The Role of Private Education Institutions in Preparing California's Diverse Workforce

CalABC California Automotive Business Coalition

Maintaining California's competitive edge will depend on the state's ability to link education and the economy and fill the workforce needs of the jobs of the future. In order for the state to meet growing workforce shortages in a number of industries, the education system must provide sufficient secondary and postsecondary technical training programs in strategic sectors such as health care, green technology, information technology, manufacturing, and others. 

The State recognizes the value of skilled labor and through its numerous workforce development and job training programs, demonstrates its commitment to enhancing the skills of California's workforce and expanding access to training and apprenticeship programs that increase opportunities and income for California workers. At the same time, the State aims to help meet businesses' rapidly increasing workforce needs as well as to promote job creation.

1. Chair and Vice Chair's Introductory Remarks 

2. Economic Stimulus Funds for Job Training and Workforce Development 

Virginia Hamilton, Executive Director of The Workforce Alliance 

3. An Approach to a Community Workforce Development Partnership 

Leslie Rodden, Alliance for Education of San Bernardino County and Mike Gallo, CEO of Kelly Space and Technology and Chair of the Alliance for Education's STEM Advisory Committee 

4. Employers' Needs for Skilled Workers & Challenges/Limitations with Public Schools 

Mr. Johan Gallo, President of the California Automotive Business Coalition and Human Resources Manager for Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. Jack Stewart, President of the California Manufacturing and Technology Association Helyn Dahle, BayBio Board Member Healthcare Representative - to be determined Danny Kennedy, Chief of Executive Officer of Sungevity Debra Chaplan, Director of Special Programs for the State Building and Construction Trades Council 

5. Types of schools and programs and the challenges/impediments they face: 

Degree granting and graduate level programs Brenda Primo, Assistant Vice President of Governmental Affairs for Western University of Health Sciences Jo Hoffmeier, Vice President and Director of the Northern California Oregon Territory for the University of Phoenix Sunil Vethody, Institute for Medical Education 

Technical and Vocational schools 

Robert Johnson, Executive Director of the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools Katherine Lee Carry, General Counsel and Vice President of Compliance for American Career College Kristina Lopez, Director of ITT Technical Institute Robert McNamara, Senior Vice President of Compliance Career Education Corporation & Anthony Bondi, President of California School of Culinary Arts Lynelle Lynch, President, Bellus Academy 

6. Government Oversight and Regulation of Private Education Institutions Department of Consumer Affairs Director 

7. California Postsecondary Education Commission Karen Humph Rey, Executive Director 

How do we change this around? We need to truly value the skilled and technical professions. Today’s automotive technicians are brilliant men and women who are essential to our economy. It would be amazing:

  • If California were to value the dreams of a future automotive technician as equal to the dreams of a future UC or CSU student;
  • If standards-aligned CTE coursework in high school were regarded as equal in importance to college-prep coursework;
  • If the state gave the future automotive technician an educational grant to pursue post-secondary technical schools that is equal to the amount given to subsidize students at the UC or CSU.

What seems to be missing is an egalitarian vision that each person plays an equal and important role in our society. Each person deserves equal respect for their dreams along with equal educational resources to attain them. 

The members of CalABC can provide excellent paying jobs and rewarding careers to today’s students. Unfortunately, the foundation of our workforce development system in our public schools has disintegrated. 

Members of the industry are currently doing everything we can to hire enough technicians to meet the growing demand Private postsecondary colleges have been a great resource for students looking to enter the industry.

  • Trade school campuses like WyoTech here in West Sacramento are incredible. They are outfitted with the latest technology have highly skilled teachers and motivated students.
  • WyoTech also proactively engages in career fairs and job placement for all of their students. As an employer, we appreciate the skilled workers we receive and the outreach and partnering undertaken by the schools
  • We have major workforce development challenges. However, if these private institutions did not exist, the conditions would be much worse.

Community Colleges and private post-secondary vocational schools have a difficult challenge in trying to make-up for the failures of our K-12 system.

  • They must take students who have little knowledge of tools, engines and electrical theory and try to interest and train them to become technicians. It may take longer and more resources but they are able to provide the industry with a number of entry level technicians.
  • The industry desperately needs mid-level to high-end diagnostic technicians. This requires additional and more sophisticated training that builds upon the entry-level knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, this requires students to take out more loans and spend more tuition dollars to receive this training. Only a fraction is willing to follow this more expensive path and this is a problem.

The fact is, these higher-end positions are more easily developed when our post-secondary schools receive Incoming students who already have an existing base of knowledge, skills and interest. High schools should be providing this foundation and reducing both time and cost to students for career entry later. 

It is clear to the members of CalABC that the “real-world” shutdown of CTE in our high schools is having a profound impact on the ability of our post-secondary system to cost effectively produce high-end skilled workers. 

California’s K-12 public education system is not helping us (the employers) nor their students (future employees) by continuing to shutdown career and technical education (CTE) programs in grades 7-12.

  • In 2009, California has the lowest number of students enrolled in CTE in the state’s history.
  • Since 2003-04 when Governor Schwarzenegger was elected, the number of students who enrolled in Transportation-related CTE courses has fallen by 25% and the number of students enrolled in high school automotive-mechanics courses has fallen by 33%.
  • California likes to say “we love CTE” -- but CTE is actually being systematically killed off in our public schools.
  • As a result, students are no longer exposed to courses like “Metal Shop”, “Machine Shop”, or “Intro to Automotive” that cultivate real interest and awareness of the industry and the available careers.

Most of the men and women employed in today’s industry took auto-shop courses in high school. It is scary to think how we will replace these retiring workers with students who never saw an auto-shop in their high schools. The skilled worker pipeline is broken in grades 7-12. This, in turn, impacts the rest of the system. 

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