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Next Step Committee

Next Step Committee Update November 5, 2013

This brief update is part of our ongoing efforts to introduce, educate, and entice the next generation of insulation industry team members. We have so much to offer in all aspects of the industry and the emergency need for craftspeople in both commercial and industrial insulation applications makes it critical that our next step is to be the industries best advocate in the most productive way. One of those ways is reaching out to educational leaders and organizations that have the attention of students that have yet to make that technical, political, professional, and or craft trade decision.

On Monday Nov 4, Linda Tracey, Mike Feehery, John Juzswik, and I had the pleasure to meet with José Palacios a Workforce Management Consultant with Marek Employment Management Company (MEMCO) and Mr. Michael Webster the Director of Career and Technical Education College and Career Readiness of the Houston Independent School District.

This was a productive and refreshing meeting with individuals coming together with a new mindset in the development of the education structure and how it complements the career path of the youth of today. It was confirmed that introducing the full range of choices for a career path and exposing those students starting in middle school was the best approach. This exposes them to not only the college degree opportunities and requirements for some of those choices but also the best choice of curricula for craft trade selection. The HISD and Austin are on the path of career ready students and are funding programs that help them make that choice early. This reminded me of the Distributive Education Program I was in at High School and I am sure many of you had some similar type program to get early working experience before moving on from high school to college or your career. Some of the programs HISD are using are “Career Cowboy” consisting of a mobile teaching/learning unit that goes out to the elementary schools to promote career awareness in jobs that don’t get much airplay for students. SWICA or your individual company can participate in this program. There are planned expos that use a Saturday to set up in the HISD parking lot for all students in HISD where companies set up their wares and bring in equipment, modules, have competitions geared to the age group and enlighten about each ones industry choices. This is the link to the one coming up in March https://houstoncte.wufoo.com/forms/when-i-grow-up-expo-2014/ .

I mentioned that this was refreshing to listen to as we as a country for the last several years have promoted college was the only way to make it in life. I have always hated to tell that to the craftsperson that barely made it through high school who is making 80K +annually, running a company, or owning one or several companies. Yes education is import but reality is the four year or more degree students are the minority in many areas of the country where they may have a much better chance working in a skilled craft or corresponding career. Tailoring education to recognize those individuals better suited for other choices and guiding them through core education curricula to succeed is where Michael Webster says HISD is headed. I want to thank John Juzswik for setting up the meeting and working to make a difference in our industry.

Later in the day members of the Next Step Committee met with Dr. JD Taliaferro Jr. the Director of applied Technologies Continuing and Professional Development within the San Jacinto College District. This meeting was scheduled to discuss the earlier meeting with committee members and Paul Brown invited Dr. Taliaferro to be a guest participant of the meeting. Again the same driving factor that is guiding the HISD is also driving San Jacinto College District training and recruitment. Dr. Taliaferro explained what current craft training curricula was being offered with welders and pipe fitters leading way. Having so many classes they have some of them scheduled from 10:00 PM to 2:00 AM and they are all full. These are Individual, Grant, or CMEF funded programs and according to the information grants are being let to whomever qualifies for training needs. Basically it is the NCCER curricula and they are willing to accommodate any craft as long as there is interest and financial backing.

So, SWICA’s Next Step Committee is getting involved and will be communicating with HISD and Sam Jacinto Districts to create educational literature on the insulation industry. Michael Webster will be sharing the best practices as seen by the interest generated with flyers, videos, speaker presentations, trade shows, and other informational deliveries. We will evaluate the best ones that we can make happen quickly and most economically. A great start would be to get a flyer to all the counselors/career guidance individuals and HISD is more than happy to help us with those contacts. We will continue to work on the best approaches based on their feedback. Our video has been a big help in the education and overall awareness of the insulation industry and now will be sent to all of these contacts for the introduction to the student population. We are looking at participating in the Career Cowboy Program and When I Grow Up Expo. All these take volunteers from our organization and I am excited to see the reception and interest in our industry affect those that never thought about it, and you should be too.

I know that this is a lot about Houston but it presents a great demographic area for insulation and piloting programs there will get us our best feedback in the shortest amount of time. Being a Louisiana man I understand and I will be working for the SWICA Next Step Committee to be part of the same push in my area. So those of you in areas with the same craft need concerns should be following this approach, sharing your ideas, and letting us at SWICA know about it so we can help support your efforts.

If this endeavor reaches, effects and directs the career path of only 10% of the upcoming high school graduates to the insulation industry these small steps will pay of big for all of the industry.

Remember we are the Green Industry that Makes Energy Production and Usage More Efficient and Clean!!
Thank all you for your participation and we are looking forward to insulation awareness gone wild!
Links to the HISD programs are on our website: http://www.SWICAONLINE.org
Till the NEXT STEP! Have a great day.

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