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These comments are responses to the Civic Caucus interview with

Samuel DiPaola, Honeywell senior technical training specialist
March 13, 2015

Will a new chartered school help fill apprenticeships and jobs in the construction trades?

Overview

According to Samuel DiPaola, senior technical training specialist at Honeywell, not enough people are being exposed to the option of apprenticeships that provide training for the construction trades. He says high schools don't give students information about apprenticeships, which are available right out of high school, and many parents are reluctant to have their kids go into the construction field. Neither the schools nor the parents, he says, understand that today the construction trades are highly technical fields. People often view apprenticeships as something for people who can't make it into two-year or four-year colleges, which he says is far from the truth.

 

DiPaola points out that a lot of construction workers are going to retire soon and there aren't enough trained people to fill those positions. Yet there is room for at least 400 new construction trades apprentices each year in the metro area. And he maintains that mandating a certain percentage of minorities be employed on public-sector construction projects doesn't solve the problem of low numbers of minorities in construction jobs.

 

To provide a pathway to apprenticeships, DiPaola is working to start a grade six-through-14 chartered school that would introduce junior-high students to basic construction concepts and then continue a general overview of the construction trades through 12th grade. The school would provide instruction in the relevant math, reading and sciences, as well as the complete state-required core curriculum. The goal would be to graduate students who, if they choose, would be ready to apply for apprenticeships in the construction trades and could pass the apprenticeship admission test.

 

For the complete interview summary see: DiPaola interview

 

Response Summary: Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

 

To assist the Civic Caucus in planning upcoming interviews, readers rated these statements about the topic on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

  

1. Topic is of value. (8.8 average response) The interview summarized today provides valuable information or insight.

 

2. Further study warranted. (7.8 average response) It would be helpful to schedule additional interviews on this topic.

 

Readers rated the following points discussed during the meeting on a scale of 0 (strongly disagree) to 5 (neutral) to 10 (strongly agree): 

 

3. Apprenticeships lacking participants. (7.4 average response) Apprenticeships are widely available and offer participants excellent opportunities for future employment, but often go unfilled.

 

4. Outdated views lead to rejection of trades. (9.1 average response) Too many parents and students reject apprenticeships out-of-hand because of outdated views about the construction trades that fail to take into account actual market trends and career prospects.

 

5. Schoolsneed to inform students. (8.8 average response) Schools mislead students if they fail to provide adequate information on available apprenticeships.

 

6. Apprenticeships are plentiful. (7.7 average response) Opportunities are abundant, particularly in the Twin Cities area, for apprenticeships in construction trades.

 

7. School focused on trades should be supported. (8.3 average response) A proposed chartered school providing a pathway to construction apprenticeships would be an effective means of channelling well-trained students into the trades and it consequently deserves support.

 

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Topic is of value.

0%

0%

0%

67%

33%

6

2. Further study warranted.

0%

0%

0%

83%

17%

6

3. Apprenticeships lacking participants.

0%

0%

20%

80%

0%

5

4. Outdated views lead to rejection of trades.

0%

0%

0%

50%

50%

6

5. Schoolsneed to inform students.

0%

0%

0%

67%

33%

6

6. Apprenticeships are plentiful.

0%

0%

17%

83%

0%

6

7. School focused on trades should be supported.

0%

0%

17%

33%

50%

6


Individual Responses:

Bert LeMunyon  (7.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (10)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)

 I worked for an electric utility and we had a very successful apprentice program together with the IBEW. These tradesmen often earn higher wages than many college graduates without incurring college debt.

 

Wayne Jennings  (10)  (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)  (10)

 1. Topic is of value. This real problem was highlighted.

 

2. Further study warranted. Solutions need to be forwarded. School districts are unlikely to create new programs, though they should and greater awareness might move the needle.

 

3. Apprenticeships lacking participants. The speaker identified a major attitude problem. Everyone hears about going to college, not realizing technical fields are the equivalent.

 

4. Outdated views lead to rejection of trades. We've gotten parents and students into a false goal identity.

 

5. Schools need to inform students. Schools, the core curriculum, the testing mania, college emphasis and outdated subject-dominated courses have created a nasty situation. Preparation H parents (have to get my kids into Harvard or similar) often wreck kids' lives with unrealistic expectations that ignore kids' interests. The kid who would be happy in a hands-on job is steered into an unhappy white-collar college program.

 

6. Apprenticeships are plentiful. Need a broader term than "construction trades." There are many other fields.

 

7. School focused on trades should be supported. The results will depend on execution. The leaders need to wean themselves from conventional school thinking and the MN Dept. of Education and Dept. of Labor need to find ways to be supportive together. Often, compliance factors kill innovation.

 

Vici Oshiro  (7.5)  (7.5)  (5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (5)  (5)

 3. Apprenticeships lacking participants. I have no knowledge from other sources.

 

6. Apprenticeships are plentiful. I have no knowledge from independent sources.

 

This reminds me of the tracking that used to (and may still) occur in Europe.  Seldom has a 6th grader the ability to select a field. Just allowing transfer helps.  More is needed, but I don't know what.

 

Chuck Lutz  (9)  (7)  (9)  (10)  (9)  (8)  (10)

 

Paul Hauge  (9)  (7)  (na)  (8)  (9)  (9)  (7)

 

Tom Spitznagle  (10)  (8)  (8)  (9)  (10)  (9)  (10)
Samuel is exactly right about the need for training in the trades and the public school’s failure to offer adequate educational opportunities for kids interested in the trades.  About 40 years ago most public schools offered an array of so-called shop classes and OJT programs in cooperation with industry.  Then they started dismantling these valuable offerings for some reason.  [This was a m]ajor mistake.  Hopefully Samuel will be successful with his new approach.
 

To receive these interview summaries as they occur, email civiccaucus@comcast.net         Follow us on Twitter

 

The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Interview Group  includes persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

  John S. Adams, David Broden, Audrey Clay, Janis Clay, Pat Davies, Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje (Executive Director), Randy Johnson, Sallie Kemper, Ted Kolderie,
Dan Loritz (Chair), Tim McDonald, Bruce Mooty, John Mooty, Jim Olson, Paul Ostrow, Wayne Popham, Dana Schroeder, Clarence Shallbetter, and Fred Zimmerman

 

 

 


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The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
2104 Girard Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55405.  civiccaucus@comcast.net
Dan Loritz, chair, 612-791-1919   ~   Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.
 

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