Skubick: Unions and community colleges disagree over training new workers

Welder at work, photo courtesy of Hi-Q Environmental Products Company

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Labor is boasting tonight that it is graduating more skilled workers from its apprenticeship programs than Michigan community colleges and at no expense to state taxpayers.

Now there’s a new report on how the state is filling the skilled trade jobs gap.

Governor Rick Snyder believes not everyone needs a four year college degree to land a high paying job and getting skilled training through other means is good.

The unions recently commissioned a report to compare their apprenticeship programs against the training offered by community colleges.

Apprenticeship vs. Community College

  1. $11,000 per student
  2.  Zero Cost to Taxpayers
  3.  Paid During Training
  4. C.C. Students No Pay
  5. Guaranteed a Job

The co-author of the report contends the state needs both to fill the job gap.

“We’ll never meet our need for skilled workers in Michigan without community colleges,” insists Jeff Guilfoyle of Public Sector Consultants.

The unions also point out that the graduation rates at community colleges hover around 16 to 40 percent while 64 percent graduate from the apprenticeship programs.

But the head of the Community College Association believes the data is misleading.

Take the governor, for example.

He earned credits at Kellogg Community College, transferred those to the University of Michigan and never graduated from Kellogg.

“He’s a negative on our graduation rates,” says Mike Hansen, CEO of Michigan Community College.

Hansen agrees it’s not unusual for students to come in, get what they want and leave without graduation. “Exactly. It’s a misrepresentation of the true characteristics of our students.”

The governor does not want this to turn into a union versus community college fight over who will train these new workers.

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