Monday, August 06, 2007

UAW-GM Program

We recently ran a series of Agurbans on the issue of worker education and training, receiving a number of excellent responses. Here is one from Greg DuMars in southern Michigan where I am this week doing a series of talks.

Let me tell you about a program I used to be involved with when I was
working at the General Motors plant in Adrian, MI. The program was called
Partners in Education Program (PEP). This was a joint UAW-GM program
organized and supervised the the UAW-GM Center for Human Resources in
Flint, MI (Region 1-C).

Because of the distance from Adrian and Flint and the early successes in our program we had much autonomy in running our program. My UAW counterpart and myself promoted this program in all the school districts in our county (Lenawee, MI) and usually had 2 to 3 times the applicants as openings. We selected the educators (they ranged from teachers, guidance counselors and administrators) to work in our plant for an 8 week period. We selected non-traditional projects that did not take work away from anyone but provided a service to the plant.

My counterpart and myself worked daily with the educators to help them complete there projects. The program concluded with a presentation to management and union leadership to explain what they accomplished and how it would benefit the plant and then most importantly what they will do differently in the classroom (or school).

This was always an eye opener for these educators and they always went back to school with an entirely new outlook on the education process and what the students needed to learn to be successful when entering the "real world."

Unfortunately this program was discontinued due to lack of funding, but we had many success stories and a lot of good publicity about it when it was functioning.

We need more programs like this in today’s economy.

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