Spring-Summer 2005

Workforce Investment at the Appalachian Center for Collaborative and Engaged Learning (ACCEL) in Zanesville

The Appalachian Center for Collaborative and Engaged Learning (ACCEL) in Zanesville benefits from extensive collaborations with schools in delivering its workforce development program. ACCEL's curriculum is designed to provide a virtual learning experience. To assess and provide guidance to students, the Mid-East Ohio Vocational School District provided a full-time career guidance counselor who administered an evaluation to assess what careers the students might want to explore, considering both career and academic interests and aptitudes, and also leading the students through the virtual career exploration. An industrial arts teacher then guided the students through the process of using the computers and corresponding industrial equipment.

With its Workforce Investment Act funding, ACCEL purchased a software package, CareerTEK, which provides the virtual learning experience in industrial technology, covering materials processing, weather forecasting and aerodynamics, and informational technology, including A+ Certification, I-Net+ (Internet technology) and Net+ (network administration) certification, and multimedia production. The industrial technology program involves 10 hours of virtual on-screen learning and 30 hours hands-on learning with industrial equipment.

In 1998, Congress passed the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to strengthen the nation's workforce development system by streamlining and coordinating the delivery of multiple employment, education, and training programs. WIA places new emphasis on serving at-risk youth within comprehensive state and local workforce investment systems by establishing a single funding stream for youth services and activities.

Each state must allocate 85 percent of its WIA youth funds to local areas. The remaining 15 percent is reserved for statewide activities, including incentive grants, technical assistance projects, management information systems, and evaluations. Under currently law, at least 30 percent of WIA youth funds must be dedicated to out-of-school youth, a percentage that is expected to increase substantially when Congress reauthorizes WIA (for more on this and the legislation in general, see "Understanding the Workforce Investment Act"). To be effective, a workforce program must work with a wide array of organizations in its community. CTCs and schools can play invaluable roles in this. Using the ACCEL program as one of its two prime examples, America Connects provides useful resources on how to start a CTC youth employment program.

Gary Lambert Gary Lambert is the President of ACCEL and Executive Director of the Muskingum County Business Incubator with thirty years experience in engineering, executive and plant management.  He serves as Vice President of The Ohio Community Computing Network (OCCN).


Comment on this article.