NCCER Credentials lead Job Corps graduates to construction careers
NCCER and the National Office of Job Corps enjoy a longstanding relationship that helps prepare young people for construction careers. Many of Job Corps' 126 centers across the country offer NCCER training and industry-recognized credentials in crafts such as carpentry, electrical, plumbing, masonry, welding and HVAC.
To encourage young people to earn these valuable industry credentials, the U.S. Department of Labor funds Job Corps' NCCER programs, and Job Corps issues credit to local centers when students receive NCCER credentials. To determine the amount of credit awarded, Job Corps classifies credentials as either primary or secondary based on industry criteria for employment. Primary credentials have higher credit weight because they encompass proficiency in a majority of essential job duties, while secondary credentials play a supportive role to the main job functions.
Currently, Job Corps classifies both NCCER's Core Curriculum: Introductory Craft Skills and craft-specific level curricula as primary credentials. Job Corps recently announced through Information Notice 15-14 that beginning July 1, 2016, NCCER Core Curriculum will be reclassified as a secondary credential in the Job Corps system. This change is designed to recognize Core Curriculum as foundational, preparing students for success with subsequent, more craft-specific NCCER credentials, which lead directly to in-demand careers in the construction industry. Core Curriculum, therefore, is viewed as supportive or secondary to the main job functions, which are reflected in the primary craft-related curricula.
By placing additional weight on NCCER level credentials, students, contractors and local Job Corps centers all benefit. Students who earn NCCER primary, or craft-related, credentials are better prepared for advanced careers with greater earning potential upon graduation. In addition, Job Corps centers can strengthen their programs through student retention. Contractors who hire graduates get skilled workers to fill high-demand positions, and Job Corps centers serve a critical function in support of economic growth.
NCCER's training and credentialing process begins with Core Curriculum, a prerequisite to most NCCER Level 1 curricula. The curriculum covers topics such as safety, introductions to hand and power tools, construction math and more. Trainees who complete Core Curriculum have the basic skills needed to continue training in a specific craft area. NCCER craft curricula are structured based on levels of progression, starting with Level 1. The number of levels in a craft program is synonymous with the number of years for registered apprenticeship, which can range from one to five years of training.
About the Author
Jennifer Wilkerson is the Director of Marketing for NCCER.