By Morgan Appel, director of the Education Department, UC San Diego Extension
Conventional wisdom suggests that education is the stock and trade of primary, secondary and postsecondary institutions. In point of fact, however, ongoing professional development is the mainstay of most professions and key to advancement for those participating therein. The professions tend to place a premium on access, affordability and convenience, in addition to a robust, real-time experience for all involved.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the trades, where top-tier instruction is not solely critical for upward mobility—but for survival as well. Trade unions go to great lengths to ensure that those new to the profession are well prepared for work in the field. In the electrical industry, these trainings are the domain of the National Joint Apprenticeship Center, or NJATC. NJATC supports members of the National Electrical Contractors Associations (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), through local joint apprenticeship training committees utilizing standardized education programs developed internally (please see the NJATC website for more information: http://www.njatc.org/home.aspx).
Recently, the Education Department at UC San Diego Extension formed a training partnership with NJATC to provide contextually focused training in andragogy and differentiated instruction using a blended learning model. These courses offer novice and seasoned NJATC instructors the opportunity to sharpen skill sets in particular areas of curriculum development and delivery, focused upon circumstances and requirements unique to the electrical industry. Coursework and programming feature distinct experiences for those working in and out of doors as well as capstone projects that can be used to demonstrate skills and competencies in working with adult learners. As envisioned, the courses complement and scaffold upon existing onsite professional development offered by NJATC, particularly the National Training Institute (NTI) held annually at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Senior NJATC training staff has worked closely with instructors and administrators in the Education Department to adopt, adapt and more finely hone elements of existing certificate programs in Teaching Online and Teaching Adult Learners. Courses in the program will be taught by Education Department instructors and NTI faculty hailing from prestigious universities across the United States. The proposed certificate program will receive guidance from an advisory board comprised of stakeholders from the University community and those from NJATC and its trade union constituencies.
Set for rollout at the NTI meeting in late July, the program proffers a unique perspective on the academic and service missions of the University and the reciprocal benefits inherent in postsecondary/industry partnerships. For more information about this article or the NJATC partnership, please contact Morgan Appel, Director, Education Department, at firstname.lastname@example.org.