BUILDING A BETTER BRIDGE BETWEEN LEARNING AND WORK THROUGH CTE, INTERNSHIPS AND APPRENTICESHIPS
WHEREAS, career and technical education (CTE) has proven its value in minimizing dropout rates and promoting further education in proportions approaching those of purely academic routes; and
WHEREAS, America is experiencing severe shortages in a number of areas, exacerbated by COVID-19, all the while needing to prepare students for well-paying, middle-class jobs of the future; and
WHEREAS, the German dual-track vocational education and training (VET) system is so prestigious because it puts students’ needs at the center of the system, giving students multiple options for careers beginning with career research and marketing, followed by an application to a company or public sector institution for a paid apprenticeship position that consists of classroom study in specialized vocational schools and on-the-job work experience under the supervision of a certified trainer; and
WHEREAS, about 51 percent of Germany’s workers are skilled workers trained in the VET system, in which 430,000 companies partner with vocational schools and more than 80 percent of large companies hire apprentices; and
WHEREAS, the German system has a tri-partite governance structure composed of government, the private sector and labor unions, which ensure that an emphasis on social inclusion is maintained; and
WHEREAS, the United States lacks the tri-partite system of collaboration between government, industry and labor, and U.S. politics and culture differ significantly from Germany’s; nevertheless, there are elements of the German VET system that can improve our career and technical education system, producing greater benefits both for students and our economy; and
WHEREAS, the United States needs to embrace CTE as a system of career advising, career-connected learning, followed by an employer-facilitated transition to work and/or further education tied to a career.
RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers, including its locals and affiliated organizations, will support and will advocate for the development of student internships and apprenticeships, including pre-apprenticeship programs in career and technical education programs in school districts across the United States, in partnership with local employers, union apprenticeship programs and community colleges; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT, including its locals and affiliated organizations, will support and will advocate for the development of an incentive structure at the national and local levels to encourage the private sector to play a role similar to that of German companies in the preparation of young people for skilled, high-paying jobs; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT, including its locals and affiliated organizations, will advocate for externships for CTE teachers to maintain their knowledge of new technologies and processes in industries so that they are able to keep curricula up to date and teach students the latest skills that companies are looking for; and
RESOLVED, that the AFT will advocate for and seek resources to fund a position of coordinator in schools to manage local partnerships to develop relevant career advising, internships and apprenticeships for students and externships for teachers, similar to the AFT’s Innovation Fund-granted position in Peoria, Ill., that proved so valuable to the community that the local Chamber of Commerce and partners have continued to fund the position.
(July 17, 2022)