How Toyota is Helping Engineer a New Future for 11 Cincinnati Kids


When 11 Cincinnati high school students started a summer program at Woodward Technical High School to learn mechanical engineering from Toyota engineers, they weren’t exactly chomping at the bit.

“At first, you could tell they weren’t really interested,” said Robbie Tackett, one of the five Toyota engineers who spent five days a week for the last six weeks working on technical skills with the students. “But once we got to the hands-on activities, actually connecting the circuits and doing the programming, they became more engaged.”

Preparing the Next Generation of Manufacturers through Community Colleges

On July 9, Governance Studies at Brookings hosted a half-day conference focused on the growing partnerships between community colleges and the manufacturing sector. Panels focused on the future of workforce development and the role of community colleges in the training of manufacturing workers. How are community colleges working to prepare the next generation of innovators in the manufacturing space and ready young adults to enter the workforce?

Watch the video here.

Why We Need Apprenticeship Programs for High School Students

By Heather Singmaster on July 9, 2015 12:02 PM

If you are a 15-year-old beginning high school, which country would you rather belong to?

Country A:

  • Youth unemployment rate of 10.1%
  • Approximately 5.5 million of the 16- to 24-year-olds are neither in school nor working
  • 14.9% of youth are underemployed (employed part-time or not to their full level of experience)
  • 15th happiest country in the world

Country B:

  • Youth unemployment rate of 3.1%
  • Overall unemployment rate of 3.1%
  • Happiest country in the world

Figure out what is Country A and Country B here.

A New Look at Apprenticeships as a Path to the Middle Class


NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — With its gleaming classrooms, sports teams and even a pep squad, the Apprentice School that serves the enormous Navy shipyard here bears little resemblance to a traditional vocational education program.

And that is exactly the point. While the cheerleaders may double as trainee pipe fitters, electricians and insulators, on weekends they’re no different from college students anywhere as they shout for the Apprentice School Builders on the sidelines.

But instead of accumulating tens of thousands of dollars in student debt, Apprentice School students are paid an annual salary of $54,000 by the final year of the four-year program, and upon graduation are guaranteed a job with Huntington Ingalls Industries, the military contractor that owns Newport News Shipbuilding.

Read the article here.

What Happens When Struggling High-Schoolers Take College Classes

High schools across the country are taking what might seem like a counterintuitive approach to educating some of their most at-risk students.

They’re enrolling them in college before they even graduate from high school.

A new report from the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy suggests that dual-enrollment programs, where students take classes simultaneously in high school and at a local college, have proven especially successful at getting less-affluent and first-generation students into college—and through it.

Read the rest of the article here.

As City Prepares to Redouble Focus on Career and Tech Programs, Fariña Names New Leader

photo by jessica glazer
Students at Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School. ( Photo by Jessica Glazer )

The longtime principal of “Coop Tech” is the city’s new head of career and technical education.

John Widlund is well-versed in the city’s programs mixing practical skills and academics, having started teaching electrical installation at just 19 years old through an apprenticeship program. Twenty years later, and after a seven-year stint leading the School of Cooperative Technical Education, he will be overseeing CTE programs citywide Chancellor Carmen Fariña, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the teachers union have all promised to ramp up their support.

“One hundred and twenty thousand kids each year are touched by our CTE programs,” de Blasio said in June, “and we are going to strengthen them and we are going to make them available to even more.”

Read more about it here.

How Can Data Rebuild Cities?

I was in San Francisco to participate in The Atlantic’s City Makers summit, a forum to address how technological innovations can mitigate issues of poverty, inequality and workforce development. A number of mayors, in town for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, joined us. As these local leaders know well, cities have become the center of our most pressing social, economic, and environmental challenges.  But cities have also become centers of innovation where partisanship is put aside and mayors and other leaders come together to confront these challenges and build consensus around creative, practical solutions.

And cities are coming up with new ways of working across the public and the private sectors, because the old models just don’t work anymore. Governments are operating with far fewer resources at a time when cities are facing far bigger challenges.

See how J.P. Morgan Chase uses data to generate career pathways for training new middle-skill workers here.

Labor Secretary Says Apprenticeship Efforts Key to Skilled Work Force During Triad Visit


Thomas Perez offered a unique analogy for the U.S. Department of Labor during a visit to Forsyth Technical Community College on Tuesday, saying that the department he heads as secretary is like the online dating website

“We try to match job seekers who want to punch their ticket to the middle class with employers who want to grow their business,” Perez said during a roundtable discussion at the college with local members of the biotech industry.

Read more here.