Administrators and staff of the Oakdale Joint Unified School District are doing more than speaking of College and Career readiness, they continue to put action behind it.
At the most recent school board meeting, Mark Fuchs, Executive Director from Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California (CTCNC) informed board members of varying untapped job opportunities within his field. It was an eye-opening presentation which identified a vast need for skilled laborers in the areas in which they provide training for Apprenticeship and Journeyman jobs.
CTCNC’s mission is to provide appropriate training for United Brotherhood of Carpenter fields including: carpenters, acoustic installers, drywall/lathers, hardwood floor layers, insulators, millmen and cabinet makers, millwrights, pile drivers, scaffold erectors and shinglers.
“We’re encouraging our kids to be in the skilled labor force,” Superintendent of Schools Marc Malone said of the partnership with CTCNC, noting the importance in understanding the difference between skilled and unskilled labor.
“We’re talking college and career ready,” he continued. “Not college or career ready.”
The superintendent highlighted the continued education students receive as participants of the CTCNC program. An education which could lead to employment in a union job with benefits and income one would be hard pressed to find in this day and age.
An income which ranges from $26 plus per hour for an Apprentice and upwards of $44 plus for a Journeyman, with health care and retirement plans included.
“To have this type of benefit with this type of wage, it’s crazy for us to not let kids know this opportunity is out there,” he said.
According to Malone the district has begun working with students beginning with seventh grade, in the area of selecting a career which they identify with or may excel at. The approach is designed to then help student, as well as staff, choose a curriculum that best serves their long term goals.
“We’ve got to quit doing a disservice that says just go to college and just get a degree,” he stated. “That degree may not get you closer to your interpretation of the American Dream.”
By working with the student early on, guidance toward what they might deem the ‘American Dream’ helps teachers and administrators guide the student in the direction of achieving that dream to the best of their ability.
As superintendent, Malone wants the student as well as their families to be just as proud of a skilled labor opportunity, as they might be of a college acceptance.
“This is the starting part,” he said of CTCNC, “the skilled labor part. These kids can go through this program and get a construction management degree.
“We need to stop marginalizing these jobs,” he continued. “That somehow a guy who is a skilled carpenter is somehow less than somebody that has a degree. We need to quit doing that, because we’re doing a disservice.”
The district’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CTCNC offers students an opportunity with their Carpenters Pre-Apprenticeship Program following graduation barring teacher recommendation.
“This is a carrot out there,” he said of students interested in the varying fields post-graduation, “but you’re going to have to work. You build your résumé, you build your skill level and then at that point you go on teacher recommendation.
“The best thing about it from an education standpoint, there are six million unfilled skilled labor jobs,” he concluded. “It’s a game changer in that our kids are going to walk the stage and I’m confident that they’re college and career ready.”
For additional information on CTCNC and the programs offered visit www.ctcnc.org