Minimum Qualifications for Apprenticeship Instructors: On the Road to a New Relationship Between the Academic Senate and the Apprenticeship Community

April
2018
John Freitas, Treasurer, ASCCC Standards and Practices Committee Chair
Lorraine Slattery-Farrell, South Representative, ASCCC CTE Leadership Committee Chair

Beginning in fall of 2016, the Academic Senate has been engaged in conversations and negotiations with representatives of the Chancellor’s Office and the California Apprenticeship Council (CAC) regarding the minimum qualifications for apprenticeship instructors, which are established in Title 5 section 53413. The current apprenticeship minimum qualifications were established in 1990 following the passage and implementation of AB 1725. Apprenticeship minimum qualifications are being revisited as a result of the recommendation 14(f), in the 2015 Strong Workforce Task Force report[1] which called for convening “representative apprenticeship teaching faculty, labor organizations, and other stakeholders to review the appropriateness 
of minimum qualifications for apprenticeship instructors.” While the initial conversations between the statewide Academic Senate, representatives of the California Apprenticeship Council, and the broader apprenticeship community were tense, the ongoing dialog resulted in greater understanding between the Academic Senate and the California Apprenticeship Council of their respective roles in the establishment of apprenticeship instructor minimum qualifications and the promise to engage in other matters of mutual concern. As a result of this dialog, agreement was reached on revisions to the minimum qualifications for apprenticeship instructors in Title 5 section 53413 to be presented to the delegates at the Spring 2018 Plenary Session for support, and to the Board of Governors for review and action.  Moreover, a new and positive relationship has been established between the statewide Academic Senate and the California Apprenticeship Council and the apprenticeship community it represents.

As stated earlier, the minimum qualifications for apprenticeship faculty are established in Title 5 section 53413,[2] for both credit and noncredit apprenticeship courses. In the fall of 2016, representatives of the Chancellor’s Office worked with representatives of the California Apprenticeship Council , which consists of commissioners from both labor and management in the industrial (or construction) trades, to develop a proposal for revised minimum qualifications. At that time, the Academic Senate expressed concerns over not being consulted. Furthermore, given the move by the Chancellor’s Office to expand apprenticeship programs through the California Apprenticeship Initiative into areas such as child development and health care, the Academic Senate became concerned about potential unintended consequences of changing the apprenticeship minimum qualifications. In January 2017, after the CAC adopted the fall 2016 proposal for the purposes of making a recommendation to the Board of Governors, the Academic Senate engaged with the Chancellor’s Office to intervene in the process before any further action occurred.

At first, it may seem puzzling that the California Apprenticeship Council asserted that it not only has a role in recommending minimum qualifications for apprenticeship instructors, but that it also has the primary role in that regard. After all, faculty minimum qualifications constitute an academic and professional matter, and Education Code section 87357(a)(1) states that with regards to minimum qualifications for faculty, the Board of Governors is to “rely primarily on the advice and judgment of, the statewide Academic Senate.” However, in that same section it is also stated that “(w)ith regard to minimum qualifications for apprenticeship instructors, the board of governors shall consult with, and rely primarily on the advice and judgment of, appropriate apprenticeship teaching faculty and labor organization representatives.”[3] It is because of this latter clause that the CAC asserted itself as both the representative of apprenticeship teaching faculty and labor organizations. The latter clause was added to Education Code in 1993 with the passage of SB 343, following the adoption of the current apprenticeship minimum qualifications in 1990. One can reasonably assume that this was a reaction to the change in apprenticeship minimum qualifications that have lacked consultation by the Academic Senate with the apprenticeship community. The point of contention between the Academic Senate and the CAC then became about who represented apprenticeship teaching faculty.

In the spring of 2017, the Office of Academic Affairs in the Chancellor’s Office agreed to an expedited version of the Disciplines List revision process which would include the following steps:

  1. Academic Senate and apprenticeship instructors meet in April 2017 to develop a proposal to change the apprenticeship minimum qualifications. This meeting occurred on April 6, 2017 and a proposal was drafted. Among other changes, this proposal reduced the general education unit requirement from 18 to 12 units and allowed the general education requirement to be completed within two years of employment. This proposal was subsequently endorsed by the ASCCC Executive Committee at its April 19, 2017 meeting.[4]
  2. The Academic Senate conducts first hearings in the north and south in May 2017. Hearings were conducted on May 3, 2017 at Los Angeles City College and on May 4, 2017 at the San Jose Marriott.
  3. Representatives of the Academic Senate and the CAC meet in a conference committee in the summer of 2017 meeting facilitated by the Chancellor’s Office to reach a final agreement.
  4. The CAC would take action in fall 2017 at their 4th Quarter meeting and the Academic Senate would complete the process with a second hearing and action by resolution at the fall 2017 plenary session.
  5. Following Academic Senate and CAC action in fall 2017, the proposal would go to Consultation Council, and then to the Board of Governors, with final action taken by March 2018.

While steps 1 and 2 occurred, steps 3-5 did not occur as planned. Instead, the CAC established a special work group that convened during the summer of 2017 and worked with representatives of the Workforce and Economic Development Division in the Chancellor’s Office to develop a revision based on the proposal developed at the April 6 meeting. The Chancellor’s Office did not consult with the Academic Senate on this later work.

In the absence of further information from the Chancellor’s Office, the Academic Senate put forward Resolution 10.01 F17 for consideration at the Fall 2017 Plenary Session to recommend the minimum qualifications revision proposed by the April 6 work group.[5] The week before the Plenary Session, the Academic Senate representatives attended the October 25-26 4th Quarter CAC meeting and engaged in dialog with the apprenticeship community, including the CAC Chair, regarding minimum qualifications. The latest CAC draft of the apprenticeship minimum qualifications was distributed and had considerable overlap with the recommendation from the April 6 work group that was being brought to plenary for action by the delegates. Because of this, the Academic Senate engaged in further conversations with the CAC Chair about the possibility of continued dialog, to which openness was expressed. Subsequently, a recommendation to submit to the Resolutions Committee a motion to withdraw Resolution 10.01 F17 was brought to the November 1, 2017 Executive Committee meeting, debated, and approved. The motion to withdraw Resolution 10.01 F17 was approved by the delegates on November 4. Also, the delegates adopted Resolution 10.02 F17, which called on the Academic Senate to “continue efforts to engage in sustained and respectful dialog and collaboration with the Department of Industrial Relations, the California Apprenticeship Council, and the broader apprenticeship community to provide the highest quality educational experiences in all apprenticeship programs offered by the California Community Colleges.”[6]

Subsequent to the Fall 2017 Plenary Session, the Chancellor’s Office put forward the draft change to the apprenticeship instructor minimum qualifications that had been developed in the summer on the November Consultation Council agenda.[7] Ultimately, the Chancellor’s Office agreed to remove the proposal from the Consultation Council agenda until the Academic Senate and the CAC could continue to engage in the dialog started at the 4th Quarter CAC meeting. The Academic Senate met with the CAC Chair other CAC representatives on November 30, 2017 to discuss next steps. In addition to discussions about the minimum qualifications issue, productive dialog occurred about the difference between apprenticeship and career education, and about other concerns within the apprenticeship community, such as curriculum approval. The CAC representatives agreed to consider any remaining Academic Senate concerns through continued dialog and work with the Academic Senate on refining the apprenticeship minimum qualifications. Ultimately, agreement on final language was reached in early January, 2018.

At the 1st Quarter CAC meeting January 25, 2018, the CAC voted to approve the final language, thanked the Academic Senate for its collaborative efforts, and expressed optimism at building a positive and constructive relationship between the Academic Senate and the apprenticeship community. At its February 2018 meeting, the Executive Committee voted to support the apprenticeship minimum qualifications proposal approved by the CAC and to express that support at the February Consultation Council meeting and at the first reading at the March Board of Governors meeting. Furthermore, the Executive Committee has put forward a resolution in support of final approval by the Board of Governors for consideration by the delegates at the Spring 2018 Plenary Session.

While the proposal for the apprenticeship minimum qualifications being presented to the delegates and the Board of Governors is not perfect, it represents a solid compromise. The proposal is an acknowledgement that apprenticeship is different from other college programs, and that the minimum qualifications for apprenticeship instructors should appropriately reflect the knowledge and skills apprenticeship instructors need to teach apprenticeship classes. More importantly, the continued dialog between the Academic Senate, the CAC, and the broader apprenticeship community has resulted in a positive relationship that will allow both groups to address difficult issues of mutual concern that may arise in the future in a manner that is collaborative, constructive, and respectful.


[1] The report of the Task Force on Workforce and a Strong Economy is available at http://doingwhatmatters.cccco.edu/portals/6/docs/sw/BOG_TaskForce_Report_v12_web.pdf .

[4] The April 6 workgroup proposal is available in the Disciplines List summary report prepared for the Fall 2017 Plenary session found at https://www.asccc.org/sites/default/files/Apprenticeship%20MQ%20Disciplines_List_Revision_Proposals_Summary_Fall_2017jaa%20jf.pdf. The summary report also includes the original January 2017 CAC proposal and an alternative proposal prepared by the Chancellor’s Office.

[5] Go to https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/Resolutions%20Packet%20F17%20Saturday%2011-4-2017%20Final.pdf for the resolutions presented for debate and voting on Saturday, November 4, 2017.

[7] It turned out that the incorrect version of the CAC MQ proposal was distributed at the 4th Quarter meeting. The correct version was the version the Chancellor’s Office brought to the November Consultation Council meeting.

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