For the Laborers’ Union, a Cranston, Rhode Island charter school is a “labor of love,” writes Julia Steiny in the Providence Journal.
Struggling to recruit high school graduates as members, the union worked with the school district to create the New England Laborers’ Career Academy, which prepares students for construction apprenticeships and work in other jobs. The school provides an alternative to students who aren’t motivated by academic learning and are likely to drop out.
At Laborers, Cranston academic teachers and instructors who are journeyman laborers themselves jointly craft an academic program geared to the construction trade. For example, math involves everything from learning financial literacy to calculating the volume of concrete needed for a job. The skills are the same as those taught in traditional schools, but applied to the world of construction.
Some students want an alternative to a traditional high school but aren’t interested in construction work. So the school also offers a general career program to motivate them to earn a diploma.
School staffers develop summer and post-graduation jobs for students. Those who want more education are “on a fast track to an associate’s degree in applied science” at the local community college.