Apprenticeship Programs Can Lead To Credit
From The Plain Dealer:
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on April 10, 2014 at 2:43 PM, updated April 10, 2014 at 3:27 PM
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Ohio’s community college system is part of a new national consortium to make it easier for students in apprenticeships to transfer their experience into academic credit.
But the state and Cuyahoga Community College are among the leaders in this initiative, officials said.
Vice President Joe Biden recently announced the national program at the annual conference of the American Association of Community Colleges. Colleges participating in the Registered Apprenticeship College Consortium must agree to provide academic credit to students who complete certain apprenticeship programs.
The institutions would follow the credit recommendations made by third-party evaluators, who translate the skills learned during an apprenticeship into credit hours.
The voluntary consortium will be run by the U.S. departments of Education and Labor. In addition to the Ohio Association of Community Colleges, the Community College of Baltimore County and the Wisconsin college system have signed on to the program.
The U.S. Department of Labor has been working with state officials for three years on a program to provide college credit for apprenticeship programs, said Jeff Ortega, spokesman for the for the Ohio Association of Community Colleges. “Through this work Ohio has been recognized as a leader in the nation to welcome apprenticeships,” he said. “There are recognized programs in electrical trades and sheet metal and additional programs are under consideration for carpentry and pipefitter.”
Cuyahoga Community College has offered college credit through its construction apprenticeship program for 17 skilled trades in fields including bricklaying, carpentry, electrician and ironworking for more than 10 years.
It grants credit for courses taken at training centers across the state by those in registered apprenticeship programs, said program coordinator Patricia Pietraroia. An apprentice can receive 30 skilled trade credits and if he takes 30 general education courses at the college he can receive an associate degree, she said.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers-National Electrical Contractors Association Electrical Apprenticeship program for Inside Wireman has partnered with community colleges in the state to provide a path to a technical associate degree.
Currently, there are thousands of existing articulation agreements between a single college and local registered apprenticeship programs, according to the apprentice college consortium proposal.
The consortium will create a national network of colleges and registered apprenticeship sponsors allowing apprentice graduates to accelerate completion of their postsecondary degrees at member colleges.
The consortium will include members from community colleges, labor unions, business, and industry. The idea is to help students who are learning skills through an apprenticeship to also amass college credits, therefore reducing the time and cost for them to earn an associate or bachelor’s degree, said Biden.
“That’s a game change for a lot of people struggling to choose between going to work and going to college, when they can do both,” Biden said in his remarks at the convention. “With an apprenticeship, they are able to earn while they’re learning.”