Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

Training Displaced Workers for Hot Jobs

Magazine article Vocational Education Journal

Training Displaced Workers for Hot Jobs

Article excerpt

In Southern California, the continued downsizing of the aerospace and defense industry has had a protracted, adverse impact on the economy. With more than 30,000 unemployed workers in Orange County, local aerospace and defense manufacturers have been compelled to restructure their workforce, which has meant the displacement of hundreds of workers.

Orange County's status as one of the hubs of high technology was built mostly on federal defense expenditures in aerospace and electronics. Today, cutbacks have resulted in significant problems for the local economy. Widespread job losses are expected to be permanent, and the need for retraining a new workforce presents a major challenge for leaders in both the private and public sectors.

Major aerospace industry leaders such as Rockwell, Hughes, McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed continue to release hundreds of workers from their payrolls monthly. Many of these dislocated workers are not inclined to participate in most "conventional" job training programs offered to the unemployed. They generally have higher levels of education, excellent work histories, higher earning potential and more sophisticated skills and abilities. For many, a job search assistance program is all they need to transition into new employment.

However, there are dislocated aerospace workers with little or no transferable skills who need to be retrained for jobs that offer good potential for growth. These workers are looking for training that will get them back to work quickly. They want their livelihoods--and their quality of life--to be disrupted as little as possible.

Quality retraining programs that fit this description are scarce.

Fullerton College has responded with customized training programs that meet the specific needs of this target group. Three certificate programs offered through the college's Office of Institutional Advancement have soaring enrollments. They reflect demand occupations that are "hot" in Southern California today:

CERTIFIED NETWARE ENGINEER. This 17-week program offers Novell certification as a network engineer. In addition to 30 hours of instruction and lab each week, students take seven required Novell exams to become certified as NetWare engineers. There are 50 students enrolled in day and evening sections. Waiting lists for the next session are nearly filled. …

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