Community event on job training and apprenticeship programs

Published: Saturday, May 05, 2018

Outreach staff conducted training on the Job Training School module.

Finding the right job training school was the topic of a March train-the-trainer event held by Consumer Action in San Diego. Organizations in attendance included those serving military veterans, servicemembers, immigrants and youth, among other vulnerable populations. A key objective of our job-training module, introduced at the event, is to help students and job seekers get the best vocational training without exposing themselves to for-profit school fraud and unmanageable debt.

The training opened with an interactive educational game created by Consumer Action’s Linda Williams. The game consists of a series of true/false and multiple-choice questions that participants answer while working in teams and competing for prizes. The activity not only serves to gauge participants’ pre-training knowledge and what they need to learn, it’s an icebreaker to engage learners and build enthusiasm. Several participants said they would use the game in their own client workshops.

Consumer Action’s Nelson Santiago introduced two guest speakers on apprenticeship programs: Arthur Page, apprenticeship and training representative with the Office of Apprenticeship of the U.S. Department of Labor, and Victor Rodriguez, senior apprenticeship consultant with the Division of Apprenticeship Standards of the California Department of Industrial Relations.

Page discussed several topics, including the advantages of apprenticeships (hands-on training, a paycheck, and more), things to consider when choosing an occupation, and the application and selection process for apprenticeships. He emphasized that it’s important to know that a registered apprenticeship is a proven and viable career pathway.

When discussing apprentice requirements in California, Rodriguez explained that no experience is necessary for most programs, though candidates do need to be 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and have math and reading skills. Rodriguez shared the surprising fact that women hold only 3 percent of apprenticeship positions. He invited attendees to connect with his office to help spread the word about apprenticeships.

Williams and Santiago tag-teamed the module presentation. Williams told the audience that in selecting the right job training program it’s imperative for students and parents to “do their research, do their research and do even more research.”

During his presentation, Santiago discussed questions students should ask when vetting schools and programs and provided information about financial aid and repayment of student loans. He explained how, for example, the simple question, “What are the requirements for admission?” is not necessarily so simple, citing examples of schools investigated for illegally enrolling students without high school diplomas and signing them up for financial aid. He prepared a reference and resource sheet for participants to learn more about for-profit school scams, recent problems with student loan servicers, and new developments related to student loan forgiveness.

Williams unveiled a new slide deck about teaching adults. During a segment called “Mutiny,” she advised trainers on how to respond when the audience challenges their training strategies: “Gain time, bounce, reflect and empathy.” The “bounce” technique involves relaying the discussion back to the audience: “That’s a valid question. Class, what do you think about that?” This can help ensure that all voices are heard and that all participants feel their ideas are valued.

Williams and Santiago will take the training to Chicago this summer. Community network partners should watch their email inboxes for more details.

 
 
 

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