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A Work-Based Curriculum for the Pennsylvania Youth Apprenticeship Program (1992)

This curriculum was provided as part of the Curriculum and Instruction Conference presented by the Pennsylvania Youth Apprenticeship Program. An employer training matrix was also included.

Editor's Note: The following synopsis is based on materials extracted directly from the document. The Pennsylvania Youth Apprenticeship Program (PYAP), focused initially on the Metalworking Industry, is a work-based learning project designed to help prepare the highly skilled and flexible workers needed by manufacturing companies in the 21st century. PYAP is a program for mainstream students, as it was not designed for seriously at-risk students or as a dropout prevention program. The program is employer initiated based on employer needs, and it focuses on the development of a partnership between industry and school and a deep understanding of the relationship of school to work. This document contains a summary of the needs assessment that was conducted in conjunction with the development of PYAP, including the formation, findings, and recommendations of the study team that was created to perform the needs assessment. The team recommended that the program: -- Alter incentives for participating youth in ways that spur improved performance and achievement; -- Incorporate articulated classroom and workplace learning experiences; -- Provide participants with broad and deep skills that can lead to satisfying careers offering them both horizontal and vertical mobility and the ability to earn a good wage; -- Prepare participants for a process of lifelong learning; -- Provide an employer mentoring relationship to trainees at the worksite. Trainees would be paid training wages with no guarantee of or commitment to full time employment with the participating firm; -- Be large enough in size that it has an impact on the hiring and recruiting strategies of participating firms; and -- Include well-planned collaboration with a broad range of institutions such as secondary and post-secondary education providers, employers, unions, government officials, parents, and students. The Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC) University of Pittsburgh accepted the teacher training and curriculum development responsibilities for this program. LRDC help numerous workshops with teachers to introduce the new educational strategies and evaluate the feedback given by teachers. The writing of the curriculum involved a collaborative, multidisciplinary effort to develop the content, structure, and delivery of the proposed program. Curriculum elements include: -- The Literate Worker: a survey of American Literature combined with work-related writing assignments; -- Social Studies in the World of Work: topics in American History chosen to be pertinent to the students' employment; -- Forces at Work: the use of math, science, and machine technology as problem solving tools, especially as applied to work-related tasks; -- Machine Tool Technology: safety responsibility in the shop area, how to carry out responsibilities safely, as well as issues related to obtaining and keeping a job; and -- Focus Projects: flexible, self-directed study covering why work is important, why safety is important, getting along at work, and problem-solving.


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