Nine California high schools have been selected for a pilot program that will introduce students to pre-apprenticeships in the construction trades while also putting them on a solid footing for university admission.
The schools will pilot a pre-apprenticeship curriculum called the Multi-Craft Core Curriculum, or MC3, which blends academics with job training in the construction fields. The curriculum has previously only been used on adults; the high schools will help tailor the program for younger students.
Programs in the course will meet the requirements, called a-g, required to be eligible for admission to University of California or California State University campuses, and students who successfully complete the program will receive national industry certification from North America’s Buildings Trades Unions, according to information from the California Department of Education.
The Department of Education developed the program in collaboration with the California Labor Federation, North America’s Building Trades Unions and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. The partnership will allow students to receive real-world work experience in the construction trades while also following an integrated curriculum in school.
Such experiences “provide that all important and all-elusive authenticity and real-life experience, and we leverage that all the time in our content courses,” said Angie Hummel, director of the Sustainable Academy of Building and Engineering at Hoover High School in San Diego, a participant in the pilot program.
About 245 students in grades nine through 12 participate in SABE, which has been designated as a California Partnership Academy. The academy, focused on sustainable construction, operates as a school-within-a-school, where students are immersed in the construction industry in all aspects of their education, and also receive hands-on experience in the field.
Students might study construction safety in a career technical education component of the program, and then would move into a history class, where they would learn about the labor movement and the rise of unions, Hummel said. The integrated curriculum helps keeps students motivated and engaged in what they’re learning.
The pilot program will extend opportunities for students to learn about careers in the construction fields and set them on a path for a job directly out of high school, if they so desire. But the program doesn’t ignore the academic side, Hummel said.
“We still have the responsibility to make sure all students are college and career ready and we don’t pigeon-hole them into a ‘track,’” she said.
Other academies selected for the pilot are the Green Energy Technology Academy at Laguna Creek High School in Elk Grove; the ACE Academy at Jordan High School in Long Beach; the Green Construction Academy at Norte Vista High School in Riverside; the Sustainable Design and Green Construction academy at Salinas High School; the CORE academy at Arroyo Valley High School in San Bernardino; the GreenBuild and Engineering Academy at North County Trade Tech High School in Vista; the Construction and Design Academy at Arvin High School; and the Green Manufacturing, Engineering and Construction academy at Soquel High School.
Academies are “the cutting edge of educational reform,” Hummel said. “We’re really connecting students to their community and to working for their community. It changes that level of motivation they get and adds a level of authenticity and relevancy (to their education). The career technical education model is reforming what we do, and it’s changing what we can do in other content areas like English, history, math and science.”