April 23, 2014

Last week, Business Week reported on a new government training initiative:

“. . . The first initiative is a $500 million competitive grant program for community colleges that are linked with businesses to teach the specific skills needed for open jobs.

The second is a $100 million apprenticeship program, in which businesses, unions, community colleges or non-profit organizations would form partnerships to teach skills for hard-to-fill jobs, such as information technology, high-tech services, health-care and advanced manufacturing.

. . . ‘That means more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life,’ Obama said in the address. ‘It means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs.’ . . .

. . . For the community college program, the Labor Department is issuing applications now for partnerships between schools and employers. Grants will be awarded based on how the schools propose to train people for skills, as well as the potential of an entry-level job leading to more advanced positions.”

This new initiative has a chance to work because it links local industry with area community colleges —- a promising partnership.

Previous federal government training initiatives don’t have a great track record. According to the same article, ‘’A General Accountability Office study in 2011 said the federal government has 47 job-training programs ‘but little is known about the effectiveness of most programs.’”

I am familiar with many of those earlier tax-funded initiatives and most did not work because they built the training around the same old, tired “lecture/workbooks/testing” regimen that is long out-of-date —- and, almost totally ineffective.

In this new training initiative the two main ingredients for success (the local training deliverer and the needs of local business) will be united in the learning effort.

Now, if they will only build their programs around hands-on training for the lab work and full motion video-simulations and/or gaming-based classroom instruction (instead of lectures and workbooks), the odds for success are better than they have ever been.

I hope it succeeds.

More on Monday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder
ITC Learning (Mondays & Wednesdays)