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INDUSTRY CRUSADERS FIGHT WORKFORCE TRAINING PROBLEMS

 CLEVELAND, Jan. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Listening to politicians, pundits, interest groups and self-appointed seers provokes the notion that U.S. industry is no longer able to lead the nation's economy. But, if not industry, who?
 "Industry Week" (IW) magazine, in its Jan. 4 issue, contends that there is, in fact, no sector better able to exercise economic leadership and cure the nation's ills than American industry. In a series of nine articles, IW editors explore areas where it feels industry is already leading -- a few pioneering companies that are showing the way where others can follow. Some have already cracked the daunting health-care issue. Some have taken education and their unskilled workforces into their own hands.
 IW's ongoing crusade to reinstate the concept of youth apprenticeships into the U.S. workplace is illustrated by several examples of companies that are successfully using the concept to fight a growingly unskilled workforce.
 A coalition of six industrial firms in the Rockford, Ill. area, the magazine noted, are primary movers behind a surge in work-based learning programs modeled on hallowed German youth apprenticeship fundamentals. These companies have developed one of the most progressive and aggressive implementations of youth apprenticeship programs in the nation, and they are archetypes for demonstrating corporate citizenship in workforce training/apprenticeship programs.
 Elco Industries fits that mandate because it has taken a strong leadership role in fostering conventional adult apprenticeships within its own corporate walls and youth apprenticeship programs for the needs of the local economy that is 40 percent manufacturing-based. The five other companies supporting the modern-day apprenticeship programs in the area are Atwood Industries, Header Die & Tool Inc., Ingersoll Milling Co., Pfauter-Maag Cutting Tools/American Pfauter Ltd. and Rockford Spring Co.
 Elco, a $190 million maker of industrial and consumer fasteners, has demonstrated leadership and citizenship by fostering a local version of the national effort to establish "Tech Preps." Such educational initiatives support technical education in high schools and post- secondary institutions while helping industry meet its needs for a well- trained entry-level workforce.
 Tech Prep is being advanced by business, industry, educators and the Department of Labor's Bureau of Apprentice Training as a viable alternative to the so-called college-prep track that is the general hallmark of education in the U.S. In high school, Tech Prep students receive both academic and "real world" technical education and upon graduation, they are encouraged to pursue a two-year college degree, an adult apprenticeship or some combination. The academic preparation in high school is rigorous enough to qualify these students for four-year degree programs.
 Funded with Labor Department grants to the tune of $125,000 a year for the two counties near Rockford through 1995, the first Tech Prep manufacturing academy opened in the area last September and another one is on the way in September 1993. Though not the first industry-oriented program in the nation, the Rockford version targets all high-school students in a two-county area.
 "Industry Week" is the management magazine for industry published by Penton Publishing.
 -0- 1/4/93
 /CONTACT: Chuck Day of Industry Week, 216-696-7000 or 216-521-3861 after hours/


CO: Industry Week ST: Ohio IN: PUB SU:

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Date:Jan 4, 1993
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