An innovative program operated by the Sacramento County Office of Education/Regional Occupational Program has been named a winner of the prestigious Golden Bell Award in the 20th annual Golden Bell Awards Program of the California School Boards Association.
The Outreach Construction Technology Program took top honors in the High School/County Offices of Education Category at the California School Boards Association Luncheon in San Francisco on Saturday, December 11.
The program was cited for its success in enabling at-risk students to complete their high school education while receiving on-the-job training in construction technology. It additionally was lauded for bringing education and training right to the neighborhoods of students, thus eliminating the barrier of transportation; working with existing community-based organizations to help recruit and provide support services to students; and utilizing the expertise of building and construction trades personnel to help educate and prepare students for entry-level jobs.
In the five years since its start, the Outreach Construction Technology Program has facilitated the construction of 31 single-family homes in the Sacramento area, providing students an opportunity to apply the skills they concurrently learn in the classroom. Among the subjects taught are math, technical reading, and GED preparation, as well as employability factors such as work ethics, employer expectations, personal communication, and life skills. Apprenticeship coordinators from various building and construction trades provide additional in-class support through lectures and demonstrations, while journeymen carpenters provide supervision on the job site.
The first class, begun in 1994, built two homes and graduated 20 students (seven women and 13 men)–18 of whom found immediate employment. The program has gone on to operate with similar success in the Del Paso Heights and Lemon Hill/South Sacramento communities, with the next construction project already underway in West Sacramento. As of June 1999, the program had graduated more than 145 students, has helped 45 students obtain their GED certificates, and placed over 160 students in construction-related careers.
Instrumental in the establishment and continuation of the program with the Sacramento County Regional Occupational Program was Northern California Construction and Training, Inc., and its President and Chief Operating Officer Bill Meehan. Mr. Meehan also holds the position of Executive General Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades, AFL-CIO, CLC, housed in Washington, D.C.
Other partners in the Outreach Construction Technology Program have included the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency (SHRA) and the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA).
Says Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools Dr. David P. Meaney, "This is a powerful example of what can happen when education and the business/industry community work together for our students."
Program partners and others whose participation has contributed to the success of the program are being honored at a reception presented by the Sacramento County Board of Education Tuesday, December 21.
Information about the Outreach Construction Technology Program and other vocational career training opportunities available from the Sacramento County Regional Occupational Program (ROP) may be obtained by calling (916) 228-2454.
The California School Boards Association Golden Bell Awards Program excellence in education by recognizing outstanding programs in school districts and county offices of education throughout California. The CSBA is a nonprofit association representing more than one thousand K-12 school districts and county offices of education in California.