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Transforming Workforce Development

States that are “moving the needle” on their workforce development challenges have one thing in common: They are focused on exciting and innovative “work-based learning” initiatives.

Work-based learning is a dual-track, “learn while you earn” approach that combines academic learning in the classroom with paid, on-the-job skills training.

Katherine Kersten profiles four of the most successful initiatives—in Kentucky, Colorado, Kansas and Indiana— in the March/April 2018 issue of the Precision Manufacturing Journal, published by the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association.

All four models are industry-driven—a component that is vital to success:

  • In Kentucky, a grassroots effort launched by a handful of manufacturers has blossomed into a statewide network that has trained 250 “advanced manufacturing technicians,” with another 650 in the pipeline.
  • In Colorado, an apprenticeship program called CareerWise Colorado began in 2017 with 250 participating high school students, and plans to have 20,000 young people involved in apprenticeships by 2027.
  • In Kansas, the Talent Solutions Coalition exemplifies how employers in a specialized industry—in this case, aviation—can work directly with technical colleges to structure training programs precisely calculated to meet their needs in terms of both curriculum and number of graduates.
  • In Indiana, Ivy Tech—the nation’s largest singly-accredited state-wide community college system—has launched several ground-breaking programs. These include an Associate of Applied Science degree that incorporates the on-the-job training required to earn a Journeyperson’s Card with the academic classes required for an associate’s degree. It’s available to workers in 15 construction-related trades.


Read the article here.

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