Leading-Practice Workforce Development Programs
Help us grow a comprehensive library of leading-practice workforce development and training programs. To add a new program, use the “Submit a Program” button and complete the easy, step-by-step process. The submitted program will be reviewed and approved by the CURT admin before it is available in the listing below.
|Performance Contractors, Inc. ‘The Right Fit’ Craft Evaluation Centers||Performance Contractors, Inc.||2019-07-22||Our mission can be summed up by our corporate motto: “Taking it to the next level.” This means going beyond excellence – it means working smarter, working harder, and going further than anyone else in the industry. Performance provides value not only to its clients, but also to its employees in terms of a safe work environment and superior training opportunities. As our industry grows and it becomes more difficult to fill craft positions, it is important that we focus not only on filling labor requisitions but filling them with the highest quality, most qualified candidates possible. Our dedicated Training Department focuses on recruiting and training high potential candidates then furthering them in their careers. Performance Contractors sponsors 54 high schools, partners with over 40 technical colleges, has established relationships with an extensive list of military institutions, and are members of 7 ABC Training Institutions. We have regional training coordinators in our Southeast LA, Baton Rouge, LA, Houston, TX, and Mobile, AL offices. Full time Craft Evaluators at each of our offices test and screen recruits to ensure that their skills are properly classified. We also employ a full time Military Workforce Development professional focused on hiring, training, and retaining former and current military members, and our Veteran’s programs have been Nationally recognized for excellence since 2013. We also have a team of full-time foreman trainers that travel to each jobsite delivering soft skills training and administering our “Building America Careers” Mentorship program. This program has proven to be a successful and invaluable tool for employee advancement and certification. Performance Contractors is accredited by NCCER and with 7 testing locations, Performance gives over 1000 NCCER assessments annually. What’s new? Our entire hiring and onboarding process has been tooled and streamlined to ensure that only the highest quality well qualified candidates make it to our jobsites. The process accurately and efficiently evaluates a candidate’s skill level and offers them a roadmap to further development and certification. Seasoned industry professionals guide candidates through interviews, written tests, and hands-on real-world performance evaluations. The process continues on the jobsite where certifications and required training - both hard and soft skills - are tracked, audited and kept current by a dedicated staff. This process ensures that Performance Contractors assembles the finest craft team in the industry and that our employees never stop learning. In addition, we have constructed and equipped new HR Training facilities designed specially to facilitate this mission. Evaluation centers were fully outfitted in all four regions to asses Carpenters, Rodbusters, Boilermakers, Pipefitters, Riggers, Ironworkers, Millwrights, Welders, Crane Operators and others. We also built a mobile unit that can be deployed to more remote jobsites. A full description and supporting documentation will be provided via this CURT award application process.||Workforce Development - Training & Retention||Misclassification of Labor – Putting the right people in the right places the FIRST time.||One of the most important issues that our evaluation program addresses is misclassification of labor. While it is natural for candidates to wish to be classified and paid above their skill level, it is severely detrimental to the safety and productivity of the individual and their coworkers as well as the client and project. When an unqualified employee makes it to the jobsite, it doesn’t do anyone any favors and puts people and productivity at risk. Having a highly qualified evaluator assess candidates before a position is offered minimizes these risks. It further serves the individual by giving them guidance on what they need to focus on and how they can attain the next level of competence. Our written and hands on tests were designed to be easily varied between candidates so that the tasks and answers could not be simply memorized. Our reclassification rate went from 17% in 2017 down to 11% in 2018 which shows a positive and encouraging trend as it means candidates are being more accurate while applying for positions knowing the stringent tests they will have to pass to make it to the jobsite. Candidates would rather invest in their careers by starting at a lower classification with Performance Contractors and learn the craft more thoroughly before advancing.||Setting expectations and a career path with candidates.||From time to time we encounter craft professionals coming from other companies who have been trained ineffectively or incompletely in their craft and must be reclassified during the evaluation process. For example, an employee who was an A-class Journeyman at their previous company, may only test to the standard of a B-class at ours. When this happens, it is sometimes difficult for a candidate to accept a perceived demotion because they’ve been previously classified as a journeyman at a former employer. Our evaluators use their industry knowledge to identify areas for growth by explaining exactly where deficiencies are and how they will be overcome. They are not rushed in this process and are able to dedicate as much one on one time as the candidate requires. They introduce our mentorship and craft training programs and how they will benefit the new employee, as well as getting them in contact with our regional training coordinator to enroll in craft training or upgrade training where needed. This allows the new hire to view working for Performance as an investment in themselves and their career. Most candidates accept this alternate position and hit the jobsite hopeful for their future in the industry.||Having the correct facilities and equipment is key!||The largest barrier to the craft evaluation process was the development, building and equipping of the facilities. When the program was first developed and implemented evaluations were conducted in our parking lot under a small tent and inside an adjacent shipping container. While it was effective, it was not comfortable for the employee nor evaluator and took a lot of extra effort to manage. Physical security of the equipment and modules was also a challenge. The plan was always to start with what we had and then build better facilities. To fully roll out and implement the program, three new personnel and hiring centers were purpose built and others were retrofitted. These facilities are specifically designed to maximize the efficiency of the hiring and evaluation process as everything needed in most cases is under one roof. The equipment used in the testing facilities is the exact same as used in the field to enable realistic situations to be created and provide more accurate evaluations. We also invested in state of the art Virtual Reality Crane simulators for the centers. By making the commitment and investment to build out new facilities we have made the process much more secure, comfortable, efficient, and most importantly, consistent.||The ‘Human’ in ‘human resources’||Our onboarding and evaluation program is set up to look at the employee as person, an asset, and an investment instead of a body on a job. This sentiment comes from top management and is amplified by our staff working the program from start to finish. When selecting an evaluator, great care is taken to choose an individual who not only has a full career worth of on the job experience but also the right personality for the mission. By the end of our craft evaluation process, new employees know that when they hire on with Performance Contractors they are not just hiring in for this job, but a way to further their career. Having the evaluation program allows us to better gauge where an employee’s career is currently as well as which direction it should go. Time is taken during the process to lay out a road map of success for the individual, and clearly defines a ladder for them to climb. The extra time candidates spend with our craft evaluators makes both the employee and field management more confident in what to expect immediately upon arrival at the jobsite as well as in the future. It is also a force multiplier for jobsite safety as employees arrive with hands on experience of the site-specific required regulations and PPE.||Building America Careers Mentorship Program||Performance Contractors has done an incredible job of training and recruiting new and existing employees for years and feel we lead the industry in these two categories. Convincing top talent to give your company a shot is one thing, but creating loyal employees is another. Our company had grown at such an exponential rate that some of the field employees felt like they were getting lost in the shuffle. We created the ‘Building America Careers’ Mentorship program to address that sentiment and bring the family atmosphere back to our field employees. The Mentor Program focuses on recognizing and rewarding valuable employees and moving them up the ladder of success. General Foremen and Supervisors are charged with recognizing the talents within crew members and guiding them to take the next steps in their career. This initiative also challenges each General Foremen and Supervisor to raise the bar in safety, quality, and productivity for themselves and their crews. Every Month, employees are rewarded and recognized for their advancements and efforts to the entire company. The BAC Mentor Program addresses retention by investing in both parties; the Mentor and the employee. Our Mentors are rewarded for training and certifying their employees, but the craft employee wins as well. Once certified, they are eligible for promotions and additional pay.||Virtual Reality Crane Simulators - New technologies create new opportunities to develop the workforce.||Being a leader in workforce development in a competitive industry means embracing new ideas and technology. We recently invested in ITI Virtual Reality Crane simulation systems for our evaluation centers, and they are already proving valuable. The systems use VR technology to provide a platform where we can accurately and efficiently asses the skills and techniques of crane operators. They also provide a safe environment for training and skills upgrading in house. With over 150 different courses and tasks, they can recreate real world situations and lifts that prepare our employees to work in any eventuality, even sudden weather events. As an example, a young operator came in looking for employment. He had the certificates required but very limited seat time, which is a major hurdle for new operators. He seemed like someone that we would want to invest in but had to be up to standard to earn a seat. Our evaluator put him on the simulator, ran him through various tests, and he performed exceptionally. The evaluator called site supervision and explained the situation. Now, after a month on the job, all accounts say that he was a good hire and is performing well. Without the means to test this employee or an evaluator willing to spend a little extra time with him, we could have missed out on a great opportunity.||The first step is to get buy in from superiors and identify passionate employees to drive the program forward. Without support and people that care, the program will be much less effective.||The second step is to establish goals and develop a plan of implementation, then get started. Don’t wait for everything to be perfect, rather start with what you have and shape the program as you go.||The third step is to track progress so that changes and tweaks can be made to improve the program’s performance over time.||David Theriot|
|Winning the Talent War||Interstates||2019-07-26||“Winning the Talent War” encompasses Interstates’ desire to always pursue a better way as well as to continue to provide opportunities for our people—current employees and future generations. Our industry is facing an unprecedented talent shortage. In order for Interstates to thrive in the current environment, we need to position ourselves to attract, retain, engage, and develop talent as we never have before. To accomplish this, we have focused on three primary areas: First, we increased our focus beyond typical recruiting grounds. We actively engage students as young as grade school in the trades, continuing up through CTE (Career and Technical Education) partnerships among Interstates, high schools, and technical schools. We push for active partnerships in each of our primary office locations and drove the creation of a CTE (Career and Technical Education) partnership at our corporate headquarters in Sioux Center, Iowa, between the local high schools and Northwest Iowa Community College. We even invested in a $3.1 million building to host CTE education on our Interstates Sioux Center campus. Second, we created an organizational strategy focused on empowering and equipping our current employees to understand and drive development. We want to be a learning and developmental organization. To support this effort, we created an internal tool, the Talent Card, which employees and managers use to openly communicate about career journey desires, provide developmental feedback, as well as review safety and training opportunities. Third, we reinforced culture, the Interstates Core, to ensure a meaningful and engaging employee experience. The Interstates Core consists of our core values—Building relationships through: quality, dependability, integrity, trust, and family. The Interstates Core also includes our client vision of Understanding Needs and Delivering Results, as well as the reasons we are in business, which are Providing Opportunities for Our People, Making a Difference with Our Clients, and Pursuing a Better Way. To bolster and promote our core, we invested in an employer branding effort called Interstates. Let’s Build. that we reinforced internally as well in our communities through team service events and community engagement opportunities. One example of Interstates. Let’s Build. is our partnership with the Sioux Center Chamber of Commerce and the Classroom to Careers program. Local educators enroll in this program and partner with local businesses to learn more about employment skills and career opportunities for students. There are currently 17 educators and business people participating in this program. Our focus on future generations, our drive to have a learning organization, and our commitment to sustaining our culture is what will not only help Interstates Win the Talent War but as more construction companies focus on workforce development, we will all be more successful together as more people are attracted to construction careers.||Workforce Development - Training & Retention||CTE Partnerships||We learned a lot over the past year from starting a CTE partnership with local high schools in Northwest Iowa and Northwest Iowa Community College. A valuable lesson learned was to establish role clarity early and revisit it often. For example, over the past year there have been misunderstandings regarding who was responsible for promotional opportunities for potential students. We are learning from these situations and are doubling down on our efforts to make sure this CTE program thrives and expands over the next 50 years or more.||Getting Leader Buy-in on the Value of Developing Others||A crucial component of the “Winning the Talent War” program is the mindset of our leaders. Our field leaders and project managers are trained to execute at the highest level for the client, and we want that to continue. At the same time, we know that to meet our growing organization’s heavy leadership demands, our leaders need to believe and actively engage in the development of others. We have learned that demonstrating the importance of development is critical. For example, we spend time connecting the dots on the growth we can experience with leadership bench strength or the pain we will feel if we don’t have employees and leaders developed. We have many stories of the former and the latter, and we ask leaders to share during peer issue processing what is working and isn’t working. This builds a common understanding of why leaders should invest their time in providing experiences, having career journey conversations, working through skill development, doing general well-being check-ins, etc., even with employees who are on their job-sites for a shorter time period.||Leaders Learn Best from Each Other, So We Need to Provide Time and Space for Them to Be Together||During Interstates’ annual leadership training held for crew leaders, foremen, and superintendents, we have implemented a portion called Issue Processing. Individuals bring a challenge they are currently facing (generally client, employee, or contractor related), and the group comes together to give guidance on next steps and how to reach a favorable outcome. Throughout this process, the group ensures that the leader is truly figuring out the actual problem, and not missing a more significant issue that has contributed to the current situation. At the conclusion of the process, the employee picks the top three suggestions in order to move forward by a certain date. The program is set up so the employee who owns the issue has to report back to the group with the outcome and status of the issue. This process holds the employee accountable and has the added benefit of letting the entire group learn from each other’s experience.||Live Out Your Values—The Interstates Core Value to Take Care of the Whole Employee||We believe the best way to ensure the inclusivity of our culture is through our core values. When new employees join Interstates, the first thing they learn are our values. As onboarding facilitators, we do more than just read these out loud – we talk through what each core value means from the new employee’s vantage point and what it means to us. We have incorporated a session into our leader training entitled, “Interstates Core Value, what does it mean for you?” To live out our values, they have to continually be reviewed and discussed. Our core values reflect how we treat our people, they don’t stop when the work day is completed, and they encompass the whole employee. This dedication to the whole employee is displayed in the financial training we provide. Apprentices in the 2nd and 4th year of the program go through a mandatory financial class where they are taught basic financial principals related to buying a home, buying a vehicle, retirement investing/saving, and credit card debt. The financial class has been incorporated into the Foreman- and Superintendent-level classes as well. At this stage, we bring in a financial advisor that any field leader can meet with, free of charge. In these sessions, the financial planner will review any financial matter and provide guidance for the employee.||Kill the Performance Review—Move to More Frequent Coaching Conversations||One of our most successful development approaches is the way in which we conduct performance evaluations. We recently moved away from a formal, annual evaluation and performance review and, instead, have focused more on what we call “Quarterly Coaching Conversations.” With the use of our Talent Card, employees and their supervisors meet once a quarter to discuss the employees’ performance and focus on a particular topic. These topics are communicated company-wide by the Organizational Development team and include issues such as feedback, training opportunities, goal setting, etc. In addition to these quarterly conversations, we have also found success in having face-to-face check-ins to see how employees are doing in regard to both work and their personal lives. As part of this process, key leaders have one-on-one conversations with all craft employees on an annual basis. This format provides employees with direct feedback regarding their growth and development and also gives our key leaders an opportunity to check in with employees and their family members. During this meeting, we verify that the employee understands the current benefits we provide (e.g. our insurance options and 401K retirement plan options), and inquire to see if there are other ways we can support the employee, both professionally and personally.||Teach Leaders the Business and Industry Imperative of Developing Others||Organizations should spend time helping leaders understand why it is vital for the industry and their own company that they take the time to develop other people. Spending time developing someone’s career is not only a great retention tool but also a proven recruitment method. When people see that a role in construction isn’t just a job but can be an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding career in the industry, word spreads. Additionally, organizations need to teach leaders not to become discouraged if they don’t see their personal investment come to fruition. The employees they invest in will likely move jobs or may even move on from Interstates, but leaders should feel pride in the investment they made in someone’s career. This message has resonated well with our leaders due to the high number of “boomerangs” or returning employees who, after leaving and returning to Interstates, are committed employees. We also continue to support Interstates alumni when they reach out for information on our Winning the Talent War program because they want to implement something similar at their new organizations.||Leaders should align on investing time and resources for development. If they use a strategic facilitation process to determine their implementation areas to Win the Talent War, they will have buy-in moving forward. Leaders need to do the heavy lifting to make workforce development part of the culture and day-to-day operations, not something driven by HR alone. To replicate our program, a key step, after identifying your specific focus areas, would be to find a user-friendly tool (i.e., system/app) that leaders and employees can use to track development—from career journey desires, skills to achieve, or trainings that have been completed.||A strong second step would be to identify gaps in roles, and then think long term: form partnerships with grade, middle, and high schools and technical schools. Creating interest in the construction industry through CTE programs and efforts to educate and engage students has the added benefit of promoting brand awareness in your communities. For the same reasons, industry stakeholders should start an apprenticeship program and formalize internship programs for key positions, such as project coordinators.||A third step is equipping your leaders with the skills necessary for fostering psychological safety. When employees feel safe, they are comfortable to say what they need to say regarding their career paths. Leaders can then give specific, timely coaching advice or feedback. For this to work, the leader must have a mindset that acknowledges developing others is a business imperative for continued success. Leaders must be trained on how to coach, empathize, create psychological safety, and empower employees to take ownership of their developmental journeys.||Interstates has built a library of testimonial videos to aid in the recruiting and retention of employees||Interstates has built a library of testimonial videos to aid in the recruiting and retention of employees||Interstates has built a library of testimonial videos to aid in the recruiting and retention of employees||Benj Van Donge|
|Skills Exploration Days aims to inspire junior high students to explore their skilled trade talents and interests during their education journey||Skills Canada Alberta||2019-08-02||Skills Exploration Days is an opportunity for over 600 teachers and junior high students (grades 7-9) to participate in an authentic and meaningful skilled trade and technology career exploration experience. Building on the Maker Day model, the goal of the day is to encourage the use of empathy through design thinking, inquiry, making, and experiential learning. Using the videos, Prezi presentations and worksheets provided on the Skills Exploration Days website, students across Alberta are introduced to the 5 phases of the design thinking process – empathy, define, ideate, prototype and test. Prior to attending Skills Exploration Days, teachers are required to facilitate the empathy, define and ideate phases during their regular class time. The design thinking process begins by introducing students to a design challenge, which is a real-life scenario/problem that encourages students to use inquiry and problem based learning to design a solution. Teachers also use the human-centered design thinking activity to help guide their students through the first 3 phases of the design thinking process where they will not only solve the design challenge problem, but will design a solution with real-life purpose that is based on the wishes and needs of others. The last step in the classroom requires students to draw a final prototype sketch, the solution, which they will bring to Skills Exploration Days and participate in the prototype and test phases of the design thinking process. At Skills Exploration Days, students will tour over 38,000sqft and participate in a skilled trade and technology career exploration experience by visiting the Learn-A-Skill stations. The Learn-A-Skill stations will allow students to explore their interests and passions as they rotate through hands-on stations for the opportunity to work one-on-one with over 100 industry experts and learn how to use tools, technology, and materials safely while also acquiring career related skills and knowledge. Cabinet Making (scroll saws and sanders), Carpentry (mitre saws and power tools), Electrical Installation (wires and circuits), Fashion Technology (sewing machines), Graphic Design (Photoshop), Painting and Decorating (paint and brushes), Plumbing (PVC pipe and fittings), Sheet Metal (benders and shears), and Welding (welding machines) are examples of the Learn-A-Skill stations. Students will then have 2.5 hours to apply their newly acquired skills and knowledge to independently construct a prototype using the final prototype sketch that was created in the classroom. Along with using the tools and materials provided at the Learn-A-Skill stations, students will also use the Shared Pantry (the “Home Depot” store with small bits and pieces) and the Reuse Centre (extra pieces of cardboard and material) which encourages students to recycle, reuse, and become aware of environmentally-friendly materials. Students will then complete the test phase of the design thinking process by participating in a gallery tour where they get to test and display their prototypes and ensure it solved the design challenge. Throughout the day, students can earn badges and display them on their personal hard hat. 12 badges can be earned for following safety requirements, demonstrating environmental stewardship, completing a skill successfully and collaborating positively with others.||Workforce Development - Image & Recruiting||How can Skills Canada Alberta support Alberta’s new CTF Program of Studies?||When the new CTF Program of Studies was implemented in Alberta schools, SCA knew we had to supply support to these junior high school teachers who were being affected. A barrier we faced was that most of our current programming at the time was geared towards high school and post secondary students. We had to put on our thinking caps and during some research, the SCA team stumbled upon the concept of Maker Day and right away we knew this would be a perfect fit. We then piloted Skills Days where students constructed prototypes using dollar store materials such as popsicle sticks, modeling clay, string, hot glue guns and dremel tools. Due to logistics, SCA soon discovered that Skills Days needed more authentic power tools and materials in order to promote the true skilled trade and technology industries. This was when Skills Exploration Days was born!||How can SCA get industry experts to teach the students how to use the tools?||Due to the amazing skill set of the SCA staff, booking a venue and filling the seats was the easy job, however, we needed the experts to supply and run the tools in the Learn-A-Skill stations. It would be the experts who would know which tools and materials would be needed for each station, but we also needed experts who would work well with junior high students. We dug deep into our dedicated volunteer pool and we were blown away by the excitement shown by high school shop teachers, post-secondary instructors and even industry leaders to volunteer their time and tools at Skills Exploration Days. This has also been a great opportunity to invite our SCA alumni students/competitors to volunteer.||How do we create a design challenge that all students can connect with?||With any school activity, it must be engaging and relevant to the students in order to keep them interested and excited. In our first year, with the design challenge “Refugee Crisis,” students had to develop a prototype that would help refugees on their travels by addressing some of their basic needs and help families arrive safe at their destination. Unfortunately, many junior high aged students were unfamiliar with this topic so it was hard for them to connect to it and think outside of the box. After the prototype building, we were surprised by the lack of variety as almost every team built a super backpack. Going forward, we realized that the design challenge topic had to be relevant to the students and created design challenges such as Using Smart Technologies Smartly to Improve Life in Rural and Remote Communities (using the recent disasters caused by fire or flooding in rural Alberta, design and develop a solution using ‘smart’ technologies that could be used to improve, stabilize, or protect an aspect of their home or lives when they are facing, or are in the midst of, a natural disaster).||Safety is our number one priority.||Working with tools can be dangerous. Having a student work with a tool can be more dangerous and when a student uses a tool for the first time, this can be even more dangerous. Therefore; we ensure our experts show the students how to safely use all the tools and materials, and students are rewarded with a badge for demonstrating safe techniques. To ensure we are prepared for any safety concerns, a safety manager is onsite. The safety manager creates a safety booklet that outlines SCA’s and the venue’s safety protocols. The safety manager works with a safety team to roam the event and ensure all students and volunteers are wearing the correct eye, ear and hand protection where necessary. Students are all given a hard hat to not only display their badges, but when this piece of safety equipment is brought home, it begins a conversation at home with their family about safety in the workplace.||Teacher resources are extremely helpful.||For many teachers, design thinking is a brand new concept. Since we do require teachers to facilitate the design challenge and human-centered design thinking activity in their classrooms, the SCA team ensures that teachers have access to online resources on the Skills Exploration Days website, including a how-to video, teacher guide and a Prezi presentation that teachers can use in their classrooms. The teachers also have the opportunity to visit the Learn-A-Skill stations themselves to possibly try a tool for the first time as well! It is never too late to learn something new, and this experience keeps teachers wanting to bring back their students, or tell fellow teachers about this amazing opportunity.||Career exposure for all students.||Many junior high schools, especially in rural Alberta, do not have access to a facility that can offer certain trade and technology classes. They may only offer a cooking class or a woods class but it isn’t until the students reach high school that they may have more choices, and if the school does have a work shop, the equipment is usually very old, broken and unsafe. Therefore, SCA wants to ensure there is a variety of career exposures at Skills Exploration Days to allow junior high students the opportunity to hold a new tool, weld together metal, or use a sewing machine for the first time. SCA also wants to make sure that students are using the latest and greatest tool or technology to represent the variety of industries today. Skills Exploration Days is an inclusive program that includes students of all gender, race and ability. Throughout the years, we have already noticed an increase in female participation which reflects their energetic and positive attitude while at the event building and working with tools. We also ensure students with behavioral or cognitive issues are still able to participate by allowing their teacher to work side-by-side with them.||The first step is to become educated about the design thinking process and the five phases. This is such an important part to Skills Exploration Days to ensure students are designing a prototype with empathy. They are not just designing a school playground for themselves, but now they are designing an inclusive school playground for their community with the user and purpose in mind.||The second step is to ensure the human power and volunteers are available to help. General volunteers are needed, but most importantly, experts from the trades are needed to provide the tools, set up the tools, safely work the tools, and provide knowledge to the students. Since this program works with students, it is also important to have experts/volunteers who work well with youth, can simplify directions, and who will support students with their amazing creations.||The third step is to recruit the schools and students so they can attend. In the beginning days, SCA attended many teachers’ conventions and professional development days to educate teachers about our new program, Skills Exploration Days. A video was also created onsite during the first Skills Exploration Days program, which has been very helpful in showing teachers what the day is all about. After every program, teachers and students complete our evaluation and reflection forms and this feedback helps us to improve each year.||The Skills Exploration Days website is a perfect resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the program. It is here on the website that teachers will find all the resources needed to prepare and be successful for Skills Exploration Days including the teacher guide, teacher tool kit, teacher Prezi, teacher how-to-video, design challenge, worksheets, and connections to the Program of Studies/curriculum. A helpful video, dates and locations, the purpose/goals of Skills Exploration Days and tips on how to get the most out of Skills Exploration Days are all included on the homepage.||A great video that can describe Skills Exploration Days far better than any teacher guide can! Watch this video to learn all about Skills Exploration Days and the design thinking process. Hear from students and teachers about what they think about the day, working with tools and learning about skilled trade careers.||The Taking Making into Classrooms toolkit provides background information to Making as a pedagogical orientation and intentional mindset while making connections and references to the Alberta CTF Program of Studies/Curriculum. For participation in Skills Exploration Days, please take note of Sections 1-6. Use Section 5 of the Toolkit to become comfortable with the four phases (design, tinker, thinker, reflect) and five activities (design challenge, human-centered design thinking process, collaborative prototyping, design charrette, individual/group reflection). These four phases are a map to Alberta Education’s process of planning, creating, appraising and communicating which can be found on pg. 42 (table 5-2) in the Toolkit. In Section 12 of the Toolkit, there are a variety of design challenges with corresponding CTF clusters and interdisciplinary connections. We encourage teachers to try one or two before tackling the design challenge for Skills Exploration Days.||Alberta’s Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum is designed to help students achieve their individual potential and create a positive future. The provincial programs of study identify what students are expected to learn and do in all subjects and grades. Career and Technology Foundations (CTF) provides students in grades 5 to 9 the opportunity to explore their interests within various occupational areas and technologies. Skills Exploration Days was designed to complement and support Alberta Education’s Career and Technology Foundations (CTF) Program of Studies. Each activity that students participate in at Skills Exploration Days corresponds with one of the CTF Learning Outcomes.||Learn all about the Skills Canada Alberta organization and the amazing programs we offer!||Becky Peterson|
|HireLAX Apprenticeship Readiness Program: Cultivating Skilled Labor for the Los Angeles World Airports LAX $14B Capital Improvement Program||Los Angeles World Airports||2019-08-03||The Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) LAX $14 billion capital improvement program requires skilled labor and contractor capacity to deliver its Gold Standard Airport on-time and within budget, while maximizing its commitment to include the participation of local residents in its construction (see LAWA CIP chart). To this end, LAWA created the HireLAX Apprenticeship Readiness Program (HireLAX ARP). The HireLAX ARP is a comprehensive, free, 8-week, 240-hour construction apprenticeship readiness program taught at nearby Los Angeles Southwest College that is designed to include local institutional assets and address the challenges confronted by disadvantaged individuals. Students are simultaneously enrolled in college together with the applicable City of Los Angeles WorkSource Center or County of Los Angeles American Job Centers for supportive services that help address employment barriers. HireLAX ARP’s integrated model includes six key features: (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpT77boP__I) A. Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3) Comprehensive construction training including math, blueprint reading, construction, tools and materials. B. OSHA-10 and First Aid/CPR Training Certification Students are taught and exposed to the importance of construction safety and to develop a jobsite safety culture. C. Hands-On Projects and Field Trips Students participate in class construction projects to develop hands-on skills, team building and tool identification; onsite training visits to nearby large and complex construction projects; and visit apprenticeship training facilities to learn about specific trades and make a determination about the craft they will pursue. D. Physical Fitness / Conditioning Students participate in daily construction fitness training to prepare their bodies and mind for a construction career that is reinforced with the principles outlined in the Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) regulation. E. Case Management, Supportive Services and Employment Development Comprehensive case management and supportive services are provided by the non-profits Flintridge Center and 2nd Call (funded by LAWA), as well as the County and City of Los Angeles workforce development supportive services network. This support framework includes: a. Weekly counseling and life skills training to overcome past trauma and improve self-worth and confidence. b. Financial and counseling support for barriers to employment such as childcare, past involvement with the criminal justice system, mental health issues, homelessness, transportation and driver’s license issues, and the cost of tools and State-approved apprenticeship program initiation fees after graduation. c. Networking with contractors, apprenticeship training programs and unions to explore career placement opportunities, learn about individual trades, and gain advice on how to prepare to begin a construction career. F. Retention Retention is improved by ongoing case management and placement assistance that continues after graduation. Specifically, HireLAX case managers follow-up with graduates weekly for two months; monthly for 10 months; and quarterly for three years. Retention is tracked in Workforce Manager, a new system that HireLAX helped create in collaboration with the online certified payroll system provider, LCPTracker, that automates and integrates all workforce data about trainees and graduates in an online platform that helps track retention in greater detail, including wages and career trajectories within the region.||Workforce Development - Skilled Craft Labor||a. Availability and Eligibility for Publicly Funded Supportive Services Creates Program Limitations||Seek partners and resources beyond those that are originally designed to support disadvantaged individuals and recognize that government agencies cannot satisfy all needs. HireLAX ARP is partnered with the City of Los Angeles and County of Los Angeles workforce development systems for supportive services that help address employment barriers for disadvantaged workers, such as child care, transportation, tools, boots, apprenticeship initiation fees, etc. However, funds and/or services may not be readily available when the individual needs it or what they need is not eligible for support. The cost of construction boots cost up to $150 but WorkSource Centers and American Job Centers are unable to process payment to the vendor in a timely manner, therefore, there is a reluctance from the vendor to provide the boots required for training. Additionally, the cost reimbursement process may take longer than the 8-week training period. Additionally, these partners, in some situations, are unable to pay the full cost of the union initiation fees thereby precluding a graduate to go to work on demand. To date, these centers have provided approximately $28,000 in supportive services. HireLAX is now partnered with the Weingart Foundation, a philanthropic organization, and a major LAWA contractor to receive a total of $50,000 in grant monies to immediately cover expenses and avoid delay in students starting their training with the proper PPE or for a graduate to begin work when the offer is made.||a. Drug Testing Policy and Remediation Plan is Required to Address Barriers to Job Readiness||It is unrealistic to believe that people will change their way of life during an 8-week training period, but we must reinforce safety as a core value and that contractors investing in a new first period apprentice should be provided a candidate who is ready and serious about a career in construction. Disadvantaged individuals confront numerous employment barriers and one of those may be drug use. Previously, HireLAX ARP drug tested each trainee upon starting the program. If they tested positive, then they were given a warning and instructed to clean up during the 8-week training period. Students were also told that contractors would drug test them and if they tested positive, the contractor would release them from the job. This situation happened often and compromised program credibility. HireLAX ARP established the Drug Testing Policy and Remediation Plan that requires drug testing during the first and last weeks of training; denies graduation to trainees who test positive after second drug test but enables trainees to clean up during a two-month grace period and use life skills counseling. After two months, the trainee is drug tested again and if they pass, they will be recognized as a HireLAX ARP graduate and referred to contractors for hiring consideration.||a. Home and Community Trauma Needs to be Addressed to Help Disadvantaged Individuals Confront their Barriers so that they can Focus on their Future||The trauma that numerous individuals live through cannot be adequately addressed with limited counseling during an 8-week apprenticeship readiness training program. Disadvantaged individuals tend to have a history of trauma that is rooted in their home life or in the communities in which they live. HireLAX ARP recognized that life skills training during the 8-week training period would help individuals recognize their feelings and experiences and provide them with tools that could help them focus on their training. While this premise was true, it was not sufficient to reinforce long-term job retention. HireLAX is structurally reinforcing its graduates to continue to attend the Life Skills training provided by its partner, 2nd Call. 2nd Call makes counseling available every Thursday evening to HireLAX graduates. In these Thursday evening forums, HireLAX graduates are among other construction workers who share a common history of trauma. Together, and through thoughtful dialogue, they help one another continue on a positive path that enable them to continue their careers in construction earning good wages and benefits that will hopefully steer them and their families onto a different life trajectory.||Multi-Phase Retention Case Management Approach that Provides a Continuum of Support to Increase the Retention of Graduates in Construction Careers.||HireLAX ARP created a retention case management approach that begins after graduation. Program graduates are contacted within a three phased schedule: Phase I-Weekly for two months; Phase II-Monthly for 10 months; and Phase 3-Quarterly for three years. This approach results in four years of continuous contact that will support graduates through their apprenticeship years. During each phase, the HireLAX ARP case managers will ask graduates for an update on their job experience, areas that require additional training support, experience with employer and co-workers, and assess the need for additional supportive services, such as counseling, childcare, transportation, or other need that may potentially hinder their success. All data collected is journaled in the Workforce Manager system that enables data collection, follow-up, and quantifies the value of supportive services provided to graduates throughout their career. Any changes to contact information will also be added to the system to ensure that contact is maintained throughout the four phases.||a. Developed Workforce Manager System Configuration to Track, Monitor and Report Graduate Retention and Long-Term ROI of the HireLAX ARP||HireLAX ARP created Workforce Manager in collaboration with LCP Tracker, the company that created and owns the widely used online certified payroll system, to track trainee training progress, certifications earned, case management and referral, placement, and the long-term career trajectory and wages earned to quantify the return on investment (ROI) of apprenticeship readiness training and success of LAWA’s local hiring policies within the Los Angeles region. The system is programmed to generate custom reports that provide a history and value of supportive services provided to trainees and graduates; placement success report that shows graduate placement, including employer, craft, union affiliation, and cohort; and placement opportunity report that is given to contractors to share available graduates for hiring consideration. Workforce Manager connects to LCP Tracker’s certified data to track HireLAX ARP graduates’ career trajectory from apprentice to journeyman, wages earned over time, projects worked on throughout the Los Angeles region, and retention on a construction career path. The Workforce Manager data is also used to create the HireLAX Workforce Manager System Dashboard that illustrates the cumulative success of all graduates, including wage earned, hours worked, ethnicity, gender, craft and GIS mapping. See HireLAX Workforce Manager Dashboard and Workforce Manager Supportive Services Report||a. Real-Time Workforce Data Reporting||HireLAX ARP created custom reports in the LCP Tracker online certified payroll system to track the hiring of its graduates by LAWA contractors at all tiers, including classification, headcount, hours worked, wages earned with or without benefits, and their contribution to the local economy. These reports enable HireLAX ARP to monitor LAWA contractor compliance with hiring program graduates, local workers, and track disadvantaged and/or veteran status, as well as to help contractors remain compliant with apprentice to journeyman ratios required on public works projects. See LAWA Local Worker Utilization Report by PRJ and LAWA Local Worker Hiring Performance by PRJ||Define the market conditions that would support an apprenticeship readiness program, such as 1) current demand for skilled workers in local community or region, 2) policies that promote the hiring of local residents, 3) industry stakeholders (contractors, unions) that share your evaluation of the market conditions, and 4) the execution timelines and values of existing CIPs. If the market conditions are ripe, then engage these stakeholders in the program development and implementation strategy.||Conduct an asset inventory of 1) existing training programs, 2) available workforce development supportive services, 3) funding streams for apprenticeship and apprenticeship readiness training, 4) educational institutions, 5) philanthropic organizations that invest in workforce development or serve special populations (women, homeless, foster youth, etc.), and 6) known professionals and subject matter experts in this field. Individuals representing key assets should be engaged in the program development and implementation strategy. All partners should agree to commit through an MOU that defines scope, commitments, roles and responsibilities, and process for accountability.||Identify an online data reporting system that you will use to track and manage the program and evaluate performance. The system should be one that is industry recognized and widely used with confidence to ensure that your data is above reproach when shared with industry, community and institutional stakeholders. Additionally, the system should contain security features that will protect students’ private information and should be able to easily communicate with other systems through an application programming interface (API). To maximize the value and use of the system, training should be provided to program staff, partners and stakeholders.||Video provides an overview of the program and shares the transformational impact of the program through the voices of its graduates and partners.||Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote a column in the Wave Newspapers to highlight the impact of the HireLAX ARP on local lives and their role in building LAX.||Spanish media interview of HireLAX ARP graduates and program partners.||This webpage provides an overview of the program, including registration information and schedule, press releases and media coverage, and additional resources for community stakeholders and partners.||Veronica Soto|