Career technical education, including construction, has made it to the top of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s agenda in California

21January2007

scbtc_buildingtrades_logo-1.JPGOne of the goals of this blog is to provide outreach to those interested in the opportunities that the construction industry can offer, but unfamiliar with or new to the industry itself. Past postings have highlighted the ACE Mentoring Program, which introduces high school students to construction careers, and I recently came across another great initiative underway in California’s Silicon Valley.

Check out the great article at MercuryNews.com entitled Blue Collar Jobs Gain Respect. A portion of the article can be found below:

“For two decades, as shop classes disappeared from middle schools and vocational education withered in high schools, Neil Struthers watched and worried. He was a lone voice warning about the growing disconnect between students without job skills and skilled construction jobs going without workers.

The ultimate vision for career technical education is a continuum of training and work, starting with exposure to careers in middle school, continuing with a blend of job skills and applied academics in high school, and then branching off to work or to advanced courses in community and four-year colleges.

Think of it not as a straight line from school to work but a circuit with loops in which students work summers in the trades, and adult workers go to school evenings, earning advanced certificates and learning to become estimators, contractors or site managers.

These career options are essential for the state’s economy and vital for Silicon Valley, too, where there’s a shortage not just of engineers with Ph.D.s, but also of workers to build the “clean rooms” to serve them. Those construction jobs pay good money, too.

Some pieces are years off, others are falling into place.

• With equipment donated by the building trades, Struthers has helped restart the dormant construction technology academy at Yerba Buena High in the East Side Union High School District. Over three years, the 54 students in the program will be exposed to all facets of building construction. Each summer, 25 students will be paid interns for school district contractors doing work funded by state and local school bonds. When they graduate, they can move ahead in the line for apprenticeships to become carpenters, electricians, plumbers or heavy machine operators, under agreements that Struthers has struck with the unions. Or they can continue on to college, perhaps for a four-year degree in construction management at Cal-Poly or San Jose State.”

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