The Coloma training center hosted close to 300 students and educators on October 18th for the second Student & Educator Externship. 16 school districts attended the event and had an opportunity to tour the training center, test their skill on simulators and mini-excavators, learn about the Pre-Apprenticeship program and hear first hand from employers and apprentices about the exciting career path as an Operating Engineer.
A special thank you to the apprentices, Boldt, Michels Corporation and Walbec Group for participating on the apprentice/employer panel.
“Just a quick thanks for inviting Tomah High School students to your externship day held on Oct. 18. The tour of the state-of-the-art training center, overview of the Destinations Career Academy Pre-Apprenticeship Program and getting to experience and operate real-live equipment was simply awesome. Students and teachers alike – we sure enjoyed our short time with you. You opened up a huge career window for many of our students.”
For many years, the K-12 system has been focused on college for all. Yet, Harvard University predicts that 57 percent of the jobs in the future will require skilled training or certification, not a college degree. The industry needs college-educated individuals but a large percentage of construction careers require advanced training through apprenticeship, technical training and certification programs.
Studies like the Pathways for Prosperity by the Harvard Graduate School for Education emphasize the need for more post-secondary education or training to equip young people with the skills and credentials to make successful transitions into the labor market. Career exploration and preparation is now taking center stage in education, and at just the right time for our industry, as 47 percent of Generation Z would consider entering the workforce straight from high school and 60 percent welcome employers offering education in their field in lieu of a college degree.
The Federal House Education & Workforce Committee is currently preparing legislation reauthorizing the Higher Education Act (HEA), and the committee could act on it before the end of the year. The HEA is the law that provides funding for federal student financial aid – about $130 billion a year in loans and Pell Grants – and in the past, the overwhelming lion’s share of that money has gone to students in traditional academic programs rather than workforce or career education.