• PACT: PRE-APPRENTICESHIP CERTIFICATE TRAINING PACT was developed to address the building industry’s need for workers in the skilled trades. It applies the Developing a Curriculum (DACUM) occupational analysis process to ensure that the skills of the newly trained workforce match employer workforce needs. DACUM grew out of the vocational college system in the 1960s and early 1970s, and is based on three premises: (1) expert workers can better describe their job than anyone else, (2) any job can be effectively described in terms of the competencies that successful workers in that occupation perform, and (3) the specific knowledge, skills, attitudes and tools required by workers in order to correctly perform their job can also be described. DACUM incorporates the use of focus groups in a facilitated process to capture the major duties and related tasks included in an occupation as well as the necessary knowledge and skills. For more information on the DACUM process visit www.dacum.org.

    The PACT program integrates work-based learning with vocational and academic skills training. Related academics (contextual learning), industry-focused job readiness, employability skills, career development, life skills, and on-the-job training are all part of PACT.

    PACT’s classroom component is designed to reinforce construction math, the safe and proper use of hand and power tools, blueprint reading, vocabulary, and terminology as well as employability skills. In the classroom, training stations are a uniquely valuable and motivating tool for students to hone their skills as they gradually gain confidence in their abilities. The hands-on training component exposes youth to trade skills experience, tool use, jobsite safety, productive work habits, and applied mathematical concepts.

    At the end of each unit, the Skill Achievement Record (SAR) is used to track and document student progress in all areas of the PACT curriculum, classroom academics, hands-on competencies in the building trades, and life skills.

    A major component of student learning is experiential and takes place through student participation in community service projects. PACT students work on a range of projects with nonprofit and public service organizations. These may include building or renovating homes, constructing access ramps for the disabled, repairing homes for the elderly, or other community service projects. Students gain intensive hands-on, jobsite experience which allows them to apply the skills they learn in the classroom. Hands-on service learning is particularly appealing to youth because they can observe the immediate, tangible results of their efforts. Seeing results, students begin to believe in their abilities to set and achieve goals, and as a result, their self-confidence increases. Service learning also builds character as students learn to give back to their communities and understand that they can make a difference.

    The PACT curriculum teaches students about the theory and practice of building for a range of industry trades and exposes them to variety of industry careers. PACT graduates have the qualifications to secure entry-level or semi-skilled employment in their chosen trade—carpentry, electrical, plumbing, landscaping, masonry, painting, building construction technology, and weatherization—as well as other related residential and light commercial construction careers.