction industry loses institutional knowledge daily! Accordingly, what has your JATC done to overcome or cushion the impact from the convergence of the Great Recession and the Great Exodus? In this author’s opinion, waiting for an upturn is a recipe for disaster. Being proactive…trying something new and different now may be the factor that saves your program, industry, and/or community in the future. To this end, click on this link to understand how one program “moved its cheese”.


Editor's Note:  Ron Leonard is our guest blogger.  He wrote an article about the benefits of Registered Apprenticeship and wanted to share it with our community.  Thanks Ron for plugging the CoP in your article.

Mike McGraw had always been an ardent advocate of apprenticeship training and had worked with me in recent years to promote Registered Apprenticeship locally to members of the Philadelphia Suburban Plumbers Association.   As a past president of the Pennsylvania Association of Plumbing Heating & Cooling Contractors (PAPHCC), he requested that I submit an article about Registered Apprenticeship for inclusion in the Spring issue of PA CONTRACTORS  - the official magazine of the PAPHCC.  

See Page 18 of the magazine for the article, titled, “The Registered Apprenticeship Program”.

Ron Leonard
Apprenticeship and Training Representative (ATR)
Office of Apprenticeship, U.S. Department of Labor