OVAE Connection -- August 19, 2010
Archived Information

Cummings Headed Back to Maine to Run Good Will-Hinckley

Glenn Cummings, who has served as deputy assistant secretary in OVAE for the past year and a half, is leaving that post at the end of September 2010. Cummings will become president and executive director of Good Will-Hinckley, a 121-year-old organization serving at-risk youths in Hinckley, Maine. As noted on its website, Good Will-Hinckley has a history of providing “educational services to students in grades kindergarten through twelve who experience significant social-emotional and behavioral challenges.” At the same time that the board of Good Will-Hinckley announced Cummings’ appointment, it announced discussions it is holding with the Maine Community College System about opportunities for a “more contemporary” use of Hinckley's 2,400-acre campus. Prior to his federal service, Cummings was a high school teacher, dean at Southern Maine Community College, speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, majority leader and chairman of the state’s Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs, where he sponsored the bill to create the state community college system.

P/PV Outlines Approaches for Teaching Soft Skills

Public/Private Ventures (P/PV) has posted a review of programs that do a noteworthy job of teaching soft skills in Hard Work on Soft Skills: Creating a “Culture of Work” in Workforce Development, available free for downloading. The publication describes how four different organizations use strategies that infuse soft skills development throughout their programs by integrating them with hard skills training.

Innovative and Unique Programs in the Architecture and Construction Cluster

As part of the series to share noteworthy programs from each of the 16 career clusters, this fifth article focuses on the Architecture and Construction Career Cluster. Previous issues covered agriculture, STEM, transportation and education.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment growth is expected in the construction industry. Population growth, deteriorating infrastructure, aging buildings and the greening of the industry will generate projected job growth of 19 percent between now and 2018, according to BLS. The pathway defined by the cluster offers special ways for schools to collaborate with communities and opens non-traditional career opportunities for students. Following are descriptions of two programs that illustrate innovative approaches expressed within this cluster.

Texas’s Brenham High School has a partnership with the Brazos Valley Affordable Housing Corporation and local businesses to support the goal of the Construction Technology classes to build a 1,320 square-foot-home that will be sold to an income-qualified family in the area upon completion. In their classroom experience, students learn safety, tool identification and usage, materials identification, materials calculation and usage, blueprint reading, and construction-related mathematics, as well as proper measuring and leveling techniques. In the lab, students use tools and materials and have hands-on experiences from which they develop the skills required to construct the house from the ground up. Finally, students have the opportunity to obtain an OSHA 10-hour Safety Certification, which may be valuable in seeking employment. A side benefit is that students learn about the impact they can have on the lives of others and the satisfaction that can come from a high level of engagement with the community. This Texas Program of Study includes courses such as Principles of Architecture and Construction, Construction Technology I, II and III, and a practicum in construction management.

The cluster also offers promise for women and girls who want to move to non-traditional careers. The Hard Hatted Women initiative in Ohio trains women for work in trades and technical careers—any job requiring a hard hat. In the construction and highway industries a woman can become a painter, pipefitter, electrician, carpenter, operating engineer or other tradeswoman. Or, she can become a project manager, technician, engineer or architect. There are many pathways towards these careers. Most trade careers begin with graduation from a registered apprenticeship program. Once a woman completes the training, she can get paid well to build upon her trade skills, while also earning college credit for the work.

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Last Modified: 08/14/2013