Southern Illinois University-Carbondale WED
Department of Workforce Education & Development
board members must recognize the need to listen and respond to employers'
messages concerning needed program changes.
Scheduling and staffing concerns should not be used as excuses not to
provide the training needed. In many cases, the need for program graduates, i.e.
entering employees, with better basic skills (reading, etc.) could be solved by
better articulation between general and workforce/vocational educators. Better
still, the problem could be solved by getting general educators also involved in
dialogues with persons from business and industry, since their students will
ultimately be entering the workforce.
If these types of meaningful dialogue and working relationships are
established, then it is likely that mutual respect will be built. This, in turn, leaves
the door open for you to more fully serve the employment community, while at
the same time better prepare your students. If employers respect your training
abilities, they will be more likely to get out of the training business themselves
and contract with you to provide additional on-the-job training or retraining
programs they require.
Just as a workforce/vocational-technical institution can provide the related
instruction component for on-the-job training, it can also develop program
offerings for apprenticeship training. Thus, contracts with organized labor should
be established. In an apprenticeship-training program, the apprentice is an
unskilled worker who is learning a skilled craft or trade, i.e., electrical, carpenter,
plumber, printer, machinist, under the direction of a skilled worker (journeyman)
and with the support of the union.
Apprenticeship training programs are typically two or more years in length,
depending on the skill requirement of the trade or craft. They are operated by an
employer, a group of employers, or a joint apprenticeship committee (JAC)
representing both the employer(s) and the union. Sometimes, a representative