In order to come to the decision that this would be the best way to address a workforce education program at Edison College, though, there were many things that had to be considered. A panel of experts was formed to study the impact that this program could have, how it would work and be used, and whether there would be instructors available and students interested in it. If these things would not all come together, there was little point in trying to continue with the program. The experts talked with people in the community, took surveys of existing students, and talked with Habitat for Humanity and other organizations. They also implemented a DACUM process through which the panel of experts was located and the study into whether the workforce education program in construction would be beneficial was carried out. What type of licensing was needed for the instructors was addressed as well as what type of licensing the students would be able to attain upon completion of the program and how the school could meet those licensing requirements.
It was seen that there was little point in allowing students to go through a workforce education program if they were not able to obtain a license, degree, or certificate that would make them more employable in the future. This would not benefit the students, the instructors, the college, or the community in any way. While Habitat for Humanity does not require licensed volunteers, the students who attend the workforce education program at Edison College are looking for paying jobs when they graduate and do not plan to work fulltime as volunteers in most cases. Becoming more employable is their goal. The experiential learning that comes about from the cooperative educational model discussed previously is important to these students, and they will also receive credit for volunteer hours with Habitat for Humanity and be tracked by the State Department of Labor.
For many years, cities and towns all across the country have been growing at a rapid rate, and this is the case with the area around Edison College, as well. This is true of the larger metropolitan areas, but also true of the smaller cities. Because of this rate of growth, the cities have spread out much more than they really expected to have to. This has caused a great deal of urban sprawl, and the amount of people moving to the suburbs often causes people to relocate away from the downtown area. These people want to be close to the shops and other things that the downtown area provides, but they do not want to live in the tightly-grouped mass of people that is often found there. At least, it was found there in years past.
Now, however, building new homes in these and other areas has become a serious consideration, and many of these new homes are designed for lower-income people. That is where Habitat for Humanity comes in, and where Edison College can partner with both Habitat for Humanity and any revitalization efforts that are taking place. It is important to remember that not everyone who attends Edison College will be staying in that area, so being able to get involved in Habitat for Humanity and in revitalization projects all across the country will be something that those who are learning the construction trade there will want to accomplish. It can help make these people much more employable in the future and move their careers forward no matter where they choose to live.
They can also partner up with similar organizations to build clinics and other much-needed buildings. The healthcare field is growing rapidly to meet the needs of a changing population, and that means that more than just homes are required. Clinics, hospitals, and urgent care offices are required in many places, and there is a need for people to build them and people to work in them. As long as there are volunteers and as long as people remain interested in training for these fields, Edison College can help to ensure future growth and development in both of those areas.
As for projects that these individuals can get involved with, the revitalization of downtown areas is one of the best, and Habitat for Humanity is one of many organizations that people who learn the construction trade at Edison College can get involved in. It teaches them a valuable skill and will help them to build homes with Habitat for Humanity and other partner organizations. There are many construction companies in the area of Edison College as well, but most of them are not interested in partnerships whereby they take on people who have not yet learned a trade. In other words, they would have no problem hiring graduates from the construction program at Edison College but they have little interest in hiring those people who are still in school there and who are trying to get some on-the-job experience. This is why Habitat for Humanity is such a good choice -- it requires people to give of themselves, it teaches them valuable skills, and it is always in need of more people to help build homes for the needy in various communities.
As far as licenses, certifications, and other issues, Habitat for Humanity uses licensed contractors to supervise the work that's being done. This is very important, because these people can make sure that the volunteers are doing things correctly and that the home will pass the needed inspections. When a student successfully completes a set number of volunteer hours as well as classroom instruction, a certificate from the college can be issued. Future employers of that student will see that the individual has completed the Edison College course, which includes hands-on experience in the real world instead of only instruction in the classroom. This will make the graduates from Edison College highly employable in today's competitive job market and allow them to move into a career that they can enjoy and that they can do well in, both now and in the future.
In order for those students to succeed, however, they will need to meet required benchmarks. Just showing up to volunteer for a set number of hours will not be enough, and they must be tested on what they are capable of doing. Only students who can pass their examinations in the classroom and who are judged by their supervisors -- who are licensed contractors -- to be competent will be able to advance and to graduate with certification. To assess whether the program is a success how many students enroll, how well they perform, and what percentage of them graduate will be necessary. It will also be important to pay attention to trends that involve how the students feel about the work that they are doing, how many of them get jobs in their field, for what wages, and how quickly. Do these same students stay with that line of work? For how long? These are all issues that will be addressed and considered in order to determine the overall success of the workforce education program at Edison College.
In areas of Florida there is a definite partnership between the public and private investors, as downtown revitalization efforts have created over $1 billion in investments for small businesses (Faia, 2002; Blackburn, 2002). That is one great possibility for Edison College and the Habitat for Humanity program, since large amounts of capital are needed to make building homes for people a reality. Edison College and its construction/trade school program is committed to this, as is the Habitat for Humanity organization. But it cannot be done without the help of partners who are willing to give of their time and talents.
This is very important, because all of the small businesses and the new residents that come into a downtown area often do very well, and building homes in that area can help a town to prosper once again -- as well as helping the people in Habitat for Humanity housing gain jobs to ensure that they can keep their homes. Sometimes people do not even realize that the businesses that they see in the downtown have been in the town for a long time until homes start being built around them.
They have not been noticed largely because they were in downtown, but when downtown areas are begin to grow and prosper because people are moving back in, more of the downtown businesses are getting the business that they want and need in order to remain successful (Jeter, 2002). This also makes them very convenient to the people who are moving into Habitat for Humanity homes in those areas, and the develops and others who have partnered with Edison College and Habitat…