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Apprenticeships: A Rigorous And Tested Training Model For Workers And Management

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Jon: I once heard the HR director of a Fortune 500 company privately explain why, from a business point of view, the problem is one of deunionization (while also saying that no business leader would admit this on the record). Yes, there are substantial returns to this investment, but without a union to negotiate broad participation, a large investment in training also carries a risk to individual employers. All a competitor has to do is offer a portion of what you're spending on such programs as a wage bonus to workers trained by you, and you've lost both your investment and your return on investment. Federal/state support reduces this private risk, while maintaining the public economic benefits.

There is an excerpt from my book that is an excellent addition to this topic! The book is entitled Battlegrounds: America's War in Education and Finance A View From the Front Lines. Here is the excerpt: High school needs to be transformed as well. The idea of creating a “well rounded” student should be created at the secondary level. I like the fact that there a large number of classes available to students. In addition, I also like the fact that there are many extracurricular activities that are offered to students. However, I think that students need to localize and specialize in the industries that they are interested in. Exposure is everything. Secondary education should not only offer instruction and training, but internships and the ability to work or experience the industries should become mandatory. It is essential here to mention that this is the perfect opportunity to reinforce the connection between education and industry. All industries should create a mentorship program that works with our students. It is important to establish the relationship at this stage. Once a student is exposed to an industry then only good things can come from it. Students can build these relationships and carry them over into the program at a four year college or university. I need to stress involvement. I need to stress the need for student involvement in the educational process. Often times, politicians, parents, teachers and administrators forget these simple facts. If you want students to buy in to a system, then as the major stakeholders, they must be involved in the process! I firmly believe this!

A recently retired public school teacher, I have been involved in many discussions with my peers regarding the lose of junior high school and high school vocational programs for students for far too many years. Teachers have so much knowledge that politicians refuse to recognize and we are so willing to share. No child is the same. When you expect them to be, many children will be left behind. When they are left behind, our country will get left behind. Ask teachers how to help "all" students and you will get all the answers you need.

Good article. Very well written. I'm not sure why apprenticeship programs require federal/state support to be successful. Isn't the return on apprenticeship programs sufficient to be attractive on private grounds alone?

Unfortunately, my culinary arts program was cut and I was not able to establish an apprenticeship program for my students. However, in the process of trying I was not shot down by the community but by my campus and district. Even though I was being pushed to start an apprenticeship program by my director at the end I was denied by school administrators. The main reason given for not approving students to participate in an apprenticeship program was due to liability. I did present my superiors with an established program outline created by the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation, in which schools from Austin and Dallas areas were using. Perhaps it was the fact that they knew my program was closing and did not want to invest time or money. Regardless I believe apprenticeship programs are important for CTE. They allow students to gain real world experiences after learning the skills needed in the classroom. This also allows students to practice, maintain, and go further (associates degree, BA, etc.) with their skills. I do not want to stereotype but the majority of our students are not 4 year college material. They can still be successful in life by taking other avenues such as starting with an apprenticeship program in high school. Also, parental involvement is an important factor in advocating these programs. They have more of a voice than teachers and can help in this movement.

" All a competitor has to do is offer a portion of what you’re spending on such programs as a wage bonus to workers trained by you, and you’ve lost both your investment and your return on investment. " What's a contract?

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