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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!

 

http://www.acteonline.org/tech_sep09.psi.html

 

Connecticut State Flag


Seventh Annual Apprenticeship Breakfast Held March 23 at State Capitol

Event honors “truly unique Connecticut contribution to the workplace”
 

WETHERSFIELD, CT- Continuing what has become an early spring tradition, legislative leaders, labor officials and community representatives gathered on March 23 at the State Capitol in Hartford to pay tribute to the state’s apprenticeship program during the seventh annual Apprenticeship Awareness Breakfast.

Sponsored by the Connecticut Joint Apprenticeship and Training Directors and the state’s apprenticeship community, this year’s program, titled “Apprenticeship: Green with Energy,” was held in Room 310 of the State Capitol.

Several speakers shared their experiences and talked about the job opportunities the program has provided for them. 

“Our Apprenticeship Breakfast gives us the opportunity to recognize this truly innovative program that has helped so many people ‘earn while they learn’ and also find their niche in the workforce,” explained Jack Guerrera, Connecticut Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Program Manager. “It also allows us to honor the late Congressman William Fitzgerald of Norwich, who represented Connecticut’s 2nd District, and is often referred to as the Father of Apprenticeship.”

A Norwich native, Congressman Fitzgerald represented the New London-Norwich area from 1937 to 1938. In addition to sponsoring the original legislation that led to the National Apprenticeship Act which was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, Fitzgerald also served as a Deputy Commissioner at the Connecticut Department of Labor, and as Mayor of Norwich.

Apprenticeship, is often referred to as ‘the other four-year degree,” for providing a successful combination of on-the-job training and classroom study.

“The development of skilled craft workers is of vital importance to the continued economic growth of our state and nation,” Guerrera noted.  “Our annual Apprenticeship Awareness Breakfast is a way for us to spread the word and educate the public about the job opportunities apprenticeship offers, and the benefits it provides to our state.”

In addition, apprentices and their sponsoring organizations were on hand to answer questions and provide additional information about available programs. Visitors also checked out a special photo exhibit on the upper concourse of the Legislative Office Building that was on display from March 15 to March 26. The posters depict apprentices involved in their individual trades and the many programs that provide participants with opportunities to “earn while they learn” skills that are highly marketable in today’s economy.

According to Guerrera, the state’s apprenticeship system offers career opportunities in more than 400 trades, including carpentry, plumbing and masonry. The Connecticut Department of Labor’s Office of Apprenticeship Training is responsible for registering apprentice programs that meet federal and state standards. "Apprenticeship has been a fixture in our state and on the national employment and training scene for more than 70 years and Connecticut residents can take pride in its success," he said.

In Connecticut, more than 3,000 employers and labor/management committees employ approximately 6,000 apprentices in registered apprenticeship programs.  


Additional information about apprenticeship can be found on the agency’s Web site at www.ctapprenticeship.com.

Submitted by John Griffin

jgriffbat@aol.com


The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently conducted a study of the (EESS) energy efficiency services sector workforce needs.  In its’ findings, there’s a shortage of formal training programs in energy efficiency and a need for more funding to train the trainers also and is a high demand right now. This growth is in part due to the funding for energy efficiency programs both federal and state budgets through the use of American Recovery Reinvestment Act Funding.

Berkeley Lab researchers decided to examine whether education and training programs were adequate to meet the workforce needs of the next ten years; and to define the energy efficiency workforce sector, including occupations, employers need and current education and training approaches, as this had not been explored in previous studies. Although this study began in 2008, prior to the passing of the Recovery Act; a lack of formal training programs could hamper the rate of expansion. The building and construction trades make up around 65-70% of the energy efficiency services sector.

For results of the study, click here to read the presentation.

The following recommendations were made as a result of the study:
• Providing targeted education and training programs for the construction and building trades.
• Coordinating and tracking training efforts particularly in states that do not already have well established  energy efficiency programs and to share best practices across states.
• Increase short-duration, applied trainings to augment on-the-job training for existing EESS workers and to introduce new entrants to the field.
• Increase funding to train the trainers.
• Prepare the next generation of EESS professionals.

Click here for a detailed summary of the report.


Kentucky's ten local WIA Boards Request for Proposals were sent out in November and December of 2009 asking that they partner with Registered Apprenticeship programs and bring forward innovative ideas on how to expand Pre-Apprenticeship/Apprenticeship participation.

After the Pre-Apprenticeship training phase the plan would be for the participants to graduate directly into Registered Apprenticeship programs.  The Registered Apprenticeship  programs are managed by the various partners.  The education/training of recruits is to start in April as well as request for initial funding draws.

Three Workforce Investment Areas in Kentucky were awarded a total of $718,954.  The Greater Louisville WIA received $250,000, the Green River WIA received $250,000 and the Northern Kentucky WIA received $218,954.  All three WIA’s have begun recruiting eligible persons into the Pre-Apprenticeship programs they established in partnership with Registered Apprenticeship programs and others in their geographic areas.

The Greater Louisville WIA expects to enter 72 persons in its two Pre-Apprenticeship training programs.  Twelve of those will be in an intensive Welding program and the other sixty in a general construction program co-developed with Louisville Building & Construction Trades Council.  The latter program will feed graduates into an existing program called the Louisville Pipeline.

The Green River WIA (Owensboro, KY) expects to enter 75 persons in a construction pre-apprenticeship program that will be closely tied to its partners in Electrical, Heat & Frost Insulators and general Construction Trades.

The Northern Kentucky WIA (Covington, Newport, Florence, KY) is shooting for 90 entrants in its Pre-Apprenticeship program.  Bricklayers, Electricians, Plumbers and Sheet Metal industries/unions are the main partners in this program.

"How Are The Local WIA Boards Partnering With Registered Apprenticeship In Your  City?"

U.S. Department of Labor
has awarded SER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc. and the International Training Institute for the
Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Industry approximately $5.3 Million in Energy Training Partnership grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) to train 580 people in Macomb, Wayne and Washtenaw counties for green jobs.   The Regional Energy Efficiency Partnership Training Program (REEPTP) will use approximately $4.3 million  grant funds  awarded to SER Metro-Detroit, Jobs for Progress, Inc. to coordinate several partnerships to provide combined academics with green occupational skills training, on the job training (OJT), employment or apprenticeship opportunities, and support services to 340 people in Wayne County.. The programs will partner with other organizations to create a pipeline of skilled workers for alternative energy opportunities in Southeast Michigan.

The 340 unemployed workers will be trained for green jobs or apprenticeship opportunities through five training tracks. Training will be offered at various Wayne County Community College District or union training locations. Program completers will be awarded a CCCD Convergent Technology Energy Efficiency Training Certificate and/or appropriate certifications for completing 391 hours of instruction, training or OJT requirements.
The grantee will prepare the unemployed and incumbent sheet metal workforce for careers in energy efficient building construction, retrofitting, and manufacturing through a series of customized training courses that address the skills gap of the targeted workforce. Training will feature three areas of instruction:
1) Advanced Building Information Modeling (BIM); 2) HVAC Testing, Adjusting, and Balancing (TAB); and, 3) Phenolic Installation. 

The International Training Institute for the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Industry will utilize about $1
million of almost $5 million it won nationally to prepare 240 unemployed and incumbent sheet metal
workers for careers in energy efficient building construction, retrofitting, and manufacturing through a series
of customized training courses that address the skills gap of the targeted workforce.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Energy Training Partnership grant program will help train workers to enter the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries, as well as green occupations within other
industries. The grants invest in partnerships of diverse stakeholders including labor organizations, public or
private employers in the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries, and the workforce system.
Bringing together the workforce expertise of these groups will allow grantees to develop programs that are
responsive to the needs of both workers and employers, and that provide participants with the support
needed to successfully complete training. 

"How Are ARRA Funds Being Utilized For Green Jobs Training In Your State?"