Labor Acts to Kick-Start Career-Tech Education for Infrastructure Careers
WASHINGTON—In anticipation of federal action on substantive infrastructure investments, the American Federation of Teachers, in conjunction with North America’s Building Trades Unions, is acting now to ensure high school kids have the information, training and resources to rebuild our nation.
The AFT and NABTU have forged a nationwide partnership to jointly promote apprenticeships and develop and distribute information to guidance counselors to advance career and technical education in both CTE and non-CTE schools. The two unions, representing millions of members across the education and trade sectors, will collaborate in the drafting of K-12 curriculum and lesson plans to help students build their careers.
Many CTE students, parents and educators are unaware of the opportunities for registered apprenticeships and middle-class careers in the building trades. The novel program connects two high-quality education opportunities: our nation’s CTE schools and the building trades’ registered apprenticeship programs.
This partnership will help spread the word to U.S. high school students about the direct link between CTE and career opportunities in infrastructure construction projects, many of which are supported by teachers’ or building trades’ pension funds. The program will be informed by NABTU’s Multi-Craft Core Curriculum (MC3), a comprehensive pre-apprenticeship curriculum that was awarded the U.S. Department of Labor’s Registered Apprenticeship Innovator and Trailblazer Award.
The collaboration kicked off at the recent AFT summer TEACH conference for educators, where attendees got to try out the latest virtual reality training platform used to teach apprentices real-world crane operation and control skills. Teachers came away with a strong appreciation for the range of modern apprenticeships that the building trades offer.
AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “Millions of American high school students are eager to learn the valuable skills necessary to be the builders of our roads, bridges, airports, schools and energy grids. They aspire to careers rebuilding our nation—and the AFT, alongside NABTU, is turning that aspiration into action.
“At schools like Transit Tech in Brooklyn, N.Y., a CTE-focused education leads directly to apprenticeships and good jobs. At the same time, many public pension funds are invested in rebuilding America’s infrastructure. Working together, we can train the next generation for great jobs, while using pension funds to help create those jobs. That helps fuel an economy that works for all.”
NABTU President Sean McGarvey said: “We are thrilled to be partners with the AFT in this exciting initiative to develop the skilled workforce of the future via the advancement of career and technical education in America’s public schools. As our nation gets set to embark upon the rebuilding and repair of our critical infrastructure systems, this partnership will be at the forefront of making sure that career training opportunities, via apprenticeship-readiness and formal apprenticeship education and training, are an integral part of the equation.”
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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.