SJR 91: Joint Subcommittee Studying
Economic Incentives to Promote the Growth and Competitiveness of Virginia's
September 18, 2002
During its second 2002 meeting,
the joint subcommittee heard testimony on (i) career and technical education
programs in Virginia's public schools and (ii) the Virginia Registered
The Code of Virginia requires
the Board of Education to incorporate into career and technical education
the Standards of Learning for mathematics, science, English, social studies,
history, and other subject areas as may be appropriate. The Standards
of Quality require local school boards to implement career and technical
The Board of Education's
regulations for accrediting public schools in Virginia require instruction
in career and technical education. Instruction in career and technical
exploration must be provided in each middle school. In addition, at least
three career and technical education programs and a minimum of 11 courses
in career and technical education must be provided in Virginia's
secondary schools. The joint subcommittee was told that 557,940 public
school students in grades 6 through 12 were enrolled in career and technical
education programs in the 20012002 scholastic year.
It was pointed out by certain
members of the joint subcommittee that Virginia's shipyards face
a shortage of machinists, electricians, riggers, crane operators and pipefitters,
to name just a few trades. In addition, the chief officer of Norfolk Naval
Shipyard testified that while his shipyard has enough work to keep its
7,500 laborers fully employed for the next six years, due to workers retiring
and the lack of replacement labor, his shipyard is going to lose 500 jobs
per year each of the next six years. Many of these are high-paying jobs.
The joint subcommittee expressed
concern that career and technical education programs in Virginia's
public schools, as currently structured, will not provide students with
the necessary skills for employment in the technical and mechanical trades
required in building and repairing ships. Representatives of Virginia's
shipyards stated that they would like to meet with Hampton Roads'
local school board superintendents and with representatives of the Department
of Education to present recommendations for career and technical education
in Virginia's public schools.
The Virginia Department of Labor
and Industry has primary responsibility for implementation of the Virginia
Registered Apprenticeship program. One of the department's main functions
under the program is to assist employer sponsors and employee apprentices
to help employees become certified as journeypersons by the Commonwealth
(the "journey-person" certification is a nationally recognized
certification, which may provide more career opportunities for individuals
obtaining it). Such assistance is provided by the department's field
representatives and includes, among other things, registering employer
sponsors and employee apprentices in Virginia's apprenticeship program
and working with employees to develop an educational curriculum that will
satisfy the educational component of their apprenticeship. The department
has a total of nine field representatives in Richmond, Manassas, Verona,
Norfolk, Roanoke, Abingdon, and Lynchburg. Virginia's Registered
Apprenticeship Program is funded entirely from the general fund.
Under the program, employers
register as participating sponsors with the department. Apprentices are
employees of the sponsor who must complete supervised on-the-job training
and related classroom instruction for each year of apprenticeship. On-the-job
training is provided by journeypersons employed by the sponsor. The ratio
of apprentices to journeypersons is generally one-to-one. The total cost
of an employee's apprenticeship is normally paid by his employer
(while there is no federal or state funding to pay for apprenticeship
costs, employer sponsors may be eligible for the worker retraining tax
credit provided under § 58.1-439.6 of the Code of Virginia).
The average term for an apprenticeship
is four years. It can be longer depending upon the occupation. Virginia's
apprenticeship program requires apprentices to complete a minimum of 2,000
hours of supervised on-the-job training and 144 hours of related classroom
instruction per year.
Currently, there are more than
10,000 registered and active apprentices working throughout the Commonwealth
representing about 300 different occupations.
The Hon. Thomas K. Norment, Jr.
For information, contact:
Division of Legislative Services
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