Building/Construction

Time to Reinforce the Building Blocks of The American Dream

Successful nations, just like successful businesses, are built on three things: people, education and ideas. 

By opening our nation’s doors to people ready to build new lives and abide by the Constitution, the U.S. has become a stronger, more vibrant nation. By investing heavily in public education, the nation transformed both natives and newcomers into literate, numerate Americans ready to contribute to an advanced industrial economy. And by investing in scientific research, the nation combined and advanced new ideas — many from these new Americans — in new ways to build the most productive, prosperous nation the world has even seen.

However, these three pillars of the American dream — people, education and the investment in scientific research that is the wellspring of new ideas, new capabilities and new products — are all endangered.


Indiana Spends $1 Billion on Workforce Development Annually

Just after 4 p.m. on a recent afternoon, Neal Allman was cleaning up the work area around the Haas vertical machining center he'd been working at for the day. The mills, primarily used to machine-cut metal pieces, are a key piece of the advanced manufacturing industry and not enough Hoosiers know how to work them. He was also keeping an eye out for Gov. Eric Holcomb, who had just finished touring Vincennes University's Haas Technical Education Center, where Allman is in the sixth week of a 15-week course called Right Skills Now CNC Machining. 

Holcomb was kicking off a tour of similar facilities around the state, looking for examples of what the governor would like to see Indiana embrace as the state prepares to overhaul its workforce development initiatives next year. "You don't have to recreate something that's working, but you can expand on it," Holcomb said. "We're looking at 2018-19 as a pivotal time for the state of Indiana."

By the time Allman and his six classmates finish their course, they will have earned up to nine different industry credentials and will be ready to go to work operating a computer-controlled machine in an automotive, health care or other manufacturing facility. 


The Path Less Taken: Barriers to Providing Career and Technical Education at Community Colleges

This report produced by Diane Auer Jones for the American Enterprise Institute, provides discussion on the type of post-secondary degree programs perceptions and significance to earnings. Findings include:

-The earnings associated with post-secondary education vary significantly based on one’s major and career path, among other things.

-Some certificate and associate degree programs in technical and allied health fields at community colleges can result in higher earnings than some bachelor’s degree programs.

-Despite evidence that vocational sub-baccalaureate certificates and degrees have a relatively high payoff, liberal arts and general studies programs have experienced the most rapid growth in community college enrollments and credentials. This may partially explain the mismatch between graduates’ skills and the skills employers demand.

-Community colleges face tremendous structural and policy barriers when trying to create new or expand existing vocational programs, including funding allocation formulas, accreditation requirements, federal regulations, transfer-of-credit policies, and stigmatization of occupational and vocational programs.


Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning, Solutions for a Stronger Economy

America’s most famous youth apprentice, Ben Franklin (a printer’s apprentice at age 12), reputedly described the basic learning process of apprenticeship this way: “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” This aphorism fits 19-year-old New Orleanian Da’Jonae Curtis. Although she was valedictorian of her high school class in 2016, she had no interest in post-secondary education: “I knew that I didn’t want to go to school—I was just done with school.” Instead, Da’Jonae found Earn and Learn and is about to complete her job placement with Tulane’s HVAC department. “I was kind of skeptical [of HVAC work] at first. It was something I never thought about doing,” she says. But after almost eight months on the job, Da’Jonae is proud of the certifications she’s earned and looking forward to an externship. Da’Jonae describes what she likes about work-based learning: I like that it’s very hands on.


Career Tech Courses Becoming Core Subjects

The job market is shifting so that most traditional “trade” paths require a greater understanding of STEM courses and communication, requiring administrators and teachers to find more ways to incorporate this knowledge into career and technical education (CTE) tracts, District Administration reports.

•Traditional CTE pathways often now require post-secondary education, but the need for four-year degrees is diminishing as only about 23% of occupations require it — which means higher education institutions may need to spend more resources in promoting the idea of going to college.

•Students need to be exposed to a variety of career pathways in elementary and middle school so that they can begin thinking not only about their career goals but also about the courses they will need to get there, an approach that results in higher graduation rates.

 


BUILDS ACT - Building U.S. Infrastructure by Leveraging Demands for Skills

Act to ensure that workers are prepared with the skills needed for jobs—in fields such as construction, transportation and energy—that would be created by a major investment in infrastructure. Legislators on both sides of the aisle, have expressed support for a significant infrastructure plan to fix the country’s crumbling roads and bridges.

 

A recent study by the Center of Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University estimated that a $1 trillion infrastructure investment would create 11 million new jobs. Of these jobs, nearly half would require skilled job training beyond a high school level. The BUILDS Act promotes partnerships made up of local businesses and industry organizations, workforce boards, labor representatives and education and training providers to support workforce training programs in infrastructure-related jobs.


"Going Pro" in Michigan. State Agency's Join Resources to Promote CTE and Fill the Skills Gap

“Going PRO” is a Michigan campaign designed to elevate the perception of professional trades and to showcase opportunities in a variety of rewarding careers.

A sizable professional trades shortage exists in Michigan and is expected to continue through 2024. Professional trades will account for more than 500,000 jobs in the Michigan economy, and approximately 15,000 new job openings are expected annually in the state during that time.

Wages for professional trades occupations is 45 percent higher than other occupations – $51,000 is the median annual salary for these jobs!

Opportunities exist in a variety of emerging industries including IT, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, construction and automotive. And many of the career fields do not require a four-year degree.

Go Pro Michigan

"Confronting the CTE Stigma" Report from RCU at MSU

“Confronting the CTE Stigma” is a new report developed from statewide surveys conducted by the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State. Julie Jordan, director of the RCU, said studies indicate that Mississippi students in CTE programs graduate from high school at higher rates than their non-CTE peers. Additionally, CTE prepares students for middle skill-level jobs, “an employment niche where growth is projected to outpace both high- and low-skill occupations.”

In the first phase of the RCU’s study, slightly more than 400 Mississippi adults were interviewed about their attitudes toward CTE. Of that group:

—45 percent were unable to name a single CTE program offered by local schools;

—44 percent said students who were disadvantaged in some way—not college-bound, residing in poverty or having poor grades—would benefit most from CTE participation; and

—48 percent agreed CTE could benefit the college-bound.


Academic Test Mandates Hurt the Need to Train Future Tradesmen

Requiring that high school students spend more hours in classrooms to meet “academic standards” sacrifices, and has clearly impacted, the dire need to give students more opportunities to learn a trade. We’re talking producing more carpenters, welders, plumbers, electricians, masons, mechanics, woodworkers, and other skilled craftsmen.

And while we’re encouraged by state and federal legislation to enhance career and technical education — formerly known as vocational-technical education, or vo-tech — it’s also clear that nothing will change unless the powers-that-be at the state and U.S. Departments of Education accede to the change and stop forcing local school districts to adhere to their “academics first” policies or else.

Makerspaces: Simple and Cost Effective Projects to Build Your Own STEM Program

Every new classroom project must satisfy available resources within three dimensions: 1) time, 2) money and 3) physical space. The 2016 New Media Consortium Horizon Report for K-12 Education anticipates that makerspaces will be highly adopted in schools across the country within the next year. Maker education and makerspaces are the hot topic in STEM education right now.

Over the last year I have worked with many teachers in a professional development environment who are simultaneously enthusiastic about the idea of a makerspace, and frustrated by the limitations of space in their schedule, budget and classroom layout. We all want a makerspace, but how do we make that happen within these constraints?
Ready for the Good News?
You do not need wait for additional funding or a district-wide initiative to build your own classroom makerspace. Teachers can embrace makerspaces with any level of experience and with any available resources.

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