Job Corps Fraud Blog

Nationwide mismanagement of Job Corps calls for action!

Job Corps and National Labor Unions (Part Two)

First of all, let me explain my position on unions.  They have an important place in our society (and history).  Without unions, the American worker would not have the decent working places or benefits it has today.  In fact, history is rife with examples of the power of trade unions to affect changes in workplace laws that have resulted in better work conditions for all, not just union members.

I also know that there can be problems with unions. As history has also shown, there have been records of corruption and racketeering within its ranks. My personal position is more of a balanced one. I am neither vehemently pro-union or anti-union.  But, as with all organizations, there is the good and the bad.

I have worked in places that were union- run and non union- run for about 45 years.   I have also had the opportunity to work as a “non-union” person alongside union workers (Job Corps). So, I also  have the personal basis for comparison, from my own experience and  from having  a knowledge of history and events that have taken place in my short lifetime of about 60 years.

Let me begin with my basic premise that Job Corps is all about teaching and learning.  Would you agree? In all educational institutions there are requirements to be met for persons who “teach.” The trade instructors I met at Job Corps are excellent tradesman.  I’m certain they could build an intricate cabinet or lay concrete better than any other tradesmen I know.  But, there is a glaring gap…  they are not teachers.  There, I’ve said it as simply as possible. As many of you may know, teaching is a highly skilled “trade” or profession that also requires years of training and knowledge.  The teaching trade also has “interns”, similar to an “apprentice”, and there are master teachers, similar to “journeymen.”

Vocational teachers in high schools are required (yes, required) to have had classes in “how to teach” prior to be being hired as a vocational High School instructor. Whether they are teaching auto repair or welding, they are required to have had basic classes in learning theory.  What do they learn in these basic, ground-level classes? One thing they learn is how to be in control of their class.  They also learn that everyone has a different learning style. (I personally learn best by hearing.)  You may learn best by seeing, and some people learn by doing.  When one is teaching a class, one must ensure that the lesson is presented so that all learning styles are addressed. Also, perhaps one of the most important lessons to be learned is that learning cannot occur if the class is not structured (to start on time, to have expectations that there aren’t any distractions, that students are paying attention etc. etc.)  Learning takes place when an “environment” is created by the teacher for it to take place.

What I witnessed was an appalling lack of control in some of the trades’ classrooms.  I did not see that same “out of control chaos” in classes where there were educated teachers.  (I did see it in other classes where Shriver hired someone  without any teaching background at all.)  The objection I have to Job Corps utilizing unions for its trade instructors is that most of the union instructors I have seen at both the Job Corps centers where I was employed were tradesmen, not teachers.   The only exception I saw to this at Shriver was the TCU (Transportations Communications Union) instructor.  (I’ll talk more about this later.)

Once, when Shriver was warned that the DOL was coming for an inspection, I was given the task of taking the ten paint students off-center in a van to visit the Whitney Field mall for the day (until the DOL left.)  The students were so out of control, they couldn’t be trusted on center at the same time as the DOL. Further, what I saw in two years was students from the painting trade consistently and collectively being the worst students on center.  Is there some strange phenomenon that should be studied by science to figure out why only people who are  obnoxious and out of control have an innate desire to be painters? Or, could it possibly be the teacher?  You decide.

I’m going to leave my readers with a question today.  If Job Corps is overseen by the Department of Education do you think it would be all right for tradesmen not to meet the minimum standards required of a trade teacher in a high school or vocational school?  Why is this exception to the rule ok in Job Corps?

Shriver Job Corps Center is managed by Adams and Associates of Nevada.

Watch for Job Corps and Trade Unions Part Three (coming soon.)


Filed under: Adams and Associates, Contractors, Job Corps, Labor unions, , , , , , , , ,

9 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. c says:

    I was just curious. Is the residential staff part of a union?


  2. uninciccasy says:

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!



  3. James says:

    Trade instructors should be certified vocational teachers no matter which government department is running the centers. At one time, this was an expectation of the Job Corps system. In states where vocational certification programs were available through learning institutions, and recognized by the state, Job Corps trade instructors were required to be taking classes leading to certification.

    In Job Corps, this rule has been relaxed or ignored at times when certified instructors can not be found to fill positions. So the requirements are relaxed and there is then a greater probability of the kind of classroom chaos that you have seen at Shriver JC.

    In my many years working in the Job Corps system, I have seen the “obnoxious” factor move around from trade to trade. I have seen it in Welding, Painting, Plumbing, Plastering, Nursing Assistant. What is the common denominator here? I believe it is the standards for behavior that the instructor sets along with the standards of the training managers, directors, counselors, center directors, etc. If they are strong leaders, working in concert with one another, then there is an environment conducive to learning. The front line are the instructors, counselors and dorm staff.


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