Last week, the Legislature was back in Charleston for October’s interim meetings and the agendas, to say the least, were full ones as we inch ever so closer to the 2014 regular session. In the education committees alone, topics ranging from connecting public schools to workforce and career futures to establishing a comprehensive educator career development continuum were discussed this month.
One education committee heard from various representatives from different trades discusses apprenticeship programs in the state that give high students another pathway opportunity once they graduate from high school. One representative told the committee that these trades, including pipefitters and electricians, are looking for the best of the best to go into these fields. However, the representative also told the committee that he and other representatives for other trades feel there’s a disconnection when they go to these public schools for recruiting purposes. These schools push the troubled kids on them because there is this stigma that surrounds these careers paths as being suited only for the “dumb” students. That is not the case as many of these trades lead to many employment opportunities and significant salaries.
The apprenticeship programs are run by the West Virginia Labor Union and Management Apprenticeship and Training Advisory Council. The Council, which is self-funded, brings together representatives of labor, management, government, and education in partnership and cooperation to develop a world-class workforce and vigorous economy for the State of West Virginia.
The programs themselves are extensive ones and range from two to five years completion time depending on which trade one enters in to. The grading scale is strict as well because each student is expected to excel in their programs.
The Council’s website is a good resource for not only high school students but also anyone looking for a change in career. It provides what apprenticeship programs are offered for each county as well. Those interested can go to www.wvapprenticeships.org. Their site is easy to navigate and is a helpful tool in discovering what programs are available in your area.
Another education committee heard from representatives with the West Virginia Board of Education discussed the issue of establishing a comprehensive educator career development continuum.
While the regular session begins in just three months, the Legislature has much more work to do during the November and December meetings as we look at possible legislation and studies to consider during the 2014 regular session. It is sure to be a busy one and I will continue to update all of my constituents on the issues affecting you and the state as a whole.
If you have any concerns or questions, feel free to call my office at 340-3337 or write Delegate David Perry at the State Capitol, Building 1, Room 442M, Charleston, WV, 25305.