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Labor-management training programs established and funded through collective bargaining agreements at firms employing 1000 or more persons
Hensley, Stephen Michael
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Throughout the United States, workers are participating in training programs jointly established by their union and their company. These joint training programs have emerged as a significant innovation in employee training programs during the past fifteen years and are helping workers learn new technical skills, develop Better basic skills, and enrich their personal lives. These programs share unique characteristics including their contract language, funding arrangements, programmatic content, educational approach, and shared governance. Unfortunately, comprehensive information regarding these programs' origins, distribution, governance, organization, structure, operation, and management has been reported only using anecdotal approaches. This research void has constrained policy, pedagogical, and technical application of these programs' principles. This study used content analysis methodology to systematically collect and analyze information regarding 798 existing joint training programs that were established and conducted through the collective bargaining process. In addition, the study synthesized the existing literature regarding joint training programs including information from three previous studies. Specific research questions were used to analyze four types of existing joint labor-management training programs: skills training, apprenticeships, tuition assistance, and educational leave programs. Information regarding these programs' governance, organization, structure, operation, and management was also collected, analyzed, and reported. Selected findings and conclusions from the study include: 1. Current joint training programs for active workers are oriented toward providing technical skills needed in today's workplace rather than building the individual worker's basic skills. Over 90% of the agreements included in this study supported training workers in currently required job skills, general job skills, and new technology implementation. 2. Though popular literature indicates that reading, writing, and mathematics skills are becoming more important skills for today's workers, companies appear inclined to believe that these skills only obliquely impact their profitability or, more likely, see these activities as the individual workers' responsibilities. Among the agreements included in this study, support for career counseling, personal development courses, or high school diploma completion programs was limited to relatively few companies, unions, and standard industrial classifications. 3. Apprenticeship programs are the most common joint training program model and are found in all industrial classifications. This training process is not, as previously reported, overwhelmingly dominated by the construction industry. Apprenticeship provisions at companies in construction oriented standard industrial classifications represented just 39% of the total agreements with apprenticeship provisions. This percentage is only slightly higher than these agreements' representation within the study population as agreements with construction oriented companies represented 34 % of the agreements included in the study.
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