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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)}
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 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!

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.

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.