UAW INTERNATIONAL UNION AND GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION
ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO INVEST IN THEIR WORKERS
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The UAW International Union and General Motors Corporation (NYSE: GM) today announced the launch of a comprehensive program aimed at improving the basic educational skills of UAW-represented GM workers and their spouses.
"We are working together to invest in our workers and in the future of America," said UAW Vice President Stephen P. Yokich and GM Vice President Richard F. O'Brien. "We believe that all of our workers deserve opportunities to help them achieve their full potential as individuals and gain new job skills as craftpersons," Yokich and O'Brien added.
Workplace literacy has become a nationwide concern as America strives to become more competitive in the global economy. National studies estimate that 20 percent to 30 percent of all U.S. workers, as many as 30 million men and women across the country, are functionally illiterate and deficient in the basic skills they need to work effectively in their current jobs, fully participate in training programs, and successfully implement new technologies.
Since 1973, the UAW and GM have been working together to establish a variety of joint labor-management programs. These programs now help develop, educate and train some 300,000 UAW-GM workers who are located at more than 150 plants and warehouses throughout the United States.
The UAW-GM commitment is unequaled. At the UAW-GM Human Resource Center, headquartered here in this Detroit suburb, the union and the company operate the world's largest privately funded educational institution. Since 1984, the UAW and GM have jointly committed more than $1.3 billion toward education, training and retraining.
One of the most recent UAW-GM joint initiatives is the Employe Excellence Development (EED) Program that was created under the 1990 UAW-GM national collective bargaining agreement. The program, supported by a contractual provision of $30 million in joint funds, ensures that workers and their spouses have access to educational and training opportunities for basic skill development in areas such as math, reading, problem solving and language, and to master new skills and achieve personal goals in basic education.
The centerpiece of the EED Program is the establishment of joint Skill Centers at all 150 UAW-GM facilities. At most locations, Skill Centers will be dedicated learning facilities, staffed by full-time qualified instructors and counselors from local public schools, and operated during all work shifts.
The Skill Centers will be equipped with state-of-the-art computer technologies and courseware, as well as the latest video and laser disc players. Instructors will assess each worker's individual needs and develop personal instructional plans ranging from basic education to job-related technical training.
Already, the EED Program has been implemented at four pilot sites and 13 other plant facilities. Results have been impressive. At one of the pilot locations, for instance, at the Powertrain Division Malleable Iron Foundry Plant in Saginaw, Mich., the "model of partnership ... exceeded even the most optimistic projections," according to a study by Eastern Michigan University. The study pointed out that 104 workers gained an average of 30 percent in their levels of achievement within 480 hours of instruction at the plant's Skill Center.
Developed by joint teams of union-management representatives, the EED Program is designed to provide workers with a variety of new skills and new knowledge to improve their performance both on and off the job. The EED curriculum offers:
-- Adult basic education, providing an emphasis on skill development in the areas of reading, writing, language and math.
-- General education development, providing an opportunity to prepare for a high school equivalency exam for those who have not earned a high school diploma.
-- Educational enrichment, providing an opportunity to sharpen skills in areas such as math, writing, reading comprehension, communication, problem solving and science to assist workers in technical training, college courses or other personal goals.
-- High school completion, providing the necessary instruction in subject areas required to complete a high school diploma.
-- English as a second language, providing instruction in speaking and writing the English language for workers whose native tongue is not English.
-- Academic advising, providing individual counseling to help workers identify and pursue basic educational goals.
/CONTACT: Howard Erickson of UAW-GM Human Resource Center, 313-377-6524/
(GM) CO: UAW International Union; General Motors Corporation ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU: ML -- DE006 -- 2533 11/08/91 10:38 EST