Monday, March 2, 2009
Last year, the The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) identified $1,500,000 in federal highway administration funding to support the Road Construction Apprenticeship Readiness (RCAR) program. The program was designed to provide apprenticeship readiness training for women, minorities, and economically disadvantaged persons in the road construction
The customized training included 150 hours of job readiness skills, applied math, computer applications, blueprint reading, workplace safety and an overview of the road construction trades. Participants were paid a stipend for each hour of RCAR training.
A year letter, the program was deemed a great success as a large portion of participants passed their major tests. However, due to current economy conditions, the program failed to supply any hope of jobs. Construction workers with years of substantial experience have been losing jobs ever since the economy started its plunge.
While these program graduates may have an opportunity to gain jobs when the stimulus construction projects start to break ground, it could be argued the programs ultimate success was providing a model that any industry could use to include disadvantaged persons in their workforce.
The program analyzes the basic skills necessary to succeed in many entry level career positions, and it would only be necessary to alter it slightly to fit a new industry. One possible avenue has begun to be discussed at great length: the green jobs industry.
With a slew of jobs being thrown at green projects such as home weatherization, it is quite possible a deal could be brokered to accept applicants from programs with a model similar to RCAR.
The great strength of a program like RCAR is its ability to expand to other industries. Though the economy may seem bleak, it is possible we can still find ways to improve the lives and careers of disadvantaged residents in our community.
Posted by Public Relations at 3:15 PM