Working together to improve workforce readiness
Students enrolled in the Passaic County Technical and Vocational Schools Carpentry Program hone their skills in a classroom resembling an actual construction site.
By Vince Baglivo, Contributing Writer May 9, 2022
At a time when many employers are struggling to fill jobs, New Jersey’s construction trade organizations are working with business leaders, vocational and technical schools, county colleges and other educational institutions and educators to ensure that there is a good match between vocational and technical programs and workforce needs.
“Employer involvement is key,” Jackie Burke, executive director of the New Jersey Council of County Vocational-Technical Schools (NJCCVTS), notes. “Our county vocational and technical schools have strong links with industry so that career programs evolve and keep pace with changes in the workplace. Business leaders, local employmentyers, unions and more all spend time, Talent and resources to help prepare New Jersey’s workforce of the future.
“A great example of our union partnership within New Jersey to meet workforce readiness needs is our involvement in higher educationn,” says William Sproule, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters. “Thomas Edison State University and our Northeastern Apprenticeship Training Funds have partnered to allow credits earned in our apprenticeship program to work toward an associate degree in construction management. Now workers in New Jersey can earn a management degree while learning all the real-world skills needed for our growing construction industry. Together we lead the youththe verse not only of jobs, but of future careers.
“Partnerships are key to New Jersey’s economic success because their success, measured in effectiveness, profitability and employment, contribute to the state coffers while helping to maintain our level off live and bring more and more families into the middle class,” Greg, business manager of IUOE Local 825 lifting said. “IUOE Local 825 understands the value of establishing joint responsibilities between management and workers. The resulting working relationship fosters a sense of teamwork as well as operational benefits that improve developer and contractor profitability and contribute to salaries and benefits.
Over the past several years, IUOE Local 825 has forged partnerships with management groups, goverment and, more recently, education, including the Joint Learning and Training Committee (JATC) of the IUOE, a partner organization that brings together union representatives and construction contractors. His mission is to make sure the members of Local 825 get tare the skills we need now and in the future.
For example, when utilities began programs to strengthen their infrastructure after Hurricane Sandy, Local 825 established a training program focused on utility work.
When pipelines are neededd, Local 825 not only provides training, but is also one of only two places in the country to offer drilling proficiency testing. With the current and projected need for truck drivers, the local will also be offering a program for drivers to get their Driving license (CDL).
Through its apprenticeship program, LIUNA and Labor Local 472 Enters a partnership with the City of Newark to recruit and train local residents for its lead service line replacement program. Twenty Newark residents were bwere integrated into the program, received the necessary training from the Workers’ Union and were sent to carry out the infrastructure work in their own community. Although originally planned to take 8-10 years, the 23,000 rows were replaced in just 2.5 years byAnd the 20 members are now working on other projects in New Jersey.
“The better our relationships between LIUNA, educators, government officials and private sector employers, the better our results will be,” Rob Lewandowski, LIUNA, Eastern Region communications ddirector, notes. “Partnerships allow us to set goals, prioritize resources and break down barriers to ensure success. I compare it to a rowing team. If everyone isn’t attached to the same pace and direction, you’ll probably end up traveling.ng in circles. Good partnerships may require the same work as everyone else going it alone, but partnerships will take you much further. »
New Jersey County Vocational and Technical Schools welcome the involvement of unions, business leaders and ex-industryperts to partner with them in many ways, adds NJCCVTS Burke. “For example, interested parties can join a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program advisory board, offer apprenticeships, internships and other work-based learning opportunities, host studentsnts on site, mentoring students, training CTE teachers in new technologies, hiring graduates, donating equipment, or participating in student technical skills assessments.
“Partnerships are the foundation of workforce development,” said Local 102 President Bernie Corrig.one says. “At Local 102, we offer a seamless path to a bachelor’s degree in construction management through our partnership with Rowan University. Combine this deal with our tuition reimbursement program and you remove many of the barriers Iprevent progress. We have similar programs with other business partners. It’s about focusing on the individual – creating an atmosphere where education is both encouraged and accessible and where all stakeholders will have opportunities. IIf we want the workforce to be able to pivot in an ever-changing environment, we need to provide them with a pathway to do so.
“Partnership opportunities are huge, but will only work if we show leadership and vision,” Eastern Atlantic States Regional The Sproule Carpenters Council concludes. “Our training center in Hammonton serves the needs of the growing offshore wind industry and the thousands of jobs that the bipartisan infrastructure bill will bring to New Jersey. The first of its kind new heavy highway, our training center’s offshore construction pile driving and training facility will help construction workers meet these needs.
“The offshore wind industry alone will become a huge job creator for unionized carpenters and other trades. The New Jersey OffShore Wind Strategic Plan indicates that offshore wind energy will create 6,000 to 8,000 jobs per year, resulting in 68,349 years of employment from 2020 to 2035. We look forward to expanding offshore wind energy as it will require the best-trained workers andrce available, and union carpenters have the talent to supply it.
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